Women's soccer can't find the offense against two of the region's top squads

On Wednesday, the women came out firing, applying tremendous early pressure on visiting Wheaton (6-4), but could not find the net on any of their seven first-half attempts on goal. With the count deadlocked after the break, Lyon forward Lauren Konopka took a deep pass and beat the Jeff defense up the right side before slicing a shot past goalkeeper Piper Crowell ’07 for the go-ahead score.

Facing a one-goal deficit, Amherst turned up the heat offensively, attacking for the remainder of the game. With the ball in the Lyons’ zone, the Jeffs unleashed a number of shots at the net, including a pair by forwards Heather Nowak ’08 and Mary Marvel ’09 that sailed just over the crossbar. Wheaton netminder Stacey Kronenberg would not allow the Jeffs to get on the board, though, preserving the shutout and ensuring the victory for the Lyons. Kronenberg recorded just two saves in the contest, while Crowell notched four saves of her own.

On Saturday the Jeffs played host to the Bowdoin College Polar Bears (6-1-0, 3-1-0 NESCAC), the 18th-ranked team in the nation. Bowdoin got on the board after 23 minutes of back-and-forth play when midfielder Ann Zeigler collected a loose ball in the box and blasted a shot past Crowell. Crowell tipped the shot, but was unable to get enough of her hand on the ball to keep the shot out of the net. Bowdoin held strong for the remainder of the frame and held the one-goal margin at the half.

The Jeffs came out firing in the second half, dominating possession while putting heavy pressure on the Polar Bear defense. Though Amherst fired 13 shots in the period, the Jeffs couldn’t manage to sneak anything past goalie Ann Shappell, as Bowdoin escaped with a 1-0 win. Shappell, who earned her third shutout of the year, finished with five saves in the victory, compared to three saves for Crowell.

“We played great soccer for 90 minutes, but unfortunately could not finish,” said senior co-captain Sarah Coleman. “It was very clear to anyone who saw the past three games that we were the better team on the field, but walking away knowing we were the better team isn’t going to cut it when it comes down to the postseason.”

Once again, Amherst greatly outshot its opponent, this time by a count of 20-9. The Jeffs have had trouble capitalizing on scoring opportunities as of late, managing to score just one goal during their three-game skid. The Jeffs look to end their losing streak when they play host to NESCAC rival Middlebury College on Saturday.

“Middlebury is a strong team year after year, and in order for us to win, we will need to attack the goal more aggressively than we have thus far,” said Coleman. “Despite the three consecutive losses, we will go into the game with confidence because we know we are better than the teams we have faced.”

First-year midfielder Natalie Farraiolo echoed the team’s confidence, certain that the Lord Jeffs will build off of their losses. “Bowdoin was definitely a big turnaround for us because we dominated them for the entire 90 minutes which I can’t say was the case for the other two games,” she said. “We have a lot of talent and potential, and with the way we played against Bowdoin it looks like things will turn for the better.”