Women's soccer: Panthers fall to Jeffs, 3-2

Wheaton was able to control Amherst from start to finish on Thursday, scoring early and often. Tracy Prihoda began the scoring in the fourth minute, beating Amherst goaltender Brooke Diamond ’03 on a breakaway. Less than four minutes later, Prihoda, Wheaton’s star, added another goal to the box score.

The Jeffs attempted a come back in the 26th minute as striker Lee-Jay Henry ’05 beat Wheaton goalie Jessica Broomhead for her third goal of the season on a pass from classmate Ashley Harmeling ’05. With a slim 2-1 lead, Wheaton went on the offensive with Prihoda leading the way once again. Putting the game out of reach, Prihoda secured her second hat trick of the season and eighth of her career in the 31st minute. “Prihoda is a junior this year,” said Diamond. “She led the country in goals scored as a sophomore and is a player who’s a step above everyone in our league. We didn’t come out with our best game and when there’s a player of that talent, we’d need to play our best to contain her.”

Not yet finished, the Lyons tacked on another goal four minutes later, increasing their lead to 4-1 at the half. Facing a three goal deficit for the first time all season, the Jeffs found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Any hope of a comeback was thwarted, however, as Wheaton jumped out of the gate in the second half and scored the final goal of the game in the 51st minute.

After being outplayed on both sides of the ball against Wheaton, Amherst needed to muster an inspired effort against Middlebury to defeat the pesky Panthers. The Jeffs got on the board early, as Harmeling scored her third goal of the season less than eight minutes into the contest. Diamond and the Jeffs’ defense maintained a slim 1-0 lead as the first half ended.

Knowing the importance of this game in terms of NESCAC standings, the Jeffs came out of halftime ready to play and to win. But after Middlebury’s Leah Cumsky-Whitlock scored the first two goals of the second half, the Jeffs found their backs against the wall. Whitlock converted her first goal only 11 minutes into the second half, and notched her second on a penalty kick in the 72nd minute.

Facing a one goal deficit, the Jeffs’ Adrienne Showler ’05 scored her third goal of the season two minutes later, beating Middlebury goalie Els Van Woert after a great pass from freshman back Allyson Heady. After Showler’s goal, Amherst buckled down on defense, allowing Harmeling to come to the rescue. With just over five minutes remaining, she scored her second goal of the game and fourth of the season, giving Amherst a hard fought 3-2 victory. Diamond recorded seven saves in the victory, which pushed Amherst’s conference record to 3-2.

“After Wheaton, we rearranged a lot,” said Diamond. “We changed our defense around and moved Ashley to striker from midfield. The changes we’ve made have had positive effects. We have more confidence that we can score goals.”

“I was really proud that we fought back and scored two more goals. That fighting mentality is something we need to keep with us the rest of the season,” Diamond added.

The Jeffs will rest this week before playing host to visiting Colby College on Saturday.