Field Hockey Off to Perfect 3-0 Start in First Week

The Amherst field hockey team started their season on a high note this week, winning their first three games of the 2021 season. While two of their three games were routs, their dramatic win 2-1 against a nationally-ranked Bowdoin team capped off a stellar start to the season.

Field Hockey Off to Perfect 3-0 Start in First Week
Beth Williamson '23E, anchor of the Mammoths' defense, watches as the offense maintains control during an 8-0 rout against Mount Holyoke.

The Amherst field hockey team opened up the season with two drastically different types of victories — a dominant 8-0 landslide against Mount Holyoke and a thrilling 2-1 conference win at Bowdoin.

On Sept. 9, the Mammoths took the field against Mount Holyoke for the first time in almost two years. To everyone watching, however, the team looked to be in mid-season form. “From the stands, it was apparent that the team was very well-prepared. We could hear them communicating throughout the entire game and supporting one another continuously on and off the field,” said Cayla Weiss ’23, who cheered on her classmates from the bleachers.

Amherst had complete control of the game from the opening whistle to the match’s end, scoring two goals in each quarter. The scoring opened in the sixth minute of action, when a perfectly placed pass from Natalie Hobbs ’23 found Abbey Kays ’25, who beat her defender and netted the first goal of her collegiate career.

As underscored by the opening goal, the Mammoths are extremely excited by how well the first-years mesh with the older players. “There’s a real special chemistry here,” said midfielder Julianne Ross ’23, “The cohesion between the first years who got here just a few weeks ago and super-seniors who deferred to play their last season really shined through.”

Of the team’s eight goals, four were scored via first-year-senior connection. In the 38th minute, Kate Smith ’25 tallied the assist on a Caroline Donahue ’22E goal, while Sam Maynard ’25 recorded fourth-quarter assists to Beth Williamson ’23E and Courtney Lowe ’22E.

The Mammoth defense was stellar, holding the Lyons to six shots — only three of which were on goal — compared to Amherst’s 30 (21 on goal).

That strong defense stayed with the squad as they headed to Bowdoin on Saturday, Sept. 11 to kick off NESCAC competition.

Amherst got on the board even earlier than they did in the Mount Holyoke rout, as Muffie Mazambani ’24 passed a penalty corner to Williamson, who found the back of the net at the 2:25 minute mark.

The Polar Bears responded near the end of the first quarter, capitalizing on a fast break and evening the match at 1-1. Starting goalie Kaitlin Broda ’23 recorded two second-quarter saves, keeping the score locked headed into halftime.

Despite being the anchor of the defense, Williamson continued to lead the Mammoths offensively. In the third quarter, Mazambani once again found Williamson on a penalty corner, who buried what would be the game-winning goal inside the left post.

Broda notched three more saves in the third quarter and the Mammoth defense kept the Polar Bears from firing off a shot in the final quarter, bringing Amherst’s overall record to 2-0.

“Saturday’s victory showed just how much of a force we are in the conference, proving our potential as a NESCAC competitor,” Ross told The Student.

Defender Bob Cooper ’23 echoed similar excitement about the team’s future. “This is starting to feel like our season. As Coach Elle [Brine] asked, ‘Why not us?’” Cooper said.

The Mammoths followed up the NESCAC victory with a 7-0 shut-out against Keene State College on Sept. 14. Once again, the Amherst defense was superb, allowing Keene State to shoot only four shots throughout the match.

Maynard and Mazambani led the way with two goals apiece, and Donahue, Kat Mason ’25 and Kate Smith ’25 added the remaining goals.

On Saturday, Sept. 19, the Mammoths travel to Upstate New York as they look to claim another road victory against NESCAC foe Hamilton College.