Around the Herd: Nov. 17 to Nov. 28 in Amherst Athletics

While most of the student body went home for Thanksgiving, 11 of the college’s athletic teams competed over the break. Highlights include men’s soccer advancing to the Final Four; an impressive cross-country nationals performance; and undefeated starts for several teams.

Around the Herd: Nov. 17 to Nov. 28 in Amherst Athletics
The Amherst men’s soccer team sealed their third Final Four appearance in four seasons with a 1-0 win over NESCAC rival Middlebury on Sunday, Nov. 19. Photo courtesy of Kris Dufour.

Men’s Soccer

The No. 13 men’s soccer team continues to dance in the NCAA tournament. With consecutive wins in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, they advanced to the Final Four where they will face Washington and Lee University in the semifinal match to be played on Friday, Dec. 1.

To get there, they first hosted Occidental College in the Round of 16 on Saturday, Nov. 18. The teams proved to be evenly matched; offensive opportunities were stifled time and time again by both defenses and goalkeepers. In the first half, the mammoths outshot the Tigers 8-3, while all three of the Tigers’ shots forced keeper Max Landa ’24 to make diving saves. At the half, despite the pressure, the teams entered the locker room scoreless. In the second half, the Mammoths’ offense really got going. Promising looks from Shawn Rapal ’24E, Wyatt McCarthy ’24 and Fynn Hayton-Ruffner ’25 got the second half going, but ultimately the Tigers were able to thwart them. Occidental gave the Mammoths the biggest scare of the match late in the second half on a scary take that forced Landa to make a crucial leaping save. That being said, it is not surprising that this game would have to be settled in overtime. The first half of overtime came and went, and penalty kicks looked imminent, but in the 105th minute, it was the Mammoths who prevailed. Ada Okorogheye ’24E lined up a free kick on the right side of the field in dangerous territory. An immaculate service to the far left post set up Simon Kalinauskas ’25 for the header. He connected, sending the ball back in the opposite direction into the goal at the far post. With a 1-0 lead in hand, Amherst saw the game out and came away victorious, continuing their NCAA tournament run.

They found themselves back in action the next day, hosting NESCAC foe Middlebury College in the Elite Eight. The game was their second contest against the Panthers this season, after a 1-1 tie in their second game of the year. Determined to come out with a victory this time, the Mammoths got to work. Early play from Mohammed Nuhu ’27 resulted in a great opportunity, but the Middlebury keeper was able to come up with an even better save. It wouldn’t matter though, as in the 23rd minute the Mammoths got on the board. Nuhu sent a beautiful corner into the box. Kalinauskas again got his head on the ball, but this time it would ricochet off the post and out of the box. However, Ben Clark-Eden ’25 was waiting at the far post, and blasted the rebound into the top of the goal for the score. This would be the only tally of the game, and the Mammoth defense stepped up to stifle all of the Panthers remaining attempts. Middlebury ended the day with only one shot on goal, which was saved by Landa; Mammoth’s notched six.

With the win, the Mammoths earned another match. Heading to the Division III NCAA Final Four, they will take on the Generals in Salem, Virginia. Be sure to tune in at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 as they continue their quest for a National Championship.

Women’s Soccer

The No. 4 Amherst Women’s Soccer team saw their season end in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive year, falling 3-1 to No. 5 Messiah University. They traveled to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania for the clash on Saturday, Nov. 18. For just the third time this season, the Mammoths went down early, with Messiah getting on the board in the 21st minute. Continuing the pressure, the Mammoths equalized just nine minutes later. With relentless midfield play, Amherst was rewarded after outside back Ella Johnson ’26 notched her first collegiate goal. After beating her defender, Johnson curved a beautiful shot towards the far post, catching the Messiah defense and goalkeeper sleeping, with the ball finding the back-post side netting. With newfound energy, the Mammoths continued to put the Falcons under pressure. Towards the end of the half though, the Falcons regained the lead. Though the Mammoths continued to threaten, with an attempt from Kate Quigley ’26 determined to not have fully crossed the goal line, they went into the break down 2-1. However, in the beginning of the second half, Messiah was awarded a penalty kick, which they capitalized on to double the lead. Now facing a 3-1 deficit, Amherst continued their fierce play, contesting every ball in the midfield and continuing to shoot. Looks from Ally Deegan ’24, Fiona Bernet ’25, and Alyssa Huynh ’25 were all promising, but the Falcons keeper made the required stops. At the end of regulation, the final score would stand at 3-1. Mika Fisher ’25E registered four crucial saves in the match to keep the Mammoths in the game.

