As the GOAT of all GOATs Herm Edwards once said, “Playoffs?!?!?” Indeed, the season of single elimination is upon us. This time last year Williams was heading into the playoffs as the dominant force in the league only to lose in cinderella fashion to Trinity. There’s a definitive answer as to why the NFL playoffs, World Cup, and March Madness are more fun to watch than other playoff games: they’re single elimination. Anything can happen. The NESCAC is such a strong conference that any one of these teams can make a bid at a national championship. Let’s look at this weekend’s quarter final match ups.
Amherst College (7) vs. Connecticut College (2), 11:30 AM
Connecticut College was shocked by Bowdoin last Saturday in an abysmal 2-0 loss. The high powered offense of the Camels just couldn’t get going. A loss going into the playoffs doesn’t bode well for the team because of shaken confidence. However, the Camels are the number two seed for a reason. All year they’ve proved to the league why they’re one of its best teams. The opponent, however, should scare the Camels. Amherst is 3-1 in its past three games. In any time of struggle or doubt, individuals turn to people they can depend on. Conn’s Michelle Medina ‘18 and Lauren Steele ‘18 are those people. The senior midfielders lead their team in scoring, while providing leadership as well. As noted in earlier articles, Conn is a diverse team filled with young playmakers and veterans. Look for the seniors to set the tone for the Camels. Hannah Guzzi ‘18 barely squeaked Amherst into the playoffs. A disappointing regular season almost kept Amherst out of it all together. Guzzi’s astonishing eleven goals allowed Amherst to obtain a coveted playoff spot. Now that they’re here, the team can’t fully rely on Guzzi if she’s shutdown. I think Conn will be too much for Amherst.
Prediction: Connecticut College 1-0.
Hamilton (6) vs. Middlebury (3), 12:00 PM
Middlebury did what Conn and Tufts couldn’t: beat Williams. The shocker gives Middlebury all the confidence in the world. Midd isn’t a flashy team that depends on scoring at a high rate. In fact, its offensive metrics are mediocre at best. The team simply wins games, however. Beating Wesleyan on a late cross in overtime and squeaking out a tight win against Williams show that Midd is a force to be reckon with because it plays a full ninety minutes. Eliza Van Voorhis ‘21, Virginia Charman ‘20, and Sabrina Glaser ‘20 are tied with a team leading eleven points thus far in the season. Hamilton is 4-2-1 in its last seven games. The team’s strong play is a result of stellar goalkeeping by Emily Dumont ‘18. Dumont’s 0.57 GAA is outstanding, and is a major reason why the team has played so well. Similar to Midd, Hamilton doesn’t have one player that dominates the offensive output. Therefore, it’s tough as an opponent to focus on whom to shut down. I like the way both teams are playing, but Midd is just too strong down the stretch.
Prediction: Middlebury College 2-1
Bowdoin College (8) vs. Williams College (1), 12:00 PM
Bowdoin has been a sleeper the entire season. Many people, including myself, wrote the team off at the halfway point. The Polar Bears handily beat Conn in a 2-0 fashion. This fact should scare Williams. Earlier in the year, the Camels almost pulled off the upset against the Ephs, only to be denied by an Eph corner kick in overtime. The Polar Bears are led by Morgen Gallagher ‘20, who has eleven points on the season. The sophomore F/M is a playmaker, dishing out five assists and scoring four goals. Williams doesn’t want last year repeating itself. Like I said in the introduction, single game elimination scares the Ephs. Like Herb Brooks stated, “If we play them [Soviets] ten times, they may win nine. But not this game. Not tonight.” Any team playing the Ephs know that they could pull off the miracle. Williams has to stick to its game plan and play its game. That being strong defensive play with aggressive steps by defenders and crisp passing. The Ephs generally don’t make too many mistakes, but they can’t start the game flat. Building a lead early on in a playoff game is a necessity and confidence builder. Alison Lu ‘20 and Natasha Albaneze ‘18 lead the team with sixteen points. I don’t see the Ephs letting last year or last Saturday against Midd repeat itself.
