The No. 16 women’s soccer team kept busy over Fall Break, picking up a pair of important wins against NESCAC foes Wesleyan and Bowdoin. The games were played on back-to-back days at Amherst’s Hitchcock Field. The Mammoths beat the Cardinals 3-0 on Saturday, Oct. 8, before picking up a 2-1 victory over the Polar Bears on Sunday, Oct. 9, the team’s Senior Day.
The Mammoths began Saturday’s contest with an offensive onslaught, ripping off four shots in the first 15 minutes. The Cardinals came close in the ninth minute when a shot hit the crossbar, but the ball stayed out of the net, allowing the Mammoths to take the lead just six minutes later.
Isabel Stern ’23 received the ball just inside the Cardinals’ half, positioned slightly on the right side of the field. She cut inside, wrong-footing her defender, and darted toward the goal. Still well outside the box, she played a ball to the cutting Kum, who received the ball on the right side of the box. Kum took one touch before lashing the ball across the goalkeeper and into the left-side netting: 1-0 Mammoths.
The Cardinals responded positively to the goal, taking five of the last seven shots of the half, but goalkeeper Mika Fisher ’24 was there when called upon, making three saves to secure the 1-0 halftime advantage.
Despite three shots from the Cardinals in the first five minutes of the second half, the Mammoths again drew first blood. In the 52nd minute, Stern whipped a shot into the box, this time from the left side. Though no Mammoth could manage to get on the end of it, the Wesleyan keeper gave up a rebound that rolled right into the path of the on-rushing Alexa Juarez ’23E, who tapped it in to make it 2-0.
The insurance goal came nine minutes later, when Kum capitalized on a poor pass back to the Wesleyan goalkeeper. She picked up the ball and found herself one-on-one with the keeper, but her initial shot was blocked. The ball continued to roll towards the net, though, and she pressed onwards, regaining possession and slotting the ball into the net between two flailing Cardinal defenders and the right post. The big conference victory brought the Mammoth’s record against the Cardinals in the 21st century to an impressive 23-1-3.
The following day’s match saw the Mammoths take on another conference rival whom they have grown accustomed to beating, the Bowdoin Polar Bears. Coming into their game on Sunday, Amherst had won the teams’ last six meetings.
Five minutes into the game, the Mammoths got on track to extend their win streak. Kum and Stern were pressing the Polar Bears’ keeper deep in her own half, forcing a bad ball toward a defender. Stern won the ball and played a cross into the feet of Kum, who cut past two defenders before roping the ball into the path of the team’s leading scorer and NESCAC points leader Abby Schwartz ’24. With the defenders and goalkeeper out of position, Schwartz tapped the ball into the back of the net, despite being immediately leveled by a sliding Bowdoin defender. The Mammoths took the early lead.
While Amherst continued to dominate through the rest of the first half and the second, the Polar Bears flipped the script around the 70th minute. They put three shots on goal in rapid succession — their only three to find the mark all game — with the third finding the back of the net to even the score at 1-1 with only 18 minutes to play.
As she had all weekend, though, Kum stepped up. She scored her fifth goal of the season off a joint assist from Stern and Sierra Rosado ’25 with just under eight minutes to go. It was the last shot of the game, and secured the Mammoths a 2-1 win.
Senior Day gave the squad a chance to honor its six seniors: Stern, Juarez, Allison Stafford ’23, Mikayla Brenman ’23, Isabelle Geneve ’23, and Sarah Sullivan ’23. When talking about the impact that they’ve had on the team, Fisher said, “Our team culture and success is a direct result of everything the seniors have poured into this team and this program. It may have been Senior Day on Sunday, but we play every game for them and for the love we have for this group [of players].”
The pair of wins brought the Mammoths to 9-2 on the season — currently best in the conference — and 5-2 in the NESCAC. They sit in second place in the league, having won three straight games, and six out of seven since losing to Tufts on Sept. 17.
The team has just four games to play before an all-but-guaranteed run in the NESCAC tournament. They will face New England College on Sunday, Oct. 16, in Henniker, New Hampshire, before a run of conference matchups against Connecticut College, Hamilton, and Trinity between Oct. 18 and 25. Kickoff against the Pilgrims is set for 12 p.m.