Stifling Defense Leaves Women’s Soccer Without a Loss
By Araba Taylor '13, Staff Writer
A busy week yielded favorable results as the women’s soccer team progressed through their fall schedule. After two games over a weekend stretch, the Jeffs were given little time to rest as they prepared for their match against Mt. Holyoke on Wednesday, Sept. 15th. The home match concluded in a shutout as the team scored three goals against the neighboring college at Hitchcock Field.

This match fell in line with a streak that the Jeffs hold against Mt. Holyoke, as Wednesday marked an 18-game winning streak for Amherst against the Lyons, in which the Jeffs have shut out the Lyons in 15 of those games.

The goals on that cold, windy night began in the first half when sophomore Hannah Cooper scored her first strike of the season, off a cross by fellow sophomore Sandy Shepard. The Jeffs imposed an unrelenting pressure on Mt. Holyoke, with 16 shots attempted in the opening half alone. Cooper scored the goal for her team within 60 seconds of being subbed onto the field. During the second half junior Jill Kochanek and senior Jackie Hirsch sealed the game with their goals, one of which was a result of an assist by first-year Kathryn Nathan.

The Mt. Holyoke goalie, Elaine Harvey, fared surprisingly well despite the onslaught of Amherst shots on goal. Harvey endured 34 shots and managed 12 saves during her time in the net.

Two days later the team was once again on the green, but this time against NESCAC rival Tufts. Once again maintaining a winning streak, albeit a sizably smaller one, the Lord Jeffs increased their consecutive triumphs over Tufts to three in a row.

The goals came fairly late in the game, but they did come. With just a minute of play remaining in the first half, the Jeffs got lucky after an assistant referee pointed out a handball in the box. Nathan scored easily put away the ensuing penalty kick.

The Jumbos attempted to close the gap about 20 minutes later, but the Jeffs lucked out once more after the ball bounced off the left post, and the Tufts player failed to put the goal away after that. With 17 minutes to go, Hirsch gave the Jeffs their eventual game-winner, as Tufts scored a meaningless goal in the waning moments.

The close game highlighted areas in need of improvement for the team.“I thought Tufts was a bit more physical than we were. One of our goals this year is to battle harder physically, so the Tufts game put into focus that we need to continue to improve in this area. We need to get better offensively,” said coach Jennifer Hughes. “We have a lot of great individual efforts, but we need to start working better as a team. We will focus on playing simple and combining in one or two touches.”

With the win, the Jeffs’ record improves to 3-0-1 for the year and 2-0-1 for conference games.

Their next game will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22nd against Springfield College. It offers the Lord Jeffs much-deserved rest and recuperation time after the matches came early and often in the beginning of their schedule. The game on Wednesday will be Amherst’s final night game of the season, with their prospects for shining bright glimmering after a successful start to their season.

“Our focus right now is to crush Springfield. After all, the greatest respect you can afford an opponent is by crushing them,” said Hughes.

Issue 03, Submitted 2010-09-22 03:40:56