Two weeks ago, a day before their season opener, the women’s lacrosse head coach Christine Paradis highlighted a mentality she demands from her team: to “not let rankings and expectations get in the way of being fully present, taking each day is it comes and focusing on those little things that matter … We need to go out and play every game like it is our last.” Tested early in the season, the team showed the resilience Paradis asked for; in the four games subsequent to their home opener loss, three of which featured top-ranked opponents, Amherst came out with four convincing wins.
In the first of these four games, the Mammoths faced unranked Springfield College at home.
The first half set the tone of the game as the Mammoths scored six unanswered goals from the sticks of five different players and goalkeeper Talia Land ’20 came out hot, saving seven shots by the Spirits in the first half.
Halftime did little to stem the momentum of the Amherst team. Senior captain Kaitlyn Haase and sophomore midfielder Hannah Gustafson scored in the first 10 minutes of the second quarter and first year Becky Kendall added another to put the team into a dominating 11-0 lead.
The Spirits outscored the Mammoths through the remaining 20 minutes but could do little to threaten a commanding Amherst lead.
Spring break, a relaxing time for many, was quite the opposite for the Mammoth team as they faced three ranked opponents over the course of the week.
On Saturday, March 9, the women’s lacrosse team boarded a bus to Biddeford, Maine to challenge the first of these three teams, the 14th-ranked Bowdoin College Polar Bears.
In what turned out to be a monster five-goal day for sophomore Isabelle Sennett: it was only proper for her to open the scoring with an impressive unassisted effort.
The Amherst offense scored two more quick goals for a 3-0 lead after seven minutes.
The run slowed as the Polar Bears responded, outscoring the Mammoths 6-5 through the remainder of the first half.
Amherst’s offense began clicking again, finishing the game on a 7-4 run, three of which were netted by Sennett. The match ended in a 16-12 victory for the Mammoths.
Upon returning from Maine, Amherst faced the 18th-ranked William Smith College Herons on Sunday. The Mammoths began the game sluggish.
With eight minutes remaining in the first half, they found themselves in a five-goal deficit at 1-6.
Before the break, however, the Mammoths found a groove, bringing the score to 6-5. Coming out of half, Land, in goal, saved a total of 16 shots.
Stalwart goalie play and a clicking offense powered the Mammoths to score six more unanswered goals for a final score of 11-6.
Heading into a week without class, this momentum was welcome.
To cap off spring break, the Amherst team had to go through one more team on Saturday, March 16, this time the highest-ranked so far: the College of New Jersey Lions at No. 11.
Unlike the Sunday before, the Mammoths started hot, scoring seven goals to the Lions two in the first half.
The Lions mounted a comeback early in the second half with a 4-1 run, but were eventually thwarted through the final 14 minutes as Amherst shut them out and scored three goals of their own to finish the game 11-6.
If Paradis wanted a team that does not note the rankings of themselves or their opponents, it seems like she has that team this year.
The Mammoths showed mental and physical resilience through a tough, competitive stretch following their season-opening loss.
They will play Hamilton College at home Sunday, March 24 at noon.