Amherst field hockey head coach Carol Knerr, now in her 18th season at the helm, enters the 2018 campaign looking to build on a strong core of returning talent. Last season saw notable wins over archrival Williams, Conn. College and Wesleyan, which propelled the team to a 5-5 NESCAC record, just barely missing out on postseason qualification in a wide-open field.
The team looks to build on last year’s 10-6 season record, despite losing a trio of offensive studs to graduation in Elizabeth Turnbull, Mary Grace Cronin and Katie Bergamesca, who combined to score over half of the team’s 33 goals last season. In the midfield, the loss of Caroline Feeley ’18 will hurt the Mammoths, as she served as the team’s assist leader last season. Hopefully, though, Shannon Tierney ’19 will be able to step into Feeley’s shoes, both anchoring the midfield defensively and providing a playmaking spark.
Megan Shea ’19 will also hope to claim a starting role in midfield, as she played the role of super-sub last season, only starting one game but playing in every contest. Her energy off the bench resulted in an impressive stat line, with two goals and three assists over the course of the season. Defensively, the Mammoths return a solid core, despite the graduation of star defender Caroline Fiore ’18. Grace Johnson ’21, who impressed in her first collegiate campaign, will partner with Kendall Codey ’19 to anchor the defensive line. In net, senior Katie Savage will compete for the starting spot with junior Emilie Flamme, with each goalkeeper exceling last season.
Both posted save percentages over 80 percent in 2017, and although Flamme had solidified her grasp on the starting spot by the end of the last campaign, Savage excelled in her few starts, posting a stingy 0.27 goals against average. In order to reach the NESCAC playoffs, the Mammoths will need to shake off the disappointment of the end of last season, which saw the team lose the last three games of the season. Amherst will hope to cast off these ghosts in the season-opener next Thursday, Sept. 6 at home against Mount Holyoke.