Amherst Falls 2-1 to Herons in NCAA Sweet Sixteen

Amherst Falls 2-1 to Herons in NCAA Sweet Sixteen

GENEVA, N.Y. – The No. 14 Amherst women's soccer team concluded their 2018 campaign Saturday afternoon as they fell to William Smith College in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Championship by a score of 2-1 on Boswell Field at David J. Urick Stadium.

The Mammoths finish their season with an overall record of 15-3-2.

The Herons maintained a significant share of the possesion early on in the match, generating three corner kicks and two shots on goal in the first seven minutes.

Senior Maeve McNamara launched a shot in the 14th minute that went just over the crossbar to note a promising opportunity for the Purple & White early on. However, first-year Sophia Fikke '22 notched the best opportunity for the Mammoths in the first half as she struck a shot from 23 yards out, coming within inches of the crossbar but ultimately falling behind the frame.

The first score of the match came in the 20th minute when Williams Smith's leading scorer, Megan Barwick, marked her 10th goal by pocketing a shot into the side netting off of a cross from Julia Keogh, her sixth assist on the year.

The Herons went on to edge the Mammoths in shots by one during the first stanza, leading 1-0 heading into the break.

The Mammoths came out strong in the second half, relentlessly putting themselves in positions to even the score line. The breakthrough came in the 50th minute when Rubii Tamen '19 continued her streak of recording at least one point, for the eighth consecutive match. Caleigh Plaut '19 possessed the ball along the sideline when she looked up and placed a perfect leading pass to Tamen who was cutting down the middle of the field. Tamen controlled the ball without a Heron in sight, striking her shot underneath the keeper to bring the score line back to even.

Tamen accumulated two other prominent chances to give Amherst the lead, however, the first opportunity missed just left of the post after splitting two defenders while the second chance was saved by a diving Heron goalkeeper.

Antonia Tammaro '22 proved to be an integral part in the match as she came up with a few key saves down the stretch. Towards the later portion of the second half, Amherst fouled a William Smith player just outside the box. Merilyn Hinrichs stepped up for the Green & White, shooting a well-placed ball in the top quarter of the frame that was corralled by Tammaro. Maialen Martinez marked another focal point in the competition as her shot came in from well outside the box, aimed at the far corner of the net. Tammaro's outstretched hands were just enough to poke the ball off the frame and back into play, preserving the even score line at the time.

A game that was leaning towards extra time was quickly changed when Julia Keogh used her pace to weave through the Mammoth defense and score the decisive goal with two minutes remaining, ending the Mammoths run in the NCAA Championship. 

Both teams finished with 14 shots, while the Herons finished with two more corner kicks on the afternoon. Tammaro and William Smith goalkeeper Veronica Romines capped off the game with seven saves respectively. Tammaro ends her sophomore season with a record of 11-2-2 with a 0.46 goals against average. 

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 program in their honor. The College's naming of the Beneski Soccer Program 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.