Following 1-0 defeats this past weekend, both Wesleyan and Hamilton look to get off the snide this Friday. Against Bates on Saturday, Wesleyan still exhibited signs of great defense, but limited execution on the offensive end. As I predicted last weekend, the game was determined by a bounce one way or another. Unsuccessful Wesleyan corners in the first-half opened the door for Bates to put one into the back of the net later on in the game. Similarly, Hamilton’s loss to the undefeated Camels proved to be a tightly competitive game, but a bounce here and there led to the Continental’s defeat. Cat Gambino ‘18 leads the team in goals thus far, and will be the difference maker if Hamilton wants to ascend in the NESCAC standings. However, look for a sense of assertiveness in the eyes of the Cards as they look for their first league win. This will be a defensive-minded game, but I think Wes will be playing for their lives.
Predicted Score: Wesleyan 1-0.
Colby vs Middlebury (Middlebury, VT, 11:00)
The Mules will leave Waterville with some desperation in their eyes as they look to pick up that ever elusive first conference win. Olivia Greif ‘21 still stands tall in all three of the NESCAC major statistical offensive categories. She is in the top five in goals, assists and points. Mostly because of Greif, the Mules have proven that they can generate some offense with an above average GFA, but also have a less than stellar GAA. Middlebury, in contrast, plays a defensive-minded game. Keeper Ursula Alwang ‘20 has done a solid job between the pipes, and the Panthers have several strong defenders. Like Wesleyan, I think Colby will go on the road with a similar mentality with the goal to pick up their first conference win. Look for Greif to be a difference maker on the offensive end on the pitch.
Predicted Score: 1-0 Colby
Trinity vs Bates (Lewiston, ME, 11:00 AM)
The Bantams and Bobcats are riding high after squeaking out 1-0 victories, respectively, this past weekend. In any sport, the strength of a team is measured in its mental toughness. Grinding out a 1-0 win illustrates this mental toughness. Bates made that long drive to Middletown to defeat the Cardinals in a nail-bitter. Caroline Bogue’s (‘21) goal provided the offense, while clutch defense against some dangerous Wesleyan corner-kicks sealed the game. In even bigger news, the Bobcats tied the undefeated Ephs on Sunday. It’s not just Williams and Amherst at the top of the pack this year; Bates has shown that they can truly compete with anybody. The Bantams look to stay hot coming off a 1-0 win against Colby. Like Bates, Trinity won a close game on the road–the sign of a good team. Led to victory by a goal from Tricia Pollock ‘20, Trinity looks to seize another road win. However, Bates will ride the momentum from the Wesleyan win and the Williams tie to victory. I’m taking Bates.
Predicted Score: 2-0 Bates
Tufts vs Amherst (Amherst, MA, 12:00 PM)
Amherst has to be kicking themselves after how close its defeat was to Williams. A win at a Williams homecoming would’ve proved to be incredibly sweet in front of all the Eph alumni. As an eighth seed right now in the NESCAC, this game is almost a must-win for Amherst. Hannah Guzzi ‘18 leads the entire league in goals; she’s the best offensive weapon in the league, and needs to put the team on her back like Greg Jennings did. Coming into the season with high expectations, a win here would push the Mammoths in the right direction. The Jumbos are undefeated–albeit with two ties. Emily Bowers ’19 has come into her own, and she has shown the league that she’s one of its best keepers. The Needham, MA, native (the best town in the country– no prejudice), ranks second in save percentage. Even though she’s a rock in net, Amherst will come out on top in this must-win game:
Predicted Score: 2-1 Amherst.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Connecticut College vs Williams (Williamstown, MA, 12:00 PM)
Alas, we’ve finally come to the best game of the week: the Conn Camels vs the Williams Ephs. Conn’s performance this year has been incredible. A sleeper to begin the year, the Camels simply keep winning games. Much of their success can be attributed to their wealth of assets. Kat Norton ‘21 and Mackenzie Kingston ‘18 cannot be stopped on the offensive end. Norton is top three in the league in goals, and Kingston is top five in assists. Tieing Bates after a great win against Amherst has to be a wakeup call for the Ephs that there are many competitive teams in the NESCAC. Alison Lu ‘20 leads the Ephs offense. She is one of the best players in Division III soccer–ranking third in the NESCAC in goals. However, the most impressive Eph feat is that they rank first in all of the offensive major metrical categories. And by all I mean ALL; points, goals, assists, GFA, they’re dominant. However, the Camels have opened eyes all season and won’t stop here. Look for Conn to pull off the shocker:
Editor’s Note: We recognize that the season is well underway, so for those who haven’t been paying attention here are the current standings, updated for 9/11/17.