Prediction: Williams 2-0
Trinity (5) vs Tufts (4), 12:00 PM
I picked Tufts to beat Williams last week because the Jumbos were hot. Instead, they got trounced by the Ephs in an embarrassing fashion. The Jumbos had all the momentum in the world until they ran into the Ephs. The Bo’s need to remember that they’re still a really strong team. A 1-0 win against Bowdoin on Tuesday should remind them that. Like all year, Emily Bowers ‘19 has led the team; she continues to be at the top of the league in all goalkeeper metrics, along with Williams’ Olivia Barnhill. Bowers must continue to be the best Jumbo on the field if they want to make a deep run into the playoffs. After a shaky start to the season, the Bantams are coming into the playoffs hot. 4-1-1 in their last six games is a great accomplishment with playoffs starting right now. Tricia Pollock ‘20 has been the woman I’ve mentioned in all Trinity articles as the key to the Bantam’s success. She’s the leader in points for the Bantams, and will be the difference maker for them down the stretch. Picking the hot team in the playoffs is the smart choice, however. I’m going with the Bantams.
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.
I got cocky everybody, I did. I was 4 and 0 going into the semifinals and extremely confident in my ability to bend the landscape of NESCAC women’s soccer to my will. Well, the fates proved me wrong. Like a latter day Oedipus I was punished for my hubris and my predictions were torn asunder as Trinity and Amherst advanced to the finals over my chosen Williams and Middlebury. Regardless of my personal failings though, we have games to recap and 5 NESCAC teams who made the NCAA tournament to talk about; Let’s go!
NESCAC Semifinal and Final Review
Trinity defeats Williams 1-1 (3-1 in Penalties)
Trinity, the 4 seed, upended Williams, the 1 seed and defending champion, on penalty kicks last Saturday. Trinity’s Tricia Pollock ’20 struck first for the Bantams, and Trinity led 1-0 for the duration of the first half. In the second half Williams responded with a goal from Kristi Kirshe ’17 to tie the game at one. The game remained tied for the rest of regulation and both overtime periods. In the shootout Trinity keeper Julia Pitino ’18 made 3 saves to secure the victory, and a place in the finals, for the Bantams.
Amherst defeats Middlebury 2-0
I obviously underestimated the team formerly known as the Lord Jeffries. Despite looking increasingly vulnerable in the first half as Middlebury threatened again and again, Amherst remained resilient and scored two goals early in the second half to assure their victory. The goals were scored by Hannah Guzzi ’18 and Rubii Tamen ’19
FINALS: Amherst defeats Trinity 2-1
Amherst continued their run into the finals where they defeated Trinity 2-1. Much like their game against Williams, Trinity struck first, taking a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game following a goal by Laura Nee ’17. Amherst though, similar to their game against Middlebury, proved that they can overcome a slow start with strong second half play. Amherst scored twice in the second half to secure their fourth overall NESCAC title. Rubii Tamen ’19 and Emily Hester ’17 scored for Amherst.
Player of the Tournament
I’d just like to quickly extend my congratulations to Rubii Tamen ’19, my pick for player of the tournament. Tamen notched 4 goals over the course of three games to help lead Amherst to a conference championship. The decision by Amherst coaches to move her farther forward on the pitch was obviously the correct one and paid off in a big way as Tamen scored in every single game of the tournament. Again, congratulations to Rubii Tamen and the whole Amherst soccer team.
OK! There you go I was nice to Amherst and a player on their team. So, I think I’ve earned both Christmas presents and maybe a nap. But I don’t have time for sleep! We have to talk about the upcoming NCAA tournament where 5 NESCAC teams are represented. Amherst of course received an automatic bid, but Williams, Middlebury, Trinity, and Conn College received at large bids as well. So, let’s briefly go over these teams’ first round games and their overall prospects for the tournament.
