Third-Ranked Women's Lacrosse Upends the College of New Jersey in NCAA Semifinals, 12-10; Jeffs to Face Top-Ranked Middlebury for National Championship


May 17, 2003 

PITTSFORD, NY - The third-ranked Amherst College women's lacrosse team rebounded from an early 3-0 deficit to upend The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) 12-10 in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship Tournament, hosted by St. John Fisher College, on Saturday. 

With the win, Amherst (17-2) advances to the national title game for the third time in the last five years, where they'll face top-ranked Middlebury College, which routed Williams Smith College 20-4 in Saturday's second national semifinal. Second-ranked TCNJ, which lost to Middlebury in last year's championship game, finishes its season at 15-1. 

"I'm really proud of our team," said Amherst head coach Christine Paradis. "TCNJ is an outstanding team and for us to shut down their offense gives a lot of credit to our defense. Our defense, in turn, gave us momentum on offense." 

The Lord Jeffs, who held TCNJ to a season-low 10 goals, used two separate runs to earn the win. After TCNJ opened up an early three-goal cushion, Amherst answered by scoring five of the next six goals. Amherst also outscored the Lions 6-1 in a stretch that began late in the first half and continued until the 9:53 mark in the second half. 

Amherst senior attacker Abby Ouimet (Hatfield, MA) played a big part in the Jeffs' momentum surge. Ouimet, who stands just one point shy of 100 for the season, began Amherst's 6-1 run with an assist to Scotty Hanley (Sparks, MD) late in the first half. Ouimet returned in the second half to score the Jeffs' next four goals. 

"The beginning of the second half is what hurt us the most," said TCNJ head coach Sharon Pfluger. "The time (between the start of the second half to the 9:53 mark) is when we had our troubles." 

Ouimet led Amherst with four goals and one assist, upping her career point total to 267, which is believed to be a new school record. Liz Martin (Baltimore, MD) added three goals, while Laura Schifter (Washington, DC) tallied three assists. Erin Beaumont (Summit, NJ), Mary Kate Allen (Springfield, MA) and Jackie Sargent (Concord, MA) each notched one goal for Amherst, while Hanley scored twice for the Jeffs. 

TCNJ led the game until the 13:56 mark in the first half, and remained tied or within one goal of Amherst until Ouimet found the back of the net three consecutive times. 

The Lions scored three unanswered goals in the finals 9:24, but it was too little, too late for TCNJ, which has 10 NCAA Division III titles to its credit. 

Carin Heller led TCNJ with three goals. Katie Wagenblast tallied two goals, while Tara Prindible, Liz O'Connor, Bridget Bigley, Lauren Dougher and Jackie Scullin each recorded one goal. Prindible also tallied two assists, while O'Conner dished out one assist. 

Brooke Diamond (Longmeadow, MA) made eight of her 13 saves in the first half for Amherst. 

Amherst will play Middlebury, the two-time defending national champion and winner of 51 straight games, Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Middlebury is the only team to beat Amherst this season. The Panthers won 16-5 in the first contest, and again in the NESCAC Championship, 9-5. 

"It's not about who we're going to play, it's about us," Ouimet said. "We've been here before, it's time to get it done."