#3 Football loses “The Big Game”
When a 7-1 football team is only the third greatest Amherst sports story of 2001, it could only mean that 2001 was a remarkable sports year indeed.
Regardless, Amherst-Williams always has a special kind of intensity that only historical rivalries can have. This year’s edition of “The Big Game,” on Nov. 10, was no exception.
This year, however, the game had added significance. Besides bragging rights, what was up for grabs was a perfect season and the NESCAC and Little III Championship. But it was not to be for Amherst. In a spectacular, hard-fought game, the Jeffs were defeated 23-20 in overtime.
After falling behind by a touchdown, the Jeffs scored 17 unanswered points, thanks to impressive play from quad-captain wide receiver Derrell Wright ’02. The Jeffs took a 17-7 into the locker room at the half.
An ineffective offense, including one Jeff fumble and three interceptions, allowed the Purple Cows to get back in the game in the second half. The pick that hurt Amherst the most was Williams sophomore linebacker Graham Goldwasser’s interception of quarterback Marsh Moseley ’05 early in the fourth quarter at the Amherst 22. A few plays later, Williams tailback Mike Hackett ran a toss right for a four-yard game-tying touchdown. As the time ran out, the teams knew it was all on the line in overtime.
Williams won the toss and elected to kick. Despite landing a 1st and goal at the Williams 10 yard line, the Williams defense stood firm, as the Jeffs came away with only a field goal. The Ephs would not have such trouble. On 2nd and 10, Williams quarterback Joe Reardon connected on a 21-yard deep corner route to receiver Ryan Friend. Two plays later, fullback Tyler Shea rumbled into the endzone to give the boys from Williamstown a dramatic come-from-behind victory.
Head Coach E.J. Mills explained how costly the second half turnovers were. “We just couldn’t make a play in the second half,” said Mills. “We needed some positive things to happen to us in the second half, and it just didn’t happen. In close games, turnovers and mistakes usually make the difference, and they did on Saturday.”
Despite the loss, 2001 produced one of the greatest football seasons in Amherst history. The graduating seniors were an integral part of that great season.
“I am very proud of our kids,” said Mills. “This is an exceptional group and, although it was a disappointing end for our seniors, they have nothing to be ashamed of. Their career record at Amherst is 24-8.”
#2 Women’s lacrosse comes close
It’s amazing how one play, one decision, can mean the difference between triumph and defeat. Such was the case with the women’s lacrosse team that came within one goal of defeating Middlebury College and winning the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship on May 20.
The Jeffs entered the game in Baltimore, Md., with only two losses on the season, both to their opponents, but fell to the Panthers early after goals from Middlebury’s Char Glessner and Julia Bergofsky. Undaunted, the Jeffs rallied going into a possession-oriented offensive set.
Off a feed from Mary Kate Allen ’03, Sarah Scheessele ’01 got the Jeffs on the board at 21:11. The score was knotted at 2-2 when Erin Beaumont ’03 scored just inside the 15-minute mark. Soon after, the Jeffs took the lead on a score from co-captain Kristin Osborn ’01. The Jeffs would not relinquish that lead for the rest of the half and took an seemingly insurmountable 8-3 lead into the locker room.
The second half started out positively for Amherst when Osborn scored her fourth goal of the afternoon, 3:09 into the period, to give the Jeffs a six goal lead. But that goal awoke the sleeping giant that was Middlebury’s transition game and the Panthers scored four consecutive goals to cut the Jeff lead to 9-7. Despite a goal from Abby Ouimet ’03, the momentum was clearly on the side of Middlebury.
The Panthers tied the game at 10 apiece when Bergofsky netted her fourth goal of the afternoon at the 4:46 mark, tying Osborn as the top goal-scorer on the day. The game would go into overtime with the National Championship on the line.
In overtime, Middlebury senior Betsy Wheeler scored in transition 24 seconds into the first half of the overtime period. The goal proved to be the only goal the Panthers would need to win the national title.
But the Panther goal would not stop the Jeffs; they had a number of opportunities to tie the score with two solid scoring chances in the first half of the overtime period. In the second half, Scheessele threatened to tie the score on a free-position shot with 1:31 left in the game. The shot went wide and time ran out for Amherst.
The Jeffs’ 17 win season was the winningest season on record for the women’s lacrosse program. Goaltender Brooke Diamond ’03, Osborn and Ouimet were all named to the All-Tournament team for their impressive tournament play.