While I may have played varsity soccer in high school before my days on the Middlebury Baseball team, I only played for one season and was a keeper, so I’m just being honest when I say that I don’t have a great feel for the game. If I use the wrong jargon, terminology, vocabulary, or grammar don’t take it too seriously. I, however, do take improvement seriously, and will be in London, studying the EPL (English Premier League; See I’m not a complete idiot) and why Arsenal is doomed for a terrible season all of my fall semester just to prove my haters wrong. So look for these pieces to get increasingly accurate as the year goes on. Here goes:
Amherst (8-1-1, 17-3-1)
Senior forward Hannah Guzzi ‘18 leads Amherst following a NESCAC Championship and her Third Team NSCAA All-American honors. Last season the formerly Purple and White ended up losing in the NCAA round of 16, and star player Guzzi led the team and the conference in points (43) and goals (19). She found the back of the net in 14 of Amherst’s 21 contests and scored seven game-winning goals with five assists. She tallied goals in all three of Amherst’s NCAA Tournament games to finish 2016 as the program record holder for points and goals in a season. Also returning for the Mammoths are All-NESCAC honorees, attacking midfielder Delancey King ‘18 (First Team) and defensive midfielder Caleigh Plaut defense ’19 (Second Team).
Bates (1-8-1, 5-9-1)
The Bobcats were only able to muster two results in league play last year, missing the postseason despite ending the season on a 3-1-0 run. It was a lost season in terms of their points, however, they had bright spots with their younger stars developing on the pitch. They return center-mid Hannah Behringer ‘18 who was second on the team with four goals, tied with forwards Olivia Amdur ’19 and Riley Turcotte ‘20. Despite flaws in their attack, resulting in shutouts in nine of 16 matches, they have several pieces who can do damage to put Bates in a position to get points. Their most glaring need is a stronger back line and keeper as they allowed the most scores in the league (30). Keeper Sarah McCarthy ‘18 had a significantly down year, allowing nearly one goal more per game than in 2015, pushing me to think the defense was the main source of the problem. Five incoming first year players are slated to see time at either right, left, or center back and in the midfield, putting more depth in front of McCarthy than a season ago.
Bowdoin (5-4-1, 9-6-1)
Bowdoin finished in a tie for fifth with Conn College and Tufts and played Middlebury in the first round of the playoffs, resulting in a quick exit. Despite beating Middlebury 1-0 earlier in the season, stud goalie Rachel Stout ’18 was unable to match her earlier shut out in the playoffs. Behind a stellar defense the Stout, the Polar Bears allowed the fewest goals in the league, although they did play less games than the NCAA tournament teams. For a more comparable stat, they allowed seven goals in league play, good for second place behind Williams’ three goals allowed. Morgen Gallagher ’20 was named to the Second-Team All-NESCAC as a forward and led the team in her first year with four goals. Nikki Wilson ‘18 was also named to the Second-Team All-NESCAC as a defender and is joined by seven other full time returning players. Only two consistent senior starters graduated, leaving few holes, and if Bowdoin can develop their offensive game, their defense should put them in great positions to end many games in a 1-0 advantage.
Colby (1-9-0, 6-9-0)
Despite a tied for last place finish in NESCAC play with a 1-9-0 record, the Mules lost four games by a score of 1-0 in league matches and were a perfect 5-0 out of conference. While everybody knows the only real games are in conference as their out of conference games were against worse teams, their overall record was still not indicative of the way their season went. Forward Laura Arnold ’18 leads the returning players with three goals and 11 points from last season and Hannah Brozdowski ‘19 will likely be right behind her after starting at center-midfielder and tallying seven points. Samantha Rizzo ‘19 is one of the stronger keepers in the league after saving 98 shots on her own, good for second in the conference despite still allowing the fourth most goals. Their defense is an issue and Rizzo can’t stop every shot, and five or six defensive minded first year players should aid Colby in a resurgent 2017. They will have a good shot at making the playoffs, and while they won’t knock off any of the top teams, they might be able to muster some results and eventually compete in the postseason.
