Around the Herd: Oct. 4 to Oct. 11 in Amherst Athletics

This week in Amherst Athletics: Football returned to .500; volleyball and both soccer teams earned wins; field hockey split a pair of contests; women’s golf took second place; and a pair of Mammoths won the final tournament of the fall for women’s tennis.

Around the Herd: Oct. 4 to Oct. 11 in Amherst Athletics
Quarterback Jack Cox ’25 throws the ball against Middlebury earlier this season. Cox came off the bench to throw two touchdowns against the Bobcats this weekend. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios.


The Mammoths came out with another big win this weekend, this time against the Bates Bobcats in Lewiston, Maine on Saturday, Oct. 7. The two teams battled to a 0-0 stalemate through the first quarter, before Amherst got on the board in the second. This lead didn’t come without multiple huge defensive stops from the Mammoths keeping Bates at bay: In the first quarter, Anthony Kelly ’26 came up with a sack to end Bates’s drive. Then, Luke Harmon ’26 recorded a pick, and a 34-yard return, and shortly after, Trey Doyle ’25 forced a fumble, which was recovered by teammate Kevin Agnew ’26. The fumble recovery provided the Amherst offense with ideal field position, and first-year kicker Matthew Kelley ’27 converted  the resulting 35-yard field goal attempt to make it 3-0. A huge interception, this time by Agnew, thwarted yet another drive by the Bates offense in the final minutes of the first half, giving the Mammoths a 3-0 lead heading into the half.

Once they got on the board, the Mammoths continued their scoring momentum into the second half. Quarterback Jack Cox ’25 connected with wide receiver Gabe dos Santos ’24 on two consecutive plays, including a 41-yard touchdown pass, the first scoring grab of dos Santos’ career. Kelley nailed the extra point, upping the Mammoths lead to double digits. On their next possession, the Mammoths marched down the field, going 61 yards and showing their poise by converting on four third downs. It was Cox that finished the drive off, making a 1-yard push on fourth-and-goal to sneak the ball into the end zone for the touchdown. Kelley once again delivered on the extra-point attempt for a 17-0 lead that the Mammoths would not give up.

The Bobcats found the end zone once in the final quarter to cut the lead to 17-7, but that was all they could muster, and the Mammoths walked away victorious. Harmon and Doyle led the team defensively with seven tackles apiece. Offensively, Louie Eckelkamp ’24 rushed for 58 yards, and receivers dos Santos, Owen Gaydos ’25, and Carter Jung ’26 recorded 66, 35, and 32 yards respectively. With their record, now sitting at 2-2, Amherst looks ahead to a home clash next weekend, when they take on the Colby Mules on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m.


The volleyball team split their NESCAC matches this week, hosting Trinity on Friday, Oct. 6, and Wesleyan on Saturday, Oct. 7, in back-to-back home contests.

Against the Bantams, they dropped the first two sets 22-25 and 24-26, before flipping a switch. They got out to a red-hot 9-3 start in the third set, before the Bantams rallied to tie it at 12-12. Undeterred, Chideraa Ngwadom ’27 came through with back-to-back kills to help the Mammoths regain the lead before the two teams traded points. This time, it was Anaya Thomas ’25 making the difference, coming up big to hand the Mammoths their first set by a 25-23 margin. In the fourth set, the two teams found themselves tied at 12-apiece yet again.

This battle continued up to the 23-point mark, before Charlotte Rasmussen ’26 and Thomas hit back-to-back kills for the fourth set victory. The Mammoths jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the fifth and final set, determined to make their comeback stick, and although the Bantams would come within one on multiple occasions, Amherst continued to win points when it mattered. Kinsey Cronin ’25 spiked home the deciding point off a set from Carly Cooper ’24, giving the Mammoths a hard-fought 3-2 victory. Rasmussen, last week’s NESCAC Volleyball Player of the Week, set a career high with 24 kills, Cooper recorded 46 assists, and junior libero Lizzie Papalia ’25 added 29 digs in the win.

