Around the Herd: Feb. 22 to Feb. 28 in Amherst Sports
In this edition of Around the Herd: women's hockey dominates while the men win an exciting match, track and field looks to qualify for national championships, and two divers also put on nationals-worthy performances.
After their loss against Williams College which ended their regular season with an impressive 21-3-0 record, the women’s hockey team made an incredible comeback in the NESCAC Quarterfinals with a shut-out game against Wesleyan University. Going into the tournament as the top seed, the Mammoths earned a 2-0 victory with goals scored by Rylee Glennon ’24 and Avery Flynn ’23.
The first period ended in a draw as both teams defended the other’s shots on goal. With less than six minutes remaining in the second period, a backhanded shot from Flynn, assisted by Carley Daly ’23, disturbed the even flow of the game, giving Mammoths the lead over the Cardinals. Though the opposing team responded with an increase in pressure, they were unable to penetrate the defense and ultimately their loss was secured with Glennon's goal in the final moments of the match. The game improved the Mammoth’s record to 22-3-0. It also marked Student-Athlete of the Month, Natalie Stott’s 10th shutout game of the season — the highest across Division III schools in the nation.
Now, the women’s hockey team looks on to host the semifinal and championship games at Orr Rink, seeking to earn a victory in the tournament next Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5.
Men’s hockey also had an excellent showing in the NESCAC Quarterfinals against Tufts this past weekend. Coming into the tournament from a dominating 5-0 shutout against Middlebury College, the Mammoths secured a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Jumbos.
Mammoths took an early lead in the game with a shot deflected off of a Tufts defender’s stick and into the goal, concluding the first period with 1-0 in favor of Amherst. Amherst carried their edge into the second quarter as they relentlessly pressured the Jumbos' defense with shots. However, a penalty shot in favor of Tufts tied the match, sending the two teams into the final half of the game with a score of 1-1. The third and fourth periods of the game yielded a point for each team and caused the match to go into overtime. Although the two teams seemed evenly matched, a late penalty during the final moments of the game presented Amherst with a man advantage. The opportunity allowed Zachary Murray ’26 to score his second goal, winning the game with only 32 seconds left in overtime.
Following their exhilarating match, the Mammoths look on to host the semifinals and championship games on Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5.
Men’s and Women’s Track and Field
The men’s and women’s track and field teams participated in the New England Division III Indoor Championships which took place on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24 and 25. The women’s team, sitting in fourth place out of 41 teams, finished their first day of events with four All-New England honors — awarded to the top eight contestants in each event. On the second day of action, the Mammoth’s 4x800 relay team won the championship as the team finished 5th overall with 59 points. They also managed to triple their All-New England marks for a total of 12 in the meet.
The men’s team, which placed fifth out of 34 teams, also earned four All-New England honors on the first day of events. As with the women’s team, the men’s 4x800 team managed to bring home the championship on the final day. They outperformed Tufts by half a point, claiming third in the championship with a total score of 64 points. Earning nine All-New England marks by the end of the second day, the Mammoths tallied a total of 13 over the course of the meet.
Now, both teams look on to Saturday, March 4, where they will be competing in the Tufts National Qualifying Meet for a final chance to qualify for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships.
Women’s Swim and Dive
After a stellar performance in the NCAA Northeast/North Regional Championships, Sydney Bluestein ’25 and Donna Zhang ’26 each qualified for the NCAA National Championships. On the first day of events, Bluestein, 2023’s diver of the year, received an 11-dive score of 430.55 on the three-meter board, finishing second out of 24 divers. She then matched her performance on the one-meter board, placing second with a score of 421.15. Zhang, who was the top finisher amongst the first-years at the regional, finished third with a score of 418.65 on the three-meter board and fourth on the one-meter board.
Both Bluestein and Zhang will be looking to compete in the NCAA Division III National Championships, which will take place from March 15 to 18 in Greensboro, North Carolina.