But the Bantams retaliated, coming within three goals by halftime, a threat that portended what would happen by the end of regulation. A few misplaced passes and turnovers on ground balls granted Trinity possession, and the Bantams brought the score to 8-7 with 10 minutes left in the second half.
“Trinity has a run-and-gun style of play; it was just a matter of keeping the momentum in our favor,” said sophomore Liz Wise. At the five-minute mark, though, Trinity had tied the game, but Amherst kept its composure. “We had a close game at the beginning of the season with Hamilton, so we knew our ability to come from behind,” continued Wise, who scored two goals on the day. “We controlled the game well in the first half, so it was just a matter of capitalizing on our possessions offensively and making smart decisions all over the field.”
Head Coach Christine Paradis called a timeout to reinforce the women’s confidence. “It was important during timeouts for us to collect ourselves and pace the game the way we wanted to,” said Wise. It’s clear that whatever Paradis is telling these women, it is working.
After the timeout, from a settled play behind the net, attacker Alyssa Briody ’07 delivered a quick feed to senior attacker Ashley Harmeling, who punched in the tie-breaker. To burn off time, Amherst would just need to win the draw and hold onto the ball for the remaining 3:47. But with the pressure applied by the Bantam defense, the Jeffs lost the ball with a minute left in regulation and let a tying goal slip in, sending the game into overtime.
A suspenseful overtime, consisting of two three-minute halves, was broken once again on a Harmeling score off a Briody assist. Amherst maintained control of the ball for the rest of overtime, scoring twice more before time expired, bringing the final score to 12-9.
“Our team has great mental poise,” said attacker Scotty Hanley ’06. “Even when Trinity tied us I think we all knew that we would pull it out and win.”
Of her four goals, Harmeling’s two most important came before regulation ended and in overtime.With three goals apiece from midfielder Lauren Dudley ’07 and Briody, and two from Wise, the sophomore talent is increasingly significant to the Jeffs this season.
Senior co-captain goalkeeper Liv D’Ambrosio was thrilled about the sophomores’ performance. “They are doing an amazing job. It’s no easy task to fill such big shoes at such a young age, but they are stepping up to the challenge,” she said. “Teams better watch out when these girls become seniors!”
Saturday’s home game against Colby was not as nail-biting: another bombardment of shots afforded Amherst seven consecutive goals in the first half, giving the Jeffs an 8-3 lead over the Mules. First-year forward Maddie Hoeg stepped on and scored two goals before halftime, her first of the season.
Despite a five-minute period of loose ground balls and breakaways that granted the Mules three goals at the beginning of the second half, the Jeffs did a great job of holding the ball and scoring only when a break in the defense presented itself. Harmeling notched five goals, while sophomores Dana Kuper, Briody, Dudley and Wise each had one. Juniors Hanley and Caitie Parker each scored once on free-position shots.
Harmeling earned NESCAC Women’s Lacrosse Player of the Week honors for the second week in a row and has so far notched 25 points with 18 goals and seven assists. She notably forced several turnovers with persistent and well-placed stick checks in Saturday’s game. Junior defender Laura Brown also forced seven turnovers while D’Ambrosio made eight saves. A would-be ninth was an obvious stick-save, but the officials called it as a penalty for blocking with the chest outside the crease and resulted in a free position shot on an open net. Fans on both sides objected to the controversial call.
“We never give up,” said senior co-captain Jenna Swan-Gross of the defense. “If our opponents get the ball, we’re not satisfied until we have it back.”
Third-ranked Amherst remains undefeated with a 5-0 record (3-0 NESCAC). They Jeffs continue conference play tomorrow at home against Connecticut College at 4:30 p.m.