Mammoths NESCAC Championship Run Ends in Semifinal PK-Shootout

Mammoths NESCAC Championship Run Ends in Semifinal PK-Shootout

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The Amherst women's soccer team sees their NESCAC Championship run come to an end as they tied Middlebury College 1-1 through regulation and double-overtime, losing in a sudden death penalty shootout at Farley-Lamb Field Saturday night.

Amherst is hopeful for a bid to the NCAA tournament when the brackets are released on Monday, while Middlebury advances to the NESCAC Finals tomorrow afternoon.

Natalie Landau '21 led the Mammoths with her persistent attack early in the first half by striking two shots on goal, both of which were blocked by the Middlebury backline. Maeve McNamara '19 also marked a great opportunity early on when she received the ball on the wing, made a quick step-over move to beat her defender, and crossed it to Juarez who struck it just wide of the net.

Senior Rubii Tamen '19 broke through late into the first half for her fifth consecutive scoring game. Tamen received the ball from roughly 25 yards out, shielded it, and then faked one way before turning and firing a laser to the top left corner of the net.

Tamen has scored all eight of the Mammoths goals through the last five matches. 

Claire Robinson almost responded just before halftime with a solid opportunity for the Panthers, she beat two defenders and fired a shot with the outside of the foot that missed just left of the post.  

Back and forth action ensued after the second half kickoff, both teams amassing a couple opportunities on net. Middlebury's Olivia Miller responded in the 61st minute to tie the game at 1-1. Like Tamen, Miller sprinted up from midfield only to be confronted by several Amherst defenders. Instead of pulling up, she took a shot from 33 yards out, which settled into top left corner. 

In the final minutes of the game, both teams saw a flurry of opportunities. For Middlebury, Ellie Greenberg found space on the right flank and beat her defender to the ball. Amherst's goalkeeper Antonia Tammaro '21 vacated the net to cover the ball, but Greenberg beat her. With an open net, Greenberg took the shot from outside the penalty area, but she pulled the game winner wide left.

In the first extra 10-minute session, Tamen had the best scoring bid with 3:33 off the clock. She laced a shot from the left side, forcing Alwang to leap into the air and punch the attempt over the crossbar.

Both teams opened the penalty shootout sailing their first efforts just over the frame. The Mammoths were able to notch a comfortable 2-0 lead through the first three attempts. However, the Panthers scored three shots unanswered to send the shootout into sudden death. Middlebury netted their last four tries, while Amherst missed three out of their last four shots.

Amherst was able to edge the Panthers in total shots, 15-13 while both teams accumulated three corner kicks respectively.

This loss marks only the second on the season for the Mammoths, with an overall record of 13-2-2. Middlebury advances to the finals with a current record of 14-1-2.

The Panthers will face off against the one-seeded hosts, Williams College, for the NESCAC crown tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 PM.

In October 2018, Amherst proudly recognized Ted W. Beneski '78, P'08 and Laurie M. Beneski P'08 for their extraordinary generosity and commitment to the College by naming the men's and women's soccer programs in their honor. The College's naming of the Beneski Soccer Programs celebrates the Beneskis' love for Amherst athletics and their longstanding investment in helping Amherst students excel as learners, as players and teammates, and as citizens.