Coinciding with the end of the month of October is the onset of the women’s soccer postseason, specifcally the NESCAC tournament. For Amherst, which posted a dominant regular season record of 7-2-1 in conference play, the arrival of playoffs meant a home quarterfinal matchup against sixth-ranked Hamilton.
Though Saturday’s nor’easter caused the match to be pushed back to Sunday, Amherst emerged from the contest with a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Continentals. From the opening whistle, it was apparent that the Hamilton game plan centered on a high-press.
For much of the first half, the Continentals’ constant harassment of Amherst players stunted the normally high-flying Amherst attack. The Mammoths had difficulty moving the ball from the defensive half of the field to the attacking half, so it was mostly Amherst’s center backs, wide players and defensive midfielders who spent time on the ball.
When they could break the press and attack through the middle, however, the Mammoths looked dangerous. Late in the first half, after a nice bit of Amherst interplay, Rubii Tamen ’19 found the ball at her feet on the touchline.
Tamen made a quick turn upfield, beat her defender, sent the next one to the floor and rocketed a shot off of the left pipe and into the back of the net. Thanks to a stout defensive effort and an in-form goalkeeper, the Mammoths managed to keep the visitors off the score sheet. Midway through the second half, a Hamilton striker sent a powerful shot towards goal that seemed destined to slot into the net just under the crossbar.
Amherst keeper Antonia Tammaro ’21, however, dove and got her fingertips on the ball, deflecting the shot just enough to send it off the crossbar and back into play. This was the last major chance Hamilton had on target, as the Mammoths proceeded to lock down the defensive end of the field, emerging with the 1-0 victory.
At the end of the 90 minutes, the Mammoth’s had outshot the Continentals 19 to 11. Thanks to a season-high six saves by Tammaro, the Mammoths advanced to the NESCAC tournament semifinals. On Saturday, Nov. 3 Amherst will face off against Middlebury, which dealt Amherst one of its two losses on the season, in Williamstown, as Williams in the top-seeded team. If Amherst overcomes the Panthers, a matchup against a Little Three rival lies in store for the team in the finals on Sunday, as Wesleyan takes on top-seeded Williams in the other semifinal.