Field Hockey Dominates Colby In 3-1 Season Opener
By by STEVE VLADECK, Staff Writer
With the loss of two starting defenders and the leading scorer from the 1999 team that finished second in the nation, the field hockey team entered Sunday's season opener with two big questions to answer-how would their defense hold up, and where would their offense come from?

With a 'just fine, thank you,' and a 'who cares?,' the Jeffs rolled to a

3-1 win over a scrappy Colby squad, despite a first half in which the Mules stayed even with the defending national finalists.

"I think we got away with something, because they played a better first half than we did," said Co-captain Gretchen Bowe '01. "We came out stronger in the second half and played more of our game. Obviously, I think we could have done a few things better, but what would a first game be like if it were perfect?"

Yet, given the different look of the 2000 Jeffs, with five key players lost to graduation, Sunday's game was still pretty darn close to

flawless, especially in the second half.

After Robin Ackerman '02 and Colby's Becca Bruce traded late first-half goals, the Jeffs broke the game open with a dominating performance in the final 35 minutes.

Behind the stellar play of Bowe, fellow Co-captain Mairin Brady '02 and Marcy Busch '02 in the midfield, the hosts pinned Colby in their defensive end for most of the opening minutes of the second period, finally breaking through late in the 49th minute.

After Bowe sent a perfect through pass to Christine Ryan '04, the rookie slotted the ball into the penalty circle, where Abby Ouimet '03 slapped a shot past Colby goalie Jane Stevens, putting the Jeffs up


Stevens, who was stellar in net throughout the game, finishing with a career-best 17 saves, stopped the Jeffs on their next three chances, but Bowe extended the Amherst lead to 3-1 with a blast off a penalty corner at 56:38.

Ackerman took the corner, sending it to Bowe at the top of the circle, and the first-team All-American fired through a crowd of Colby defenders for her first goal of the season.

The Mules attempted to rally late, but the Amherst defense, led by returning starters Anne Close '02 and Laurie Smith '02, broke up a number of Colby opportunities, and standout goalie Beth Sensing '02 posted 11 saves, including five in the final 15 minutes of the game. All told, it was an impressive first performance for the Jeffs.

"I really think [Sunday's] game was the best thing that happened to us," said Bowe. "We got scored on, so we know how that feels, and we put away three goals, so we now know how that feels as well. That was the best Colby team we've seen since I've been here."

The Jeffs had an entire day to enjoy the season-opening win, before they traveled east to Cambridge last night to take on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a game that ended too late for this edition.

On Saturday, the squad will head to Maine, for their first-ever game against the Bates College Bobcats, gearing up for their showdown next Tuesday at Springfield College, when they square off against the Pride.

Springfield was also a Final Four team last year, and handed the Jeffs one of their three losses, a dramatic penalty-stroke heartbreaker in Amherst on September 22. All three of these games will be on turf, a circumstance that Bowe thinks is an advantage for the team.

"We can't wait to get back on turf after [playing on it at] NCAA's last year," she said. "We have some players who prefer turf over grass, and I think it will be a great opportunity to let those players shine and to gain some experience as a team."

Issue 02, Submitted 2000-09-13 15:57:22