Jeffs Level Competition In Two Weekend Wins
By Brian Smith '12, Staff Writer
After two big wins against Bowdoin last weekend, the women’s hockey team looked to add a few more wins to their impressive season in Williamstown. As the second-ranked team in the country, the Jeffs had the chance to clinch the top seed in the upcoming NESCAC Championship, as well as move up in the national rankings. The Lord Jeffs took to the ice against the Williams College Ephs over the weekend, and in the process showed why they are a force to be reckoned with.

In Friday’s matchup, Amherst was pitted against one of the better goalies in NESCAC hockey in Williams’ Sarah Plunkett. Even with her .926 save percentage, the Jeffs were more than capable of securing the win. However, there were several events that took place in the game that were somewhat uncharacteristic of Amherst hockey. There were a total of 18 penalties in the game, seven for Amherst and 11 for Williams, and a total of 36 minutes served in the sin bin. In many cases, the penalties that occurred could have been avoided with better communication, as there were two instances where Amherst had too many players on the ice.

“There were a total of 18 penalties in Friday’s game, and they really ruined the flow of the game,” said sophomore defenseman Stephanie Clegg. “Our too many players on the ice penalties resulted from mental mistakes and miscommunications between the players on the bench and on the ice.”

Despite the penalties, the Jeffs were able to come out on top after scoring six goals off Plunkett, compared to the three goals that they gave up. Ten different players scored points for the Jeffs, including freshman standout Geneva Lloyd, who tallied two goals and an assist after being named NESCAC player of the week the previous weekend. Although the win sealed the top seed in the NESCAC Championship, the win was not a good example of Lord Jeff hockey, as it showed multiple weaknesses in giving up penalties and not playing tough defense.

Amherst was very quick to respond with a better performance on Saturday. In that game, the Jeffs were only given five penalties, which gave them significantly better opportunities to push their offensive game while still being able to get back on defense. This showed early on, as the Jeffs rushed out of the gates by scoring two goals in the first period, one from junior Cianna Wyshnytzky and the other from senior Molly Malloy. In the second period, Emily Vitale ’12, Clegg and Michelle McGann ’10 scored one goal apiece to give Amherst a 5-0 lead over the Ephs. This dominating lead was added on to in the third period, as McGann, Courtney Hanlon ’11 and Lloyd each scored a goal to give Amherst an 8-0 victory.

The win was big for the team, especially after Friday’s game. Freshman Megan Doyen, who scored a goal on Friday and contributed an assist on Saturday, went as far as saying that the game on Saturday was “one of the best games we’ve had, maybe even better than last week’s [5-0] game against Bowdoin.” The win on Saturday was certainly more convincing than the one on Friday, and it was also a very positive sign that the team is able to play to their fullest capabilities.

“We didn’t play a very good game on Friday night,” said head coach Jim Plumer. “We were pleased with the win, but it wasn’t a good game. Things were much better on Saturday, and we’ll look to keep playing like that.”

The past weekend was also a good showcase for the Lord Jeff goalies, as both Sinead Murphy ’12 and Caroline Hu ’11 picked up wins, with Hu picking up her Division III-leading sixth shutout.

Members of the team are very excited about the upcoming playoffs. But they are also aware of the upcoming challenges, looking to keep up their style of play in order to stay focused towards their goals.

“We’re excited that we’ve nearly accomplished one of our preseason goals by clinching first place and putting us in a great position to host NESCACs,” said Clegg. “Yet we can’t overlook Norwich, and must use that game to really prepare ourselves for NESCACs.”

According to Clegg, the team is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead, but they are ready to tackle them head on. “We’re also really excited about the postseason, but recognize the long road ahead of us. There have been a number of upsets in the NESCAC this season, so we can’t take anything for granted. However, we feel like if we maintain our focus and competitive drive we’ll be able to reach success.”

The second-ranked Lord Jeffs will be playing their final regular season game at home next Saturday, against Norwich State at 7:30 p.m. in Orr Rink. The NESCAC Quarterfinals will take place the following Saturday on Feb. 27.

Issue 15, Submitted 2010-02-24 15:28:39