Field hockey runs up winning streak

In yesterday’s match, the Jeffs put together another inspired effort, beating Springfield College, ranked number three in the country.

The Jeffs got on the board early, scoring just 1:17 into the first half. After receiving a pass from Abby Ouimet ’03, Tri-captain Marcy Busch ’02 flipped the ball past the Springfield goalie to Robin Ackerman ’02, who buried the shot in the back of the net.

For the remainder of the half, neither team was able to score, but the Jeffs struck again with just 13 seconds left in the half. After Springfield goalie Liz Sena stopped a blast from Ouimet, Christine Ryan ’04 knocked in the rebound.

The Amherst defense completely dominated in the game, holding Springfield to a lone shot on goal.

“It was great to play so well,” said Ouimet. “Springfield is the best team we have played so far, so it was great to beat them.”

The team notched its first win of the season this past Saturday, with a 4-1 offensive explosion over visiting NESCAC rival Bates. Tough defense and a tenacious Jeff attack enabled Amherst to blow open what early on appeared to be a struggle between two evenly matched teams. Although the Jeffs jumped out to an early lead in the first on an unassisted Ouimet tally with 22:43 left in the first half, the two squads would become locked in a defensive standoff until the break.

Amherst came out of the intermission with all cylinders pumping and quickly began to dictate the flow of the game, playing both swarming defense and aggressive offense. The Jeffs had possession of the ball nearly the entire period and seemingly never left the visitors’ end of the field. Threatening early and often, the Jeff front lines were only prevented from scoring easily by some key saves by Bates goalie Lindsay Gary. With 26:37 to go in the game, Gary made a diving kick save on a shot by Ouimet. However, Ouimet would not be denied twice, scoring only a minute and a quarter later on a picture-perfect one timer, pushing the ball high and right past Gary. Busch had the assist on the tally.

Strong midfield play from Tri-captain Mairin Brady ’02 and others kept the Jeffs in the offensive zone long enough to give the Jeffs multiple scoring opportunities in quick succession. With 18:37 to go, another diving save kept the score knotted at 2-0 and, less than a minute later, another Amherst offering sailed just wide right of an exposed Bates net. The third Amherst score came with 14:17 left on the clock. Seconds after entering the game, Allison Aldrich ’04 snapped her first goal of the season past the Bates net-minder, pushing the Jeff advantage to three goals. A penalty in the Bates box two minutes later gave Amherst their next scoring opportunity. Ryan calmly lifted the ball into the goal, giving the squad their fourth and final mark of the afternoon.

“Everything kind of gelled for us against Bates,” said Ouimet. “After the loss to Colby we needed to come out and play well, and we did.”

Perhaps it was a false sense of security after the penalty, or perhaps it was a momentary letting down of their guard, but just seconds after play resumed Bates entered the Amherst half of the field for the first time in 13 minutes. In one of their only effective offensive attempts of the afternoon, the Bates forwards were able to sneak in a goal with 12:13 on the clock, sliding it past the defense into an open net.

The Jeff defensive unit had their hands full in the waning minutes of the match, facing a number of Bates penalty corners. Amherst defender and Tri-captain Anne Close ’02 made two consecutive key stops to kill the penalty for Bates. The last legitimate opportunity for the visitors came with only nine minutes left to play, when the ball snuck behind the Jeff defense, creating what appeared to be a one-on-one breakaway. The Bates drive was foiled, however, when Jeff defender Molly Jacobs ’04 sprinted ahead to steal possession away from the Bobcats.

Tomorrow, the Jeffs will travel east to Worcester for a showdown with their counterparts from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Following that skirmish, the Jeff road trip will find its way to conference opponent Connecticut College for Saturday’s matchup.