AMHERST, MA -- In a matchup of rivals, Amherst (9-4, 5-4 NESCAC) defeated Williams (8-6, 3-6 NESCAC) Saturday at Amherst. Coming off of a win Wednesday against Hamilton, Williams kept the game close in the first half, but a series of runs by the Lord Jeffs in the second half ultimately put the game out of reach.
The Ephs did a great job of spreading the ball around on offense, with all seven goals coming from seven different players, and amassed an impressive 18 shots throughout the game. Emily Whicker, Rebecca McGovern, and Natalie Gill were the standout performers for Williams, each finishing the day with one goal and three shots. McGovern added an assist and Gill led the Ephs with five ground balls. Goalie Ali Piltch finished with four saves. But it was the offensive trio of Krista Zsitvay (4 goals), Alex Philie (4 goals, 2 assists), and Hillary Densen (4 goals, 6 assists) that kept Amherst out in front. A strong effort by Amherst goalie Christy Forrest (8 saves) also prevented Williams from gaining an offensive advantage.
Zsitvay opened up the scoring for Amherst, converting a Williams turnover into a goal 2:29 into the first half. Williams responded with a strong offensive possession, firing two shots on Forrest, but ultimately could not convert. Zsitvay's teammate Philie gave Amherst a 2-0 lead seven and a half minutes into the game. But Williams made the most of their second offensive possession, racking up three more shots on Forrest after controlling the ball in Amherst territory for three minutes. The breakthrough for Williams came on a shot by sophomore Rebecca Bell that got past Forrest and cut Amherst's lead in half with 19:17 left in the half. The two teams traded possession for the next five minutes, and a goal by Marta Randall put Amherst up 3-1 after fourteen minutes of play. But Williams was quick to respond, with Whicker scoring at 15:07 to bring the Ephs within one.
Amherst then began the first of three dominant offensive runs that decisively put them out in front. Philie, Zsitvay, and Randall each added their second goals within a three-minute span, but a draw control and quick goal by Gill kept Williams in the game with 6:56 remaining in the first half. Amherst would dominate possession for the rest of the half, scoring two more goals in the process. However, Williams ended the half on a strong note, with senior Sam Weinstein converting a free position shot on a man down possession with only 25 seconds remaining in the half.
The Lord Jeffs came out strong after the break, scoring two quick goals and netting a third after nearly ten minutes of back-and-forth play. Senior Elizabeth Ryan converted another free position shot for a goal 11:37 into the second half, but Amherst responded with another dominant offensive run. Over the next ten minutes, Amherst controlled possession and netted three more goals in the process and extended their lead to nine over the Ephs.
The two teams traded possessions over the remainder of the game, but goals by McGovern and Bridget Malicki were not enough to counter the strong second half from the Lord Jeffs. Williams finished the day with seven goals on eighteen shots and turned the ball over fourteen times. Amherst netted sixteen goals on twenty-three shots and finished with sixteen turnovers. The Ephs will look for a win next Wednesday as they close out the regular season at Middlebury.