“After losing eight seniors, we were unsure how the season would begin for us,” said senior tri-captain Liz Martin. “But we came out strong in each game and have proven to ourselves and to other teams that we will be a threat this year and will continue to be on top.”
Amherst’s offense exploded in its first games of the young season, scoring 25 goals in total, 13 against Mary Washington and 12 versus Drew. The Jeff defense, anchored by goalie Olivia D’Ambrosio ’05, also played well, letting up only 14 goals total.
On March 18 Amherst faced its first top-10 team of the season, Mary Washington. The Jeffs proved that they deserved their number-two ranking from the get-go, as senior tri-captain Jackie Sargent buried a pass from junior Cate Smith less than two minutes in. Though Mary Washington answered back 37 seconds later, Amherst poured in two more goals in the next minute-and-a-half and led for the remainder of the game. Junior Ashley Harmeling scored Amherst’s second goal and Martin had the assist, while Smith netted goal number three with a feed from Harmeling.
Harmeling continued to spur the Jeff offense with the team’s fourth goal 10 seconds after the Eagles tallied their second of the game. Amherst’s third tri-captain, Allison Aldrich ’04 would also get into the scoring column in the first act with an assist on Harmeling’s second goal and one of her own with 16:55 to go. Sargent assisted on her classmate’s goal and also scored the final goal of the half from a Martin assist to put Amherst up 6-3.
The Jeffs kept their lead comfortably throughout the second half. Harmeling, Martin and Sargent scored a pair of goals apiece in the final period. Aldrich also netted another score and first-year Dana Kuper had an assist in her second collegiate appearance. Sargent and Harmeling had four goals apiece for Amherst in addition to three and two assists, respectively. Martin also led the offense with a pair of goals and matching assists. D’Ambrosio had eight saves on 16 shots as Amherst won by a final score of 13-8.
Sargent’s performance earned her the title of “Inside Lacrosse” magazine’s Div. III Women’s Lacrosse National Player of the Week.
In their first game of the season, the Jeffs defeated the 17th-ranked Drew Rangers, 12-6. The Jeffs scored three goals before the Rangers could answer back and though Drew outshot Amherst, 25 to 18, Amherst prevailed. D’Ambrosio had a stellar 16 saves in her first collegiate start.
“Our defense was very strong in the Drew game and Olivia made some great saves,” said Aldrich.
Harmeling and Martin led the scoring column for Amherst with four goals and one assist apiece. Smith had a goal and two assists and Aldrich scored a pair of goals as well. Amherst made the most of their 18 shots with .667 shooting. The performance of Scotty Hanley ’06 attests to this trend as the sophomore forward scored one goal on one shot.
Yesterday Amherst crushed Wheaton, 20-10, in a performance that can only be described as dominating. Amherst jumped out to a 3-0 lead early, but Wheaton managed to tie the score at 4-4. Then the floodgates opened. The Jeffs scored eight straight to take a 12-4 lead at the half and didn’t look back. Harmeling and Martin scored six goals apiece and Harmeling was responsible for four more. Aldrich had five points with three tallies for the Jeffs. On the opposite end, D’Ambrosio had 13 saves and defender Christine Ryan ’04 forced five turnovers while winning five ground balls.
Amherst is not ready to rest on its laurels yet, however. “Our attack is good at run and gun, but we will come across teams with tougher defenses,” said Hanley. “I think that working on our settled offense will be necessary.”
Amherst travels to Maine this weekend to face Colby College on Saturday and Bates College on Sunday.