Women's soccer defeats Smith, falls to Tufts amidst tough road stretch

Tufts outshot Amherst 22-9 and controlled the tempo for much of the match. Ranked 16th nationally, the Jumbos retained all but three starters from last year’s league championship team.

Tufts pressured the Amherst defense from the start, maintaining ball control and an 11-2 edge in first-half shots. In the 15th minute, Jessica Trombly gave the Jumbos an early lead they would not relinquish, arcing the ball over the head of the Lord Jeffs’ rookie goalie, Jeanette Crowell ’07.

Amherst regrouped in the second half. “We really started to come together and get more organized,” said tri-captain Sara Elkins ’04. The Lord Jeffs pressured the Jumbos’ goal, narrowing the shot total to a respectable 11-7. Despite the more disciplined Amherst attack, Tufts managed to add another goal 20 minutes into the second half.

The Lord Jeffs managed to halve the Jumbos’ 2-0 lead with just over a minute remaining after Jumbo goalie Meg McCourt left the box to contest a free ball. Amherst’s leading scorer in 2002, forward Ashley Harmeling ’05, drilled the loose ball into an empty net for her third goal of the season. However, the tally came too late, as time expired before the Lord Jeffs could threaten again.

Senior tri-captain Jenny Rossman found some solace in Amherst’s performance. “Although we lost, we gained a lot of confidence from Saturday’s battle against Tufts. They are a talented team, and we played them evenly for the majority of the game.” Rossman emphasized the need for consistency as the season progresses, especially in light of Amherst’s strong finish after a disorganized start on Saturday.

Amherst’s loss to Tufts came on the heels of a 2-1 win against Smith. In a match highlighted by a stingy defensive effort that limited Smith to seven shots, junior forward Shell Roberts ’05 scored her first career goal in the 63rd minute, breaking a lengthy deadlock and giving Amherst the victory. Harmeling was the other Amherst scorer.

The contests at Smith and Tufts were the second and third in the difficult five-game road stretch that began the women’s season. Amherst fell to Connecticut College 3-1 in their season opener and will complete the trip against Eastern Connecticut College on Wednesday and at NESCAC rival Bates College on Saturday.

Tri-captain Rossman noted the difficult scheduling, saying that “the term ‘home field advantage’ is obviously not a myth. These five away games are a tough test at the beginning of the season. However, they help us mature as a team, something that will only make us better as the season progresses.”