NESCAC Semifinal: No. 4 Amherst 3, No. 1 Tufts 0

Amherst Women's Soccer

Courtesy of Amherst Athletics

MEDFORD, Mass. - The Amherst College women's soccer team will play for the NESCAC Championship after knocking off top-seeded Tufts University, 3-0, in the semifinals Saturday afternoon at Kraft Field.

With the win, No. 4-seeded Amherst improves to 13-3-1 and advances to the NESCAC Championship game while Tufts drops out of the conference title race with a 12-3-2 record. 

The Mammoths came out of the gates fast, generating four shots in just the first five minutes. In addition to those five shots, the Mammoths were awarded two corner kick opportunities but the Jumbo denied any scoring chance. 

Tufts was being tested early in the defensive end, and in the 20th minute of the first half, Isabel Stern '23 managed to get Amherst on the scoreboard first on a breakaway attempt after receiving a through ball from teammate Ruby Hastie. Freshman goalkeeper Hayley Bernstein was forced to come out of the net to play the one on one breakaway, but Stern fired the into the bottom right corner giving the Mammoths a 1-0 advantage.

The best opportunity for the Jumbos came in the 23rd minute after earning a free kick on a Mammoth defensive foul. Liz Reed, who leads the team in goals (9), drove the ball towards the net. After a battle for possession, Erica Sanders halted a shot from Lily Sykes to keep Amherst up 1-0. 

Just before halftime, Amherst doubled their lead when Jordan Bailey recorded her first career goal in purple and white off a corner kick that she was able to head home, putting Amherst up 2-0. 

At the half, the Mammoths held a 15-5 advantage in shots and an 8-5 edge in corner kicks. 

In the 59th minute, senior co-captain Izzy Moore produced a scoring chance to try and get the Jumbos within one. As Moore received a pass just outside of the goal area she found a lane towards the net, running past several Amherst defenders. Moore was able to find enough space to fire a shot on net, but it was eventually blocked by Sanders, who finished with four saves on the day. 

Notching her second goal on the 2019 tab and rounding out the scoring for the Mammoths on the day, Sloan Askins found the back of the net in the 66th minute to give Amherst the 3-0 lead. Natalie Landau, who marked her second assist, played a through-ball ahead to Askins who was one-on-one with Bernstein and pocketed the ball into the back of the net. 

Tufts would go on to generate several more scoring chances, but could not convert them into points, leaving the final score 3-0 Mammoths. Amherst outshot the Jumbos 20-10 on the game while producing nine corners to Tufts' six.

In between