The team returned to the court just a day later, taking on  current NESCAC top-seed Wesleyan at 2 p.m. The Cardinals showed their dominance from the jump, taking the first set 25-14. Amherst gave them a run for their money in the second set, with great plays by Cronin, Thomas, and Cooper. Ultimately, though, Wesleyan would get the blocks needed to take the second set 25-22. In the third set, the Mammoths started out strong, keeping the game tight, but Wesleyan would extend their lead and never look back, taking the third set 25-15 and the match 3-0.

The 6-7 Mammoths continue their homestand on Thursday, Oct. 12 at home when they take on Springfield College, before a NESCAC game against Tufts in Medford on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 2:30 p.m.

Field Hockey

The No. 13 women’s field hockey team split their weekend games, recording a win at Wesleyan before falling at the hands of the Bowdoin Polar Bears the next day.

In the opening minutes, it looked like Wesleyan would get on the board first, but Maya Harrington ’27 bailed the Mammoths out, clearing a ball off the goal line, and allowing her side to tally first. Kate Smith ’25 took the penalty corner for the Mammoths, finding Muffie Mazambani ’24 inside the circle. Her shot went slightly wide, but Sam Maynard ’25 backed her up, controlling the rebound and sneaking it past the goalie.

In the second quarter, Maynard struck again, this time on the solo effort: She first played incredible defense, stealing a pass from the Wesleyan goalkeeper and maneuvering her way past multiple defenders before tapping it past the Cardinal keeper to make it 2-0. Charlotte Dommiter ’25 saved the Mammoths’ lead, clearing a potentially lethal penalty corner. On the resulting counterattack, Smith inserted the ball and found Kat Mason ’25. Mason blasted a shot home to give the Mammoths a 3-0 lead.

Although the Cardinals were able to get on the board in the last two minutes, it wouldn’t be enough, and the Mammoths walked away with the 3-1 victory. Keeper Sara Nidus ’24 made five saves in the win, including a crucial save on an early penalty stroke to keep the game even.

The team continued their road trip at Bowdoin the next day. But unlike the Cardinals, the Polar Bears got on the board first, within 10 minutes, and then again in the second quarter, converting in the first minute of play. Amherst came out of their halftime huddle with energy and determination after going into the break scoreless. Sophomore Justine Liguori ’26 capitalized on a penalty corner to get the Mammoths on the board, before the Mammoths found the equalizer in the fourth quarter. Smith once again inserted a penalty corner and found Mason, whose initial shot was blocked. But, Smith was able to corral the ball and tap it past the Bowdoin keeper to tie the game.

With the score now at 2-2, both teams continued to battle, but ultimately, with under three minutes to go, the Polar Bears found the back of the cage to take a 3-2 lead, and to secure the win. With the loss, the team sits at 4-4 in NESCAC play. They take a break from conference action this week, with only  a midweek trip to local foe Springfield College on Thursday, Oct. 12 on tap.

Women’s Soccer

Coming off a tough 1-0 loss against NESCAC and Little Three rival Williams College, the No. 7 Amherst women’s soccer team bounced back with consecutive 1-0 NESCAC wins this weekend.

On a two-day road trip,  the Mammoths first made the drive to Middletown to take on Wesleyan on Saturday, Oct. 7. This game was a defensive battle, with both teams showcasing their skill in the back early on.

It was Abby Schwartz ’25E and Patience Kum ’25 challenging the Wesleyan goalkeeper initially, with Schwartz forcing her to make a crucial save and Kum’s point-blank header bouncing just wide. With the game tied going into halftime, both teams came out of the break with renewed energy. Each time though, the defenses proved stifling.