With the loss, the Mammoths’ season came to an end, bowing out in the NCAA Third Round. They finished with a final record of 18-2-1, in addition to claiming NESCAC Regular Season and NESCAC Postseason Championship accolades. With multiple players garnering postseason awards, and the coaching staff being recognized by the NESCAC as Staff of the Year, the future is bright for this Mammoth team.

Cross Country

The women’s cross country team paced themselves to a 18th place finish at the Division III NCAA Championships at Dickinson College on Nov. 18 with a total score of 475 points. The top finish for the Mammoths belonged to Sophia Price ’25, who placed 102nd with a time of 22:31.6. Bella Lozier ’26 and Allison Lounsbury ’26 finished in the top 130 runners, coming in at 123rd and 126th respectively. First-year Daphne Witherell ’27 placed 174th with a time of 22:57.9, capping off an incredible first season. The Mammoths finished the season ranked in the top 20 nationally for the second consecutive year, and look ahead to promising indoor and spring seasons.

The men’s team also concluded their season by registering a 18th place team finish at the Division III NCAA Championships with 487 points. The top finish for the Mammoths belonged to Nick Edwards-Levin ’25, who crossed the line with a time of 25:37.2 and placed 86th. George Cahill ’26 was only nine seconds behind him, clocking in at 25:46.6 and recording a 107th place finish. Theo Dassin ’24 also scored for the Mammoths with his 118th finish. First-year Harrison Dow ’27 completed a phenomenal debut campaign by crossing the finish line in 25:52.1. He was the top finishing first-year from the NESCAC, and the second rookie to finish overall. Rounding out the top-200 place finishes was Aidan Gemme ’26, who came in 194th. The team’s 18th place finish was their highest at a National Championships since 2018.

Women’s Swim

First up for the No. 18 Amherst women’s swim and dive team was a home meet versus the Colby Mules on Nov. 18. They came out strong, taking first and second in the 200-yard medley relay with the team of Cora Spelke ’25, Allison Lacroix ’25, Paige Arnold ’27, and Megan Lee ’25 taking the top spot, and Emma Lee ’24, Joline Fong ’26, Sabrina Comess ’24, and Lauren Eng ’24 coming in second. Then, in the first individual event — the 1000-yard freestyle — Maeve Kelley ’27 and Emily Kim ’27 finished first and second respectively. Arnold and Jennifer Adams ’25 would finish in first and second place in the 200-yard freestyle, and Lacroix clinched first place in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke. The victory in the 50-yard free belonged to Lucy Smith ’27, and defending NESCAC and National Champion Sydney Bluestein ’25 picked up where she left off claiming the victory in the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events. Kelley and Adams went one-two in the 500-yard free, and Comess’ 1:00.35 finish in the 100-yard butterfly meant a first place mark as well. Arnold and Dianne Koo ’26 registered the top finishes in the 200-yard IM to round out the meet. With this strong performance, Mammoths secured a 178.5-114.5 win, and looked ahead to their clash with Wesleyan.

The Mammoth’s followed up their strong showing two days later when they traveled to Wesleyan, beating them 164-78. They won the first event — the 200-yard medley relay — in 1:49.18. In the 400-yard IM, Amherst swept the podium with finishes from Kelley, Koo, and Kim. Jennifer Adams ’25 and Eng took first and second in the 200-yard free, as did Lacroix and Grace Walker ’24 in the 50-yard breaststroke. Arnold won the 100-yard fly, and in the 3-meter and 1-meter diving, Bluestein again secured the victory with Donna Zhang ’26 taking second. Arnold and Smith finished as the top two in the 100-yard free, and the team swept the top-three in the 100-yard back and 100-yard breaststroke. To round out team competition, the Amherst relay teams placed first and second in the 200-yard free relay.