Conn College vs. University of Scranton in Westminster, Maryland
Conn College gets the honor of traveling the farthest out of any NESCAC team. The Camels will travel to Maryland this Saturday to take on the Scranton Royals who have been on the outskirts of the top 25 all season. Scranton also comes into the game at 17-1-1, with their only loss coming against Swarthmore, another NCAA tournament team who was ranked in the top 25 at that point in the season. Conn College on the other hand comes into the game at 10-5-1 and still desperate for a signature win. Scranton is scoring almost 3 goals a game, and I don’t see Conn College, who just allowed 6 goals against Amherst, slowing down that attack. Sorry Camels, but it doesn’t look like you’ll be dancing for long this year.
Trinity vs. WPI in Geneva, New York
Trinity’s surprise visit to the NESCAC finals, and their upending of #3 (nationally) Williams, catapulted this bubble team firmly into the NCAA tournament field. The Bantams will play WPI, owners of a 16-2-2 record and winners of the NEWMAC conference. Trinity, meanwhile is 11-4-3 with two of those losses coming against top-15 ranked teams in the country. This will be a defensive battle. Neither team is averaging more than 2 goals per game and both allow less than 0.75 goals per game as well. WPI relies heavily for goals on two senior forwards, Erin Bracken and Emma Turton, who have each scored 7 goals this year. Trinity is more of a one trick pony, relying almost exclusively on sophomore Taylor Kirchgessner who has scored 10 goals this year. In an NCAA tournament game where the defenses will be more focused and keyed in on important players, I see the more well rounded team from WPI edging out the Bantams (of course I have counted out Trinity prematurely before).
Middlebury vs. MIT in Hoboken, New Jersey
The Panthers travel south to New Jersey to take on MIT. Middlebury enters the game with a 13-4 overall record while MIT is 17-5-1. In the most recent polls, Middlebury earned votes to be in the top-25 but failed to crack the final rankings. MIT did not receive any votes. Both teams are coming off disappointing ends to their conference seasons. Middlebury lost to eventual NESCAC champions Amherst, and MIT lost in the NEWMAC conference championship to WPI. Middlebury’s schedule this year has certainly been tougher than MIT’s and this will aid them in the upcoming game. MIT also almost exclusively relies on young talent for goals. Only one upper-class Engineer has scored more than 3 goals, and no senior has scored on the season. Middlebury has several holdovers from the team that went to the final four 3 seasons ago and two of those holdovers, Adrianna Gildner ’17 and Katherine Hobbs ’17, are the Panthers’ two leading goal scorers. A third senior, Amanda Haik ’17, anchors their defense. I predict that experience and leadership will help the Panthers secure a victory.
Amherst vs. Lasell in Amherst, Massachusetts
Amherst gets a home game to start the NCAA tournament, and the #13 national ranking after their NESCAC championship. Amherst is 15-2-1 and Lasell is 18-2-1. Both teams are conference champions with Lasell clinching the GNAC crown against Albertus Magnus last week. Lasell is known for their high octane offense which has produced 3.14 goals per game, a mark that would be best in the NESCAC. Of course, this number is inflated by games against inferior competition, and games where the team exploded for an absurd amount of goals, they scored more than 5 goals 6 times this season. Amherst will have to rely on their defense, sacrificing a stingy 0.61 goals per game on the year, to carry them, which I think it will. The goalkeeping of Chelsea Cutler ’19, who only allowed 2 goals throughout the NESCAC tournament, will be vital to Amherst making a deep run.
Williams vs. Elms in Williamstown, Massachusetts
Williams fell to number 3 in the national polls after Trinity upset them in the NESCAC semis, yet they still managed to land home game to start the NCAA tournament. Williams, possessor of a 15-0-2 record, will face off against the 18-3-1 team from Elms College. Elms captured the NECC crown this past weekend and will be looking to build off their momentum as they have won 5 straight and 9 of their last 10 overall. Williams combines a potent attack, 2.71 goals per game, with a stingy defense, 0.35 goals allowed per game, and looks to dominate their opponents across the board. To have any hope of victory, Elms will need to break through that defense and score at their usual 3.09 goal per game clip, which would be quite a feat indeed as Williams has not conceded more than 1 goal in a game all season. Williams will win this one.
