Jeffs end women’s lax season in NESCAC tourney semi-final

Women’s lacrosse ended its season with a 9-4 record overall and a 6-4 record in the NESCAC after falling to Amherst (12-2, 7-1 in the NESCAC) 17-8 in the NESCAC semifinals on Saturday at Middlebury.

With the toughest opponents stacked at the end of the regular-season, and then the NESCAC tournament, the Ephs suffered three of their four losses within their last week and a half. In the week preceding the NESCAC tournament, the Ephs fell to top seed Middlebury (14-0, 9-0) and then to Amherst, but began the NESCAC quarterfinals by avenging an early-season loss to Bates (7-7, 3-6).

The Ephs had hoped to overcome Amherst in the NESCAC semifinals and go on to beat Middlebury in the finals, which would have meant that no team would have had the pleasure of beating them twice in the season.

Instead, Amherst slammed the brakes on the Williams season as they trumped the Ephs 17-8. Williams never got the chance to take on Middlebury in the finals.

The game started out favorably for Williams, with Molly Jennings ’04 and Kate Leonard ’03 scoring the first two goals of the game. However, Amherst rebounded, scoring unanswered goals to close out the half 8-2.

“We were very disappointed with our play against Amherst,” said Chris Mason, head coach of women’s lacrosse. “So many of our players were off their game that it was hard to fix.”

In the second half, Williams allowed the tally to become 9-2 before scoring again. But the Jeffs’ Abby Ouimet went on to score four goals in a row, bringing the score to 13-3. Williams would only score five more goals in the game, though four unanswered goals for the Ephs would change the score from 16-4 to 16-8.

With only 46 seconds left in the game, Amherst added the final goal to bring about the 17-8 final score. “Amherst was perhaps playing their best,” said Mason. “Their offense was fluid, their defense was strong and their goalkeeper [Brooke Diamond] was fantastic!” Diamond, combined with relief goalkeeper Olivia D’Ambrosio, blocked 17 shots and allowed eight balls to get past her, good for an impressive 68 percent saving rate.

“It was of course not how we hoped to finish the season, but the team kept playing hard to the end,” said Mason.

“Some of what went wrong for us was Amherst’s pressure,” she added, “but some was also unforced errors on our part – for instance, not handling the ball like we are capable of doing, executing some bad shots, and not giving adequate support on offense or defense.”

In the game, co-captain Heather Black ’02 scored three times and Molly Jennings ’04 was close behind with two. Tori Scott ’04 added a goal and an assist and Leanne McManama ’03 and Leonard contributed one goal apiece, as did Amy Wicker ’05.

Mason noted the performances of a few defensive players in the game as well. “A couple of players stood out to me in the game,” she said. “Becca Kiselewich ’04 and Maura Commito ’04 had good games.”

Mason was also quick to laud the performances of co-captains Black and Molly Venter ’02. “Heather and Molly played well and were working hard right to the end, setting the example to follow,” she said. “They are exactly the type of captains I love to have – speaking up at practices, games and meetings, and working as hard as possible all season long. We will miss them terribly next year.”

“We were all sad to lose the game,” said Mason. “For some reason it goes that way sometimes, and you just have to move on. Unfortunately we have to wait until next year for our next game now.”

With 27 goals and 24 assists combining and 51 points overall, Black finishes the season as the team’s scoring leader. Kathryn Doherty ’02 was within ten points and had only two goals fewer than Black, racking up 42 points. Jennings, too, was a leader, with 25 goals – the same as Doherty – and 12 assists. Stef Noering ’03, the team’s leading scorer with 28 goals, ended with 36 points overall.

Both Jackson and Woods ended the season with a higher than 50 percent save rate – Jackson having saved 90 goals out of 169 shots for a 53.3 percent save rate, and Woods having saved 34 of 68 shots she encountered, a 51.5 percent rate.