It was a banner weekend for the women, who cruised to 2-0. In the win at Wesleyan, Arnold, Lacroix, Kelley, and Bluestein contributed 18 points each. The Mammoths return to action at home in January, when they host Union College on Jan. 6.

Men’s Swim

The No. 24 men’s swim team kicked off their winter season with a 166-122 statement victory over NESCAC foe No. 20 Colby College. They came out hot in their first event, winning the Men’s 200-yard medley relay with a team of Jaden Olson ’25, Jeffrey Gerber ’24, Fynlan Nadel ’26, and Andrew Bernstein ’25. In the 1000-yard freestyle, they were able to grab first, second and fourth overall, with Will Taylor ’24, Gabriele Lunardi ’25 and Jack D'Alessandro ’26 recording these respective finishes. For a combined 13-point contribution to the team score, Tyler Knightly ’24 finished first in the 200-yard free with a time of 1:44.60, and Andrew Yuen ’25 took second in 1:45.39. Olson also grabbed first in the 100-yard backstroke, and Tor Metelmann ’25 followed up by winning the 100-yard breaststroke in the very next event for the Mammoths. Bernstein and Yuen went one-two in the 100-yard freestyle, finishing only 0.01 seconds apart. And then, in the 200-yard breaststroke, Henry Liu ’27 destroyed the competition in his collegiate debut, finishing a full six seconds before the second place finisher from Colby. Taylor and Knightly also went one-two in the 500-yard freestyle, Olson and Henry Lecates ’26 did the same in the 100-yard butterfly, and the combination of Metelmann and Justin Papagelis ’24 rounded out the trio in the 200-yard IM. With these races, the men walked away with the home victory.

They returned two days later on Monday, Nov. 20 for a Little Three NESCAC meet at Wesleyan. Amherst dominated, beating the Cardinals 178-48 with Olson contributing 18 points. The team grabbed first and second place in the 200-yard medley relay to kick off the meet. In the 400-yard IM, Michael Jang ’26 and Ryan Roberts ’26 finished first and second for the first individual points of the meet. Taylor, Knightly, and Yuen swept the 200-yard free, and Olson grabbed first in the 50-yard backstroke in the following event. The combination of Nadel, Metelmann, and Gerber swept the 50-yard breaststroke, and the 100-yard fly belonged to Papagelis, Andy Ni ’24, and Chase Adams ’27. Ethan Van De Water ’26 and Yuen had the top finishes in the 50-yard free, and the team also swept the 100-yard free. The top three finishes belonged to the Mammoths in the 100-yard breast and 500-yard free, as well as taking the top two spots in the 200-yard free relay to round out the meet. With the victory, the Mammoths sit at 2-0, and look forward to a month of training before they resume competition on Jan. 6 versus Union College.

Men’s Squash

The No. 18 Amherst Men’s Squash team kicked off their season on the road at No. 30 Connecticut College on Saturday, Nov. 18. They dominated from the start, going 8-1 on the way to crushing their NESCAC foe. Adam Lichtmacher ’24, Joseph Toth ’27, Abhi Gupta ’25, Neal Malani ’24, Matthew Granovsky ’25, Yeshwin Sankuratri ’24, Jesse Brew ’26, and Robert Avram ’26 all defeated their opponents in three straight sets, with Avram only dropping five points total. Walking away with a statement victory, the Mammoths looked ahead to their home opener the following day versus No. 9 Cornell University.

The Big Red proved to be a much tougher opponent for the Mammoths. They went 9-0 against Amherst, showing why they are ranked in the top10 nationally. First-year Gabe Yu ’27 — playing in the nine spot — showed his promise in his second collegiate match, forcing a fifth set before falling 3-2. The Mammoths will return to the court at home, hosting NESCAC opponent and national No. 26 Hamilton on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Davenport Squash Courts.