All 5 NESCAC teams certainly have a shot to win this upcoming weekend. By virtue of playing in the NESCAC they will have more experience playing against top level competition when compared with almost any other team in the county. I see Middlebury, Williams, and Amherst all advancing comfortable with Conn and Trinity each having a chance to win their games. Williams is the clear favorite in their bracket with little opposition appearing anywhere on the board except for a potential Elite 8 date with Middlebury or Stevens, and a possible Sweet 16 game with Johns Hopkins. Amherst also has a chance to advance to the final four, although that will mean navigating the buzzsaw that is William Smith who is 18-0-0 and has held onto the number 1 ranking seemingly all year (pst! If Trinity wins they’ll most likely play Smith in the second round). No matter what, we’re in store for some great soccer this weekend and a strong showing from the NESCAC!
Hey everyone listen… No really please listen. NESCAC women’s soccer was crazy this weekend, it really was and I’m here to tell you all about it. So calm down, or get amped, I’m a writer not a cop, and get ready to be spoon fed all the excitement that happened on the pitch this weekend.
Thursday, October 13th
Thomas College @ Bates,Final Score: 1-6 Bates
Saturday, October 15th
Bowdoin @ Hamilton,Final Score: 2-0 Bowdoin
Bowdoin controlled much of this Saturday afternoon matchup, besting the host Continentals by a score of 2-0. The first 20 minutes of play were relatively even until Bowdoin forward Emma Beane ’20 stole the ball in Hamilton’s half and beat keeper Emily Dumont ’18. Hamilton, perhaps sensing another loss on the horizon, played aggressively in the first half, attempting 12 shots, but couldn’t find the back of the net. In the second half, Bowdoin’s Claire Dardinski ’19 scored off a pass from Brigit Bergin after her initial attempt was saved.
Middlebury @ Trinity, Final Score: 2-1 Middlebury
In a battle between two teams vying to be included in the upper echelons of the conference, the visiting Middlebury Panthers defeated the Bantams of Trinity by a score of 2-1. Middlebury struck first in the game when Alissa “Good Will” Huntington ’18 scored a header off a corner kick delivered by Amy Martin ’17. Middlebury then extended their lead early in the second half when Adrianna Gildner ’17 blasted a free kick passed Bantam goalkeeper Julia Pitino ’18. Trinity scored their only goal of the afternoon a few minutes later when two great efforts by Trinity players Taylor Kirchgessner ’19 and Nicole Stauffer ’17 bounced off the crossbar. The ensuing scramble left Panther keeper Ursula Alwang ’20 in a precarious position after a diving save attempt and Stauffer was able to finish her rebound. Alwang made a diving save later in the half to protect the Panther lead and earn them the victory.
Tufts @ Conn College, Final Score: 1-0 Tufts
A defensive battle saw the visiting Jumbos defeat the Camels by a score of 1-0. Conn has now lost 3 of their last 4 NESCAC games and seems to be struggling to score as 2 of those losses have been by a score of 1-0. Neither team found the back of the net for the first hour of play, but then, in the 63rd minute, Tufts midfielder Sarah Pykkonen ’17 beat Conn keeper Bryanna Montalvo ’18 to score the only goal of the game. Pykkonen was assisted on the play by Alessandra Sadler ’19. Conn struggled to create scoring opportunities all game and was surely disappointed to lose such an important game at home.
Colby @ Amherst, Final score: 0-2 Amherst
Amherst, unlike Trinity and Conn, held serve in their Saturday game, defeating the visiting Colby Mules 2-0. After Saturday, Amherst had won 6 games in a row and had done so in dominant fashion. The win over Colby was no different. Hannah Guzzi ’18 scored both goals for Amherst, one in each half. She scored her first goal at about the 20 minute mark, capitalizing on a possession where Amherst attempted shots on goal 3 times before finally slotting one into the back of the net. Guzzi’s other goal came in the second half, this time scoring off a cross from Maeve McNamara ’19. Guzzi is now tied for the league lead in total goals scored with 10. Colby never really got going on offense in this game, only mustering 3 shots and struggling to retain possession.