Connecticut College (5-4-1, 10-6-1)
The Camels who were ranked 22nd nationally in 2016 at one time, will rely on the foot of midfielder Caroline Kelleher ’18 for depth during the season while wingers Alex Baltazar ’19 (Second Team All-NESCAC) and Michelle Medina ’18 provided 12 of the team’s 22 assists and scored the most goals on the team to boot. Baltazar led the team with 10 goals while Kelleher and Medina each added three. Kelleher will look to transition into a more consistent role this year after scoring a hat trick against Hamilton, but not finding the back of the net in any other games. Conn College started off the NESCAC regular season with a 3-0 record last season but ultimately fell down the rankings to seventh place, despite making a nice run at the end of the year. They received an at large bid to the NCAA tournament and made it to the second round after a PK win against Scranton. The Camels have a solid attack and if others can join Baltazar as leaders on offense, they will be hard to stop.
Hamilton (2-7-1, 5-8-1)
The Continentals snuck into the NESCAC playoffs last year despite scoring the fewest goals (13) and points (35) in the league. They do return eight starters on the pitch, including several seniors and four year starters in Emily Dumont ‘18, Katie Kreider ‘18, Amanda Becker ‘18, and Katja Dunlap ‘18. Kate Whiston ‘18 is the returner with the most goals from a season ago at three, and will need to increase that for Hamilton to get more results in league play. They lack weapons offensively and will need to be more successful in their combinations to get better looks and more shots on target. They were not overly strong on defense either, but the glaring hole was in total goals, and as everybody knows, the best defense is a good offense.
Middlebury (7-3-0, 15-5-0)
Despite losing All-American Katherine Hobbs ‘17, the Panthers should still have a great shot at going deep into the NESCAC playoffs and get an NCAA tournament berth. Despite a loss in the conference semis to Amherst, they made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament, losing to Messiah who went on to beat Williams in the quarterfinals and lose in the finals. They return just six starters though, including their top two scorers the players with the three highest total point totals. Senior midfielder Emma Shumway ‘18 and attacking midfielder Amanda Dafonte ‘19 will need to bear the brunt of the scoring load as they had found the back of the net nine times between them. Keeper Ursula Alwang ‘20 came on strongly at the end of 2016, eventually taking over as the starter and tallying back to back clean sheets in the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament. Looking to step up as breakout players for Midd will be Virginia (Jinx) Charman ‘20 bringing depth to the midfield, shifting up front on the attack as well and Clare Robinson ‘19, a transfer from D1 Wofford who made her D3 debut in 2016. Robinson and her younger sister Eliza ‘21 have NESCAC glory in their family as their sister Hannah ‘16 won the NESCAC POY in 2015.
Trinity (7-3-0, 11-5-4)
The Bantams return a solid corp from the team that shocked Williams in PK’s in the semi-finals last season. 2016 NESCAC First-Team honoree midfielder Taylor Kirchgessner ‘19 is a contender for POY as a junior. Sarah Connors ’18 provides stout senior leadership, but Trinity’s real strength lies in their keeper. Julia Pitino ‘18 was by all measure the best keeper in the league last year leading the league in total saves with 105 and save percentage at 87%. Between Conners and her, teams should have trouble scoring against Trinity. However, scoring goals themselves might be an issue. Kirchgessner is one of the biggest scoring threats in the league, but their second and fourth leading scorers (Laura Nee and Andi Nicholson,) both graduated, leaving a void in the Trinity offense. One potential solution is Tricia Pollack ‘20. With four goals as a first year, she could be poised for a breakout season.
Tufts (5-4-1, 7-6-3)
Tufts is looking to rise out of the middle of the pack this season. However, the loss of Robin Estus will not make that easy. A Second Team All League midfielder, Estus was adept at facilitating the Jumbo’s offense. WIthout her, Tufts will need some new faces to step up as offensive threats. One of those faces is Taylor Koscho ‘19. With one goal and four assists last year, she is a natural replacement for Estus’ production. Mariah Harvey-Brown ‘18 had four goals last season, and will likely be a major player in the offense this season as well. Defensively, Tufts could really use a star turn from keeper Emily Bowers ‘19. She was impressive as a sophomore last year with .98 goals against on average. However, with the losses on offense, Bowers could have far more save chances this year.
Wesleyan (0-7-3, 3-9-3)
I think it’s safe to say that last year didn’t go quite as the Cardinals hoped. They finished the year at 3-9-3 overall and 0-7-3 in the league, which was obviously the worst record in the league. Their problems were most apparent on offense. They only had three goals in league play. This put a lot of pressure on their defense, as opposing teams were constantly on the attack. And to make matters worse, they graduated their best goal scorer in Sarah Sylla ’17. It’s reasonable to expect Wesleyan’s offense to struggle again this year, therefore the defense will have to step up. The Cardinals alternated between two first year keepers in keeper Zoe Cassels-Brown ’20 and Claire Coyle ‘20, but it looks like Cassels-Brown will be the starter.