But it was the Mammoths who ended the scoring drought. In the 50th minute, Precious Novidzro ’27 beat her defenders before passing upfield to a wide-open Kum. Kum put her shot on target, forcing the Cardinal’s goalkeeper to make a miraculous save. But the Cardinals’ keeper gave up a rebound, and Schwartz corralled the loose ball before lifting it over the Wesleyan goalkeeper into the far side-netting to give the Mammoths a 1-0 lead. This proved to be enough as the stifling Amherst defense preserved the margin and sealed the win. The Mammoths dominated the close game on the stat sheet, outshot the Cardinals 17-10 and won nine corners to the Cardinals’ two on the day.

Just 24 hours later, the Mammoths found themselves back on the pitch, this time in Brunswick, Maine, against the Bowdoin Polar Bears. Unlike Saturday’s game, the Mammoths started the game hot, dominating possession and limited Bowdoin to only 2 shots in the first half. While the Mammoths did not convert, they looked the more dangerous of the two teams: a breakaway chance by Jessica Lomo ’27 hit the post, and a promising attempt by Liza Katz ’25E off a Kum cross was saved on the goal line. Entering the second half of the game, just eight minutes into play, Amherst found their rhythm. Relentless play from Schwartz rewarded the Mammoths with a corner. Novidzro took the corner, which was initially headed out by a Bowdoin player, but junior Carter Hollingsworth ’25 regained possession, and quickly fired a left-footed volley from outside the 18-yard box. The goalkeeper made an attempt on the ball, but it was not enough as Hollingwsworth’s shot sailed past her fingertips, giving Hollingsworth her first goal of the season and the Mammoths a 1-0 lead. Fueled by the goal, Amherst continued their attack on goal, including a near tally by Schwartz which hit the crossbar. Amherst outshot the Polar Bears 14 to three, with goalkeeper Katya Besch ’25 making one save in the contest and recording her first career solo-shutout. Ultimately, the game would end  in a 1-0 victory for the Mammoths. Stellar defense was the theme this weekend, with Hollingsworth, Ella Johnson ’26, Charlotte Huang ’25, and Fiona Bernet ’25, among others, keeping Wesleyan and Bowdoin off the board.

Up next, the Mammoths will take a quick break from NESCAC play. Standing at 9-1-1 overall, they will face Rhode Island College at home on Saturday, Oct, 14, before going to Vermont State University Castleton on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team started their week with a midweek clash at then-No. 21 Connecticut College. Both teams got off to relatively slow starts; it took 18 minutes for the Camels to record the first shot of the game. This continued into halftime, and although the Camels would rattle off a few more shots, none found the back of the net. Finally, in the 72nd minute of play, a foul inside the box awarded the Mammoths with a penalty kick. Captain Ada Okorogheye ’24E delivered, giving the Mammoths a 1-0 lead.

However, in the next five minutes of play, Conn would find the back of the net twice, giving them a 2-1 lead with just 13 minutes to play. Not ready to throw in the towel just yet, Okorogheye made an incredible solo effort to slip a shot past the Camel’s keeper and tie the score at 2-2. With so little time left, it looked like this was going to be the final; but in the 88th minute, Conn converted on a corner kick chance, slipping a third and final shot past goalkeeper Max Landa ’24, sending the Mammoths home with  a heartbreaking 3-2 loss.

Determined to rebound from this loss, the Mammoths headed to Wesleyan for their second NESCAC road contest of the week. Once again, Amherst showcased their offensive prowess by keeping the ball in their offensive third for the majority of the first half. Both Declan Sung ’24E and Okorogheye had strong chances in the first half, but the Wesleyan goalie came up with big saves on each occasion.

The second half was more high energy for both teams; they traded shots but neither was able to find the back of the net until the 74th minute. A foul right outside the box put the Cardinals in dangerous territory, and they capitalized to gain a 1-0 lead. With the game on the line, Ignacio Cubeddu ’25 and others had chances, but still were unable to tally until the final minute of play. Sung sent a throw-in into the box, which was met by Simon Kalinauskas ’25, who headed the ball across the face of goal in the direction of Laurens ten Cate ’25. ten Cate headed it past the keeper, evening the score at 1-1 in the final seconds. With a tie against Wesleyan and a decisive win last week against Williams, the Mammoths find themselves in good position to claim the 2023 Little Three Championship.

