The No. 6 team in Division III in latest IWLCA Coaches Poll, the Amherst College women's lacrosse team gears up for the new season after posting a 17-3 overall record to advance to the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship last spring. The 2019 version of the Mammoths boasts an experienced core of 21 returners alongside an energetic group of nine newcomers.
"With talent and experience in many areas of the field, in combination with a great incoming class, the squad is optimistic about being competitive," commented 2018 NESCAC and IWLCA Berkshire Region Coach of the Year Christine Paradis who enters her 25th year at the helm of the program. "The team has worked incredibly hard in the off-season under the leadership of our captains and seniors - and is excited to finally start our official season."
Registering a 9-1 ledger in conference play last spring, the Mammoths will once again have to battle day in and day out in a highly competitive NESCAC league that features six teams ranked inside the top-20 nationally. Capturing the No. 2 seed in 2018, Amherst battled past Colby, 17-11 in the NESCAC Quarterfinals before being edged by Bowdoin in the Semis, 11-9. Earning an at-large bid and First Round by to the NCAA postseason, the Mammoths downed Cortland (16-5) and Wesleyan (12-7) before falling to eventual NCAA Champion Gettysburg (19-2) in the Quarterfinals, 13-10.
"The key is not to let rankings and expectations get in the way of being fully present, taking each day is it comes, and focusing on those little things that matter," continued Paradis. "Last year's run fueled us to work even harder and we don't want to rest on our ranking or record. It doesn't mean anything - we need to go out and play every game like it is our last."
The Mammoths top point-getter in 2018 and an All-Region selection, Claire Dunbar '21 is set to anchor a potent Amherst attack after potting 31 goals and dishing out 37 points for 68 total points while also picking up 17 ground balls and forcing eight turnovers.
2018 NESCAC Rookie of the Year and All-America honoree Maia Noyes '21 will once again look to be a clutch playmaker after a stellar debut campaign for Amherst in which she tallied 26 goals and 26 helpers for 52 points while ranking third on the team in ground balls (34) and caused turnovers (21) and first in draw controls (75).
Isabelle Sennett '21, Katherine Malone '20, Hannah Fox '20, Lindsey Call '19, Hannah Gustafson '21 and Leah Ritterband '21 round out a skilled group of returners on the midfield patrol, with five out the six players having appeared in 18-or-more games last spring. Impressive two-way players, Sennett racked up a 32-11-43 stat line to go along with 11 caused turnovers, while Malone led the midfield contingent with 21 CT's last season and ranked second on the Mammoths in ground balls with 34. Call and Gustafson picked up 40 and 38 DC, respectively, while Fox added 29 points.
DEFENSE & GOALKEEPING
A First Team All-American and the reigning NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, Sabrina Solow '19 headlines a staunch defensive unit that allowed just 7.30 goals per game. With 54 ground balls and 30 caused turnovers, Solow led the Mammoths in both categories in 20 starts as a staple on the back line.
Kat Krieg '20, Kelly Siebert '20 and Kate Burns '19 are also back in the lineup after each starting 17-or-more games last spring, with Krieg causing 22 turnovers, Siebert forcing 18 and Burns racking up 13 CT's.
Sophomores Natalie Landau, Cammie Cho, and Bella Edo are also geared up to be disruptive forces in the defensive end.
Talia Land '20 and Katie Savage '19 return on the goal line for the Mammoths, with Land having racked up 122 saves in 20 starts last spring to own a 7.30 GAA and a 46.2 save percentage.
The Amherst College women's lacrosse team kicks off the 2019 season on Saturday, March 2 when they host No. 19 Colby at Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium beginning at 12 p.m.