Williams (9-0-1, 18-1-1)
From the basement of the league we go to the ceiling. Williams dominated NESCAC in the regular season last year, finishing at 18-1. However, they have to be a little disappointed in how the playoffs turned out. They rolled to the semifinals as expected, and then lost in penalty kicks to fourth-seeded Trinity. Of course, they then advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, so perhaps they weren’t so disappointed. Anyways, Williams certainly lost some of the talent that made them such a dominant force. The two biggest losses from the offseason were undoubtedly Kristi Kirshe and Audrey Thomas. The two of them made up possibly the best forward duo in the country, as both were named All-Americans. However, the Ephs are more than able to weather those losses. Alison Lu ‘20 was the second leading goal scorer in the league as a first year, and enters this year as the rare sophomore POY candidate. Alongside her is Second Team forward Kristina Alvarado ‘18, and fellow first year phenom Kristi Kirshe, who had eight goals last season. They return Second Team goalkeeper Olivia Barnhill ‘19, and standout defenders Danielle Sim ‘18 and Evan Gancedo ’18. The Ephs are certainly the favorite to win the league this season, but as they saw last year, a lot can happen in the postseason.
Editor’s Note: The NESCAC Women’s Soccer Week In Review is a new feature that we are going to be rolling out this fall. We feel strongly that women’s sports in the NESCAC should also be covered, but unfortunately due to our current resources, we can’t cover them to the extent that we wish we could. We are going to be putting out a weekly article with updates on NESCAC Women’s Soccer action, however staff size is going to limit us to just one article each week for now. That being said, if you have ANY interest in writing (about Women’s Soccer or any of the other sports we cover) or contributing in some way, please send us an email at email@example.com so that we can expand our coverage! For now, enjoy this week’s women’s soccer update!
Hey guess what! Nothing but NESCAC is expanding! Starting with this article, we’ll begin providing weekly updates on all the goings on in NESCAC women’s soccer. I’m Liam Naughton, an accomplished FIFA player and 3rd grade travel soccer MVP, but enough about me. Let’s dive into this past week. Wednesday, September 21st
Wesleyan @ Tufts, Final Score: 0-0 tie
A mid-week matchup between the Jumbos and the Cardinals ended in a grueling 0-0 draw after two overtimes. Tufts held a decisive shot advantage testing the Wesleyan defense 17 times, while the visitors only managed to spray 8 shots towards Tufts’ net. Of course, the best opportunity of the game came in the 99th minute for Wesleyan when Tufts’ goal keeper Emily Bowers ’19 was forced to make a diving save off a shot from Sarah Sylla ’17 of Wesleyan. After a slow first half in which the Jumbos were stifled by Wesleyan’s intense pressure, Tufts took control more in the second half, but just weren’t able to convert any of their chances into goals. Tufts, who so far have not lost in NESCAC competition will look to build off this game in the coming weeks.
Castleton @ Middlebury, Final Score: 3-1 Middlebury
Conn College @ Coast Guard, Final Score: 2-0 Conn College
Thursday, September 22nd
Emerson @ Trinity, Final Score: 0-3 Trinity
Saturday, September 24th
Bowdoin @ Middlebury, Final Score: 1-0 Bowdoin The Bowdoin Polar Bears visited the Middlebury Panthers this past weekend and escaped with a hard fought 1-0 win. Middlebury’s aggressive and potent offense (averaging over 2 goals a game this season) was unable to beat Bowdoin goalie Rachel Stout ’18. Adrianna Gildner ’17 provided two of Middlebury’s best opportunities, attempting a bicycle kick early in the first half that flew by the post, and testing Stout on a free kick late in the first half. Despite Gildner’s efforts, it was Bowdoin’s Anna Mellman ’17 who slotted home the game’s only goal, beating Panther goalie Ursula Alwang ’20 with a cracking shot from nearly 35 yards away. Connecticut College @ Hamilton, Final Score: 3-0 Conn College
Conn College ran over Hamilton in this early season match, besting the host Continentals by a score of 3-0. The Camels (ranked 22nd nationally) relied on the foot of junior midfielder Caroline Kelleher ’18 who scored 3 goals in the match. Conn College began attacking early, Kelleher notching her first goal 5 minutes into the match and her second 13 minutes later. Kelleher then scored her third goal 5 minutes into the second half, demonstrating her dominance. Hamilton forward Amanda Becker ’18 tested Conn College goalie Bryanna Montalvo ’17 twice, but neither she nor any of her teammates were able to best the senior goalie. Wesleyan @ Bates, Final Score: 2-2 tie