Registering a loss and a tie on the week, the Mammoths were on track for a win, and at Bowdoin College, they achieved just that. The undefeated, then-higher ranked (No. 8) Polar Bears posed a challenge, but it was nothing that the Mammoths couldn’t handle. The offense came out firing in the first half, registering nine shots compared to Bowdoin’s two, but neither team could find the net. Coming out of halftime tied at zero, the Mammoths found their winner. Again, it was Okorogheye who initiated the play, forcing a save from the Bowdoin goalie. Off balance and unable to retain possession, Niall Murphy ’25 took advantage of the rebound and fired the ball into the goal for the lead. Relentless defense by the Mammoths, combined with their dominance on the stat sheet — they took 18 shots compared to a meager five from Bowdoin — helped preserve this margin, and the victory.

With the 1-0 win at Bowdoin, the team boasts an impressive 5-1-2 NESCAC record and is now ranked at No. 18. Like the women, they take a break from conference play this coming weekend, but will face an equally tough opponent in No. 6 Montclair State University on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Women’s Golf

The women’s golf team traveled to Auburn, Maine this past weekend for the NESCAC Fall Qualifier, hosted by Bates. The defending NESCAC Champs did their job, coming in second in the 11-team field, falling to Williams by 12 strokes in their final tournament of the fall season.

Junior Jessica Huang ’25 continued her stellar run of play, coming in second overall with a two-day score of 146 after posting two identical rounds of 73 (2-over par). Abby Kim ’27 was the next-highest finisher, tying for sixth with rounds of 3 over 74 and 8 over 79. Classmates Angela Chen ’27 and Kaia Wu ’27 finished eighth and 12th with two-day scores of 154 (+12) and 158 (+16), respectively. Lindsey Huang ’26 and rounded out the Mammoths scoresheet with a 26th place showing, and a 163 (+17) total.

Women’s Tennis

The women’s tennis team traveled to nearby Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges for the New England Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament this past weekend, with the two-day tournament running on Oct. 7-8. This tournament was played using an unusual format, with every team submitting a number of pairs that competed against each other in a three-match set — two singles matches and a doubles match — with the first pair to win two out of the three matches advancing in the tournament bracket. Out of the four Amherst pairs, Delila Friedman ’25 and Lily Dounchis ’27 saw the most success, coming home with the win.

Every Mammoth pairing reached the quarterfinals of the bracket. Friedman and Dounchis took their quarterfinal match by a 2-1 score, with Dounchis winning her singles match in an 8-0 sweep and the pair taking the doubles victory to advance. Sophie Diop ’26 and Greta Stechschulte ’27 advanced to the semifinals as well: Stechschulte took the win in her singles match, and the pair sealed their win in the doubles tie.

However, the other two pairs were not so fortunate. The top-seeded Mammoths’ pair of Amy Cui ’25 and Katie Hart ’25 cruised into the quarters, but while Cui won her quarterfinal singles match 8-5, they lost the decisive doubles match to a MIT pair by a score of 8-1. The team’s four-seed pairing, Mia Kintiroglou ’25 and Maddie Swire ’26 also fell in the same round, dropping all three matches to a team from Wesleyan. In the semis, Diop and Stechschulte fell to the same MIT pair that took down their teammates — while Stechschulte again won her singles match, the pair lost the all-important doubles set by an 8-5 scoreline, ending their weekend.

Friedman and Dounchis took down their challengers and avenged their teammates’ prior loss to the Wesleyan pair, with Dounchis winning her singles match and the pair coming out victorious playing doubles. And, with the tournament title on the line, the first-year again rose to the occasion, keeping the pair in the match with an 8-6 singles win, before teaming up with Freidman to take down the Engineers’ pair 8-5 in the doubles match to win the tournament.

This tournament concluded the team’s fall season, and they will look ahead to team play, which will begin in the spring of 2024.