Wesleyan @ Williams,Final score: 0-6 Williams
Not every game can be close. Or even kind of close. Or even sort of kind of close. Williams, ranked second nationally, absolutely dominated the visiting Cardinals to the tune of 6-0. The Ephs, after Saturday’s win, set a new record for consecutive unbeaten matches with 21. The first goal of the game came less than two minutes into the match when Sarah Scire ’20 had probably the easiest goal of her life after a beautiful pass from Audrey Thomas ’17. Next, Natasha Albaneze ’18 scored for the Ephs before Thomas added her own goal in the 13th minute of play. Williams closed off their first half onslaught when Lauren Brown ’19 rifled a shot past Wesleyan keeper Claire Coyle ’20. Scire and Thomas both scored again in the second half to extend the lead to 6 and truly finish off the Cardinals. The Cardinals switched keepers at half, subbing out Coyle in favor of Zoe Cassels-Brown ’20 in an attempt to stem the tide of Eph goals.
Sunday, October 17th
Tufts @ Trinity,Final score: 0-2 Trinity
Trinity rebounded from their tough loss to Middlebury to defeat the visiting Jumbos by a score of 2-0. Trinity was dominant defensively, controlling the pace and flow of the game for much of the afternoon. They were also ruthlessly efficient on the offensive end, scoring twice on only eight shots. The first goal of the game came in under 10 minutes when Sheena Landy ’17 headed in a corner kick from Kendra Lena ’17. Tricia Pollock extended Trinity’s lead in the second half, beating Emily Bowers ’19 and scoring a screamer from 18 yards out.
Amherst @ Conn College, Final score: 2-1 Amherst
Conn was unable to defend their home for the second time this weekend, falling to the visitors from Western Mass. Conn came out of the gate quickly, scoring less than a minute into the game. Lauren Steele ’18 scored her third goal of the season off an expertly placed cross from Alex Baltazar ’19. Sloan Askins ’20 responded later in the first half on a long shot. Askins also recorded the game winner late in the second half when she finished a cross sent in by Rubii Tamen ’19. Conn’s Baltazar had an excellent chance just before Askins’ goal, but her chip sailed just high of the cross bar.
Bowdoin @ Williams,Final score: 0-2 Williams
Williams put the capper on a perfect weekend by defeating the visiting Polar Bears 2-0. Audrey Thomas scored her third goal of the weekend early in the first half to help the Ephs jump out to a 1-0 lead. Thomas was released on a great pass from Sarah Scire ’20 who lofted the ball cleverly over the Bowdoin back line. Williams’ added to their tally in the second half when Kristina Alvarado ’19 slammed in a shot off a pass from Kristi Kirshe ’17. Coming off a win on Saturday, Bowdoin looked relatively outmatched by the team from Williams and struggled to generate good chances, only attempting 1 shot that tested the Williams keeper.
Wesleyan @ Middlebury, Final score: 0-1 Middlebury
Middlebury eked out a victory on Sunday, defeating the visiting Cardinals 1-0. Wesleyan put up a valiant effort, especially on defense, where they consistently bent, but refused to break. The match remained scoreless until the final two minutes of play when Middlebury was finally able to break through. In the 88th minute Amy Martin ’17 beat her defender and slid a pass into the box to Emma Shumway ’18 who tapped in an easy opportunity to give the panthers the boost they needed to secure victory. The game was certainly highlighted by excellent play in the back lines for the two teams, particularly at the keeper position. Kate Reinmuth ’17 for Middlebury and Zoe Cassels-Brown ’20 for Wesleyan made 10 combined saves throughout the game, several of which were way, way, way up there on the difficulty scale.
Hartwick @ Hamilton,Final score: 1-1 Tie
Player of the Week
This was a tough week to decide my player of the week award. We had several players who surely deserved the award and I could make a case for giving it to any of them. But it’s not just goal scorers who deserve credit, so this week I’m giving it to someone who scored 0 goals. Amy Martin ’17 of Middlebury is this week’s player of the week. The senior from Sandy Hook, Connecticut had assists in both games and Middlebury won each game by only 1 goal so she certainly had a sizeable impact. The midfielder is now 7th in the NESCAC in assists in conference games and her passing touch has certainly helped Middlebury go on their recent tear.
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.