Women's Soccer Wins Again, Clinches NESCAC Regular Season Title
What’s the best way to honor women’s soccer’s six seniors and four super seniors? The Amherst College Bicentennial. Parents’ Weekend. A 5-0 shutout. And a NESCAC regular-season championship.
On Saturday, Oct. 23, women’s soccer took to Hitchcock Field, led by the team’s 10 seniors, to face off against Colby College. From the starting whistle (and Mika Fisher’s ’24 save in the fourth minute), it was clear that the Mammoths had this game more locked down than the world in March of 2020. Case in point, just five minutes later, a shot off a free kick taken by Sophia Fikke ’22 struck the crossbar with a reverberation that the Johnson Chapel bell could only ever dream of achieving.
Fikke must really dislike round objects because that girl’s connection to corners is undeniable; within the first 18 minutes alone, she sent five corner kicks soaring into the box. Natalie Landau ’22 and Julia Ralph ’22 were both able to capitalize on Fikke’s affinity for right angles with shots in the 10th and 14th minutes, respectively. In the 16th minute, Fikke created a perfect opportunity for Sierra Rosado ’25 to put one on the scoreboard for purple, with the first year notching her first goal of the game to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Mammoths.
Despite holding the lead, the Mammoths’ attack was unrelenting: Patience Kum ’25 tested the Mules’ keeper with a header in the 18th minute, before Ruby Hastie ’22 put one in the back of the net just four minutes later to extend the lead. Rosado then struck again, sending a beautiful strike from outside the box into the top corner of the goal in the 26th minute. The team ended the first half with 10 shots recorded and leading the Mules by a score of 3-0.
True to her name, Hastie quickly got the action going in the second half, notching a shot less than a minute after the half began, with Ralph following only seconds later with an attempt of her own. The team’s fourth goal would come in the 49th minute, courtesy of Isabel Stern ’23. With the goal, assisted by Carter Hollingsworth ’25, Stern showed the Mules she did not come to play games — no pun intended. Following the fourth goal by purple, the Colby offense tried to retaliate and managed to disprove the old adage “the third time’s the charm,” thanks to the Amherst back line and Fisher.
To add insult to injury for the Mules, Kum bent it like Beckham and found the back of the net in the 58th minute to make the score 5-0 for the Mammoths. In the next few minutes alone, Cassidy Duncan ’25 hit two shots just inches off frame, and Alyssa Huynh ’25 had a scoring opportunity of her own. The Mammoths left the field on senior day with a win, twenty shots to Colby’s nine, yet another shutout and four saves for Fisher, and a 7-1-1 conference record.
On Tuesday, Oct. 26, women’s soccer took on Trinity College in their last regular season game. Two minutes after the whistle blew, the Bantam offense hit a shot that was rejected by Fisher faster than a NARP trying to get into Jenkins before 11p.m.. Landau struck back in the 11th minute with a kick that was just barely saved by Trinity goalkeeper Jennifer Stuart. As the clock ticked on, the game got dirtier; three fouls were called against purple and two against blue in less than 15 minutes of game-action. Despite the dirty play, Amherst kept pushing for a breakthrough; Stern took David Guetta’s lyrics to heart with her shot in minute 34 that ricocheted off the post.
Less than a minute later, the crowds saw the score change to 1-0 in the Mammoths’ favor due to an own goal resulting from the scrum inside the box that Stern’s shot created. After more back-and-forth play and multiple shots from each team, the Trinity offense managed to break through the Mammoths’ back line to bring the score to 1-1 in the 43rd minute.
Coming out of the halftime break, Trinity resumed play with energy and passion, sending a ball soaring past Fisher’s fingers 15 minutes into the second half. But unlike Mammuthus columbi, to whom we owe our name and our livelihood, women’s soccer refused to accept the threat of extinction; an excellently placed header in the 65th minute by Claire Nam ’22, off a well-struck free kick by Liza Katz ’24, brought the score back to an even 2-2. The tying goal seemed to re-energize the Mammoths: Kum and Landau led the charge against the Trinity defense, pelting them relentlessly with shot after shot, and Katz and Abby Schwartz ’24 joined in on the fun with their shots in the last three minutes of regular time.
Intent on wrapping up the last game of the regular season, the Mammoths hit the ground galloping at the start of overtime. Schwartz and Rosado saw their shots fly mere inches off frame six minutes into the first overtime; but not to be deterred, Trinity countered with two shots of their own in the following minute.
And then, everything changed.
Time stopped: the rain that had been falling all evening seemed to hover in mid-air. The sounds of the crowd and the cars passing by on Route 9 faded into nothingness. The clock read 98:26 as Hastie dribbled past four Bantams, made her way into the 18-yard box, and wound up to make contact with the ball. The white blur hurtled through the mist, soaring past the Trinity keeper’s outstretched fingers. As the ball swished into the back of the net, time resumed. The air was filled with cheers and screams. Proud spectators wiped the escaping tears from their faces as the players and various enthusiastic members of the football team, who had been cheering the team on throughout the second half and overtime, rushed the field, moshing with more intensity than the sticky common room of Mo Pratt has ever seen.
And just like that, the Mammoths were crowned the 2021 NESCAC Champions. What a glorious day to be an extinct apex predator. But the fun doesn’t stop there: The Mammoths will return to action at home this weekend, with a rematch set with Trinity in NESCAC quarterfinal play on Saturday, Oct. 30. Roll Hitchcock Field to watch women’s soccer keep their winning streak alive.