The Bobcats scored two goals in quick succession in the second half to force a draw between themselves and the visiting Wesleyan Cardinals. Wesleyan had jumped out to an early lead behind a penalty kick from Nicole Brodkowitz ’20 after only 11 minutes of action. Wesleyan further extended their lead after Sarah Sylla ’17 scored 10 minutes into the second half. Bates scored consecutive goals in the 83rd and 84th minutes. First, Olivia Amdur ’19 rifled a shot by Wesleyan keeper Zoe Cassels-Brown ’20. Amdur was assisted on her goal Hannah Behringer ’18 who scored herself a minute later off a well worked set piece. Colby @ Trinity, Final Score: 1-3 Trinity
Trinity scored early and often and cruised past the visiting Colby Mules 3-1. The Bantams flashed a balanced scoring attack, getting goals from Taylor Kirchgessner ’19, Laura Nee ’17, and Sarah Connors ’18 in the 13th, 27th, and 33rd minutes respectively. Colby seemed to be on their backfoot for most of the game, mustering only 5 total shots on target. Only one shot managed to find the back of the net for the Mules as Emily Martin ’18 scored off of an assist from Laura Arnold ’18 two minutes into the second half. Williams @ Amherst, 1-1 tie
In the 2nd double overtime game of the weekend, Williams and Amherst drew 1-1. Williams, who has not lost yet this season, fell behind early after Amherst scored on a beautiful run and finish by Hannah Guzzi ’18. Williams refused to go down easily, constantly pressuring Amherst’s defense to the tune of 22 shots and sheer domination in terms of possession. Only one shot managed to beat Amherst keeper Chelsea Cutler ’19 though, which came via the foot of Williams’ Kristina Alvarado ’18. Alvarado managed to score on a quality finish after an errant clearance by the Amherst backline. After a scoreless two periods of overtime, the match ended in a draw.
Brandeis @ Tufts, Final Score: 1-1 tie Sunday, September 25th
Middlebury @ Hamilton, Final Score: 1-0 Middlebury
Middlebury rebounded from their difficult defeat Saturday to beat Hamilton 1-0. Middlebury was on the attack for most of the game, attempting 14 shots and winning 6 corner kicks. But Hamilton’s back line would bend but refused to break, until less than 10 minutes remained in regulation. Katherine Hobbs ’17 continued her season of great form scoring her fourth goal of the season. After winning possession off a corner kick, Hobbs quickly finished the shot and secured Middlebury’s second win in the conference this season. Colby @ Connecticut College, 0-3 Conn College
Conn College continued their weekend of domination, defeating the Colby mules by a score of 3-0. Colby remained winless in the conference falling to 0-4 and played on their back foot for most of the game. The low point of the game certainly came when Colby scored an own goal after a well placed cross from Alex Baltazar ’19. Conn College has yet to lose in the conference this season and looked utterly dominant throughout the weekend, scoring 6 goals and allowing 0. Michelle Medina ’18 and Livi Block ’18 scored the remaining goals for the Camels, beating Colby keeper Samantha Rizzo ’19, who put up a valiant fight in a losing effort, saving 7 shots. Williams @ Bates, 2-0 Williams
Williams bounced back from their draw with Amherst to defeat the hosting Bates Bobcats 2-0. Alison Lu ’20 scored her 5th goal of the season, using her head to control a pass from Kristin Kirshe ’17 and then driving the shot past the keeper. Kirshe added her own goal in the second half, beating Bobcats’ goalie Sarah McCarthy ’18 off a pass from Lu. Williams remains undefeated in the conference improving to 4-0-1, while Bates remained winless at 0-4-1. All eyes will be on Williams next weekend when they meet fellow unbeaten Conn College in New London, Connecticut.
Farmingdale State @ Amherst, Final Score: 1-3 Amherst Player of the Week
This weeks player of the week goes to Conn College’s Caroline Kelleher ’18. The junior from Holden, Massachusetts scored all three of her teams goals against Hamilton and led the Camels to their 3-0 victory. These were Kelleher’s first three goals of the season, but her coaches surely hope that this is a sign of things to come, as another threat would do nothing but elevate Conn College’s already deadly attacking play.