New Interim Head Coach Jen Hughes began her Amherst coaching career with a thriller from start to finish. Amherst got off to a strong beginning, as Showler attacked the Bantams’ defense immediately, scoring an unassisted goal only 1:53 in. Trinity showed heart by answering in the 32nd minute, as Nicole Mauger’s perfectly placed ball found the upper lefthand corner of the net. The momentum suddenly shifted in Hartford as Trinity began to increase its attack on sophomore goalkeeper Piper Crowell and the rest of Amherst’s defense.
The Bantams started the second half where they left off: attacking. Their efforts finally paid off in the 48th minute, when Megan Kravitz rocketed a shot into the back of the net to give them a 2-1 edge on the Jeffs. The Bantams then scored another goal about midway through the second half that was nullified by the referees, keeping Amherst in the game.
The Jeffs, however, did not relent. “Even though we were down, everyone played hard and we didn’t give up,” said Showler.
Faced with a one-goal deficit with only 20 minutes left in the game, Crowell and the Amherst defense began to stifle the Trinity forwards. This extra effort on defense catalyzed the Amherst offense, which slowly began to show signs of life as the seconds ticked towards the end of regulation. With 10 minutes left, Amherst finally saw an opening and seized the moment. Senior forward Tracy Montigny’s field vision helped her find slashing sophomore forward Amy Armstrong, who tied the match with an intensely-celebrated goal. With the game now tied, instead of going on the defensive, the Jeffs sought the win. Montigny sent another magnificent pass to the middle of the penalty box, but this time Showler was the recipient. The senior forward proceeded to place the ball perfectly in the middle of Trinity’s goal to put the Jeffs up for good in the 89th minute of the match.
“We usually get off to a slow start,” said Showler. “So coming back in the first game was huge.”
Stoppage time came and went, and the Jeffs made their way home with the win. A true team effort broke a losing streak against the Bantams that dated back to 2000. The Jeffs are the 13th-ranked team in the nation, and they certainly did not disappoint with Saturday’s play. With such a test of heart in the first game, Coach Hughes will undoubtedly make sure that the Jeffs learn from Saturday’s mistakes and carry their momentum into this afternoon’s match-up with non-league opponent Eastern Connecticut State University.
“We need to get used to playing with each other as a team,” said senior tri-captain defender Mary Sarro-Waite. “We’re not yet used to each others’ tendencies and natural habits.”
Amherst continues its NESCAC slate on Saturday against Bates College at 11:00 a.m. at Hitchcock Field. The Jeff-Bobcat contest will be a rematch of last year’s final game in the NESCAC Championship Tournament. Amherst beat Bates, 6-0, to win the league crown.
This first win of the season gives the Jeffs a solid base to build upon. “We pulled it out,” said Sarro-Waite. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”