Women’s Squash

Similar to the Men’s Team, the No. 13 women also began their season with a 9-0 sweep against No. 27 Connecticut College. Alex Brown ’26 led off for the Mammoths, winning in three sets before Tanmai Pathak ’25 lost just six points, the fewest points of the day, in a sweep of her own. Quincy Cline ’27, Yana Sharma ’27, Callie DeLalio ’24, Morgan Chaudhary ’26, Maggie Pearson ’24, Blair Englert ’24, and Suraiya Khan Suri ’27 also won their matches, completing the 9-0 team win. Cline, Sharma, and Suri each secured their first collegiate victories in a sweep in a sign of promising careers to come.

With little rest, the Mammoths returned to Amherst the next day for a match against No. 9 Cornell. Like on the men’s side, the Cornell women’s team showed their skill from the jump, working to secure a dominant 8-1 victory over Amherst. Cline, playing at the third spot, registered the lone win of the day, taking her match in three sets. Amherst will look to rebound on their next day of matches: they will host a home double-header on Saturday Dec. 2, first taking on Mount Holyoke College at 10 a.m. before facing No. 26 Hamilton College at 2 p.m.

Men’s Ice Hockey

The Amherst Men’s Ice Hockey team began their season last week, traveling up to Clinton, New York to take on Hamilton on Nov. 17. Despite tallying 33 shots on goal and killing off five penalties, the Mammoths were unable to find the net. On the other end of the ice, the Continentals offensive attack proved too powerful, finding the net three times for a win, 3-0. However, the Amherst team bounced back on Nov. 21 against Saint Michael’s College, defeating the Purple Knights 6-1. Zachary Murray ’26 started off the offensive onslaught just 1:53 into the first period, masterfully deking the opposing goalie in a one-vs-one situation. Murray would go on to score again on a deflection at the end of the first period. Ryan Tucker ’24 also netted two goals, and Connor Leslie ’25 saved nine of the Purple Knights’ ten shots. Additional scores from Quinton Fox ’24 and Ben Kuzma ’25 iced the win.

On Nov. 25, the Mammoths took on No. 6 SUNY Geneseo at Orr Rink. The Knights struck first early in the second period on the power play. The Mammoths responded quickly, however, when Matt Toporowski ’25 netted his first goal of the season. Midway through the second, Tucker fired a one-timer to give the Mammoths a 2-1 lead, his third goal of the week. Geneseo would respond with a one-timer of their own before the end of the second period to tie the game at two-apiece. The Knights reclaimed the lead with a close range wrister early in the third period and put the game away on a breakaway later in the period. Although the Mammoths had the advantage in shots on goal, they fell 4-2 to SUNY Geneseo.

Despite the short rest, the Mammoths took down Babson College 4-2 on Nov. 26 in their final game of the week. Powered by a strong offensive performance from Josh Burke ’26, who scored twice, and goals from Toporowski and Ben Ritter ’26, the Mammoths were able to hold on to the victory despite a late Beavers rally. The Mammoths look to continue this positive momentum as they travel to face NESCAC Little Three rival Wesleyan on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.

Women’s Ice Hockey

The No. 2 Amherst women’s ice hockey team started off their season on a high note, defeating No. 5 Hamilton in an overtime thriller. Mary Thompson ’24 broke the ice on a power play early in the second period with a one-timer into the top left corner of the net. The Continentals equalized early in the third period, capitalizing on a five-on-three power play. With the game tied after regulation, the three-on-three overtime would decide the game. Just under two minutes into the extra period, Amherst took advantage of a 2-1 opportunity: Maeve Reynolds ’26 hit Alyssa Xu ’25 in stride before Xu put the puck away to net the game-winner.

The next day, the Mammoths again faced the Continentals in the second game of the NESCAC series. Bolstered by a great game from goaltender and reigning Division III Women’s Hockey Player of the Year Natalie Stott ’26, who notched 23 saves on the day, as well as goals from Rylee Glennon ’24 and Reynolds, the Mammoths rallied from 1-0 down to win 2-1.

On Nov. 25, the Mammoths competed in the Codfish Bowl at UMass Boston, where they faced the host squad in the semifinal game. In yet another defensive showdown, Amherst outlasted the Beacons 1-0. Glennon scored the game’s lone goal early in the second period, breezing past the Beacon’s defense and finishing the breakaway opportunity.

In the Codfish Bowl final on Nov. 26, the Mammoths’ offense shined as they dominated NESCAC foe Bowdoin 4-0. Marie-Eve Marleau ’26 opened up the scoring on a one-timer early in the first period off a cross-ice pass from Thompson. Thompson scored a goal of her own on a power-play late in the first period. Xu widened the margin to three with a demoralizing wraparound shot, before Marleau scored her second of the game with 11 minutes remaining, capitalizing on a rebound off another Thompson shot. Stott recorded her second shutout of the season in just four games. The Mammoths will look to stay undefeated this weekend, when they will face Middlebury College twice at Orr Rink: first on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and again the following day.

Men’s Basketball

On Nov. 17, the Amherst men’s basketball team defeated Vermont State University Castleton 59-54 in the opening game of the Ken Wright Invitational powered by a late game surge. Despite trailing 34-27 at the half, the Mammoths rallied on the back of first-year Johnny McCain ’27, who led the team in scoring with 13 points. Chris Hammond ’26 finished with 12 points, hitting two threes, and Bobby Sommers ’25 and Will Scherer ’25 both added eight points in the win.

The next day, the Mammoths overpowered the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 66-42 to win the Ken Wright Invitational. The game was headlined by a dominant performance from Scherer, who tied the Amherst single-game record with 22 rebounds. The Mammoths also shined on offense, recording their best shooting game of the season after shooting 39.1% from the floor and 50% from the three-point line. A well rounded performance saw four Mammoths reach double digits in the twenty-point win.

On. Nov. 21, the Amherst Men’s Basketball team extended their win streak to three, defeating Colby-Sawyer College 93-46. Hammond scored 33 points off seven made three-pointers, both career-highs. His performance was supported by Ryker Vance ’25 who notched 16 points, and Schehrer, who scored 10 of his own. Both big men would finish the game with a double-double.

However, this is as far as the win streak would stretch, with the Mammoths dropping their most recent game 74-65 against Rhode Island College. In a back and forth contest in which neither team could sustain a lead, the teams traded buckets throughout. However, the Mammoths ran out of time: despite getting within one multiple times in the second half, the Anchormen built a six-point lead with 1:25 to go and made their free throws down the stretch put the game away. The Mammoths will look to bounce back against Springfield College on the road on Thursday Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.

Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball team is off to a red hot start. They continued their undefeated streak this week, starting on Nov.17 against Oswego State in the SUNY Morrisville Tip-Off. Reeya Patel ’24 and Kori Barach ’25 led the way, scoring 17 and 16 points, respectively. Annie McCarthy ’26 grabbed 12 rebounds in the win, and McCarthy and Sylvia Liddle ’26 both registered three assists in a dominant 61-33 victory in which the Mammoths never trailed.

The following day, the Mammoths were back in action against Misericordia University in the tournament’s Championship game. Again, the Mammoths dominated. Laura Mendell ’26 had a team-high 12 points, while McCarthy notched 11 and Patel and Alix Stuart ’25 were close behind 10 each. Mendell also had a team-high eight rebounds, while Patel put on a show with eight assists. The Mammoths shot 46.2 percent from the floor with only seven turnovers, which undoubtedly contributed to their 75-44 win.

On Nov. 21, the Mammoths took down Albertus Magnus College 64-57, fueled by two 19-point double-doubles from Barach and McCarthy. Despite a late push from the Falcons, Patel, who finished with 13 points, hit three free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach. The Mammoths shot 34.4% from the floor but shot 37% from beyond the arc, their best three-point shooting game of the season, contributing to their win.

In their final contest of the week, the Mammoths defeated New Jersey City University 70-55 to improve to 5-0 on the year and continue their win streak. The Mammoths finished with four players in double-digits: Barach, Patel, McCarthy, and Mendell. McCarthy continued to be a force on the boards and at the three-point line, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Barach led the team in scoring with 19, and Patel added 16 points of her own. Despite finishing the game with 16 turnovers, Amherst notched 11 steals in the game and won the rebound battle 46-35. They will look to stay undefeated as they travel to Little Three rival Wesleyan to take on the Cardinals on Dec. 2 at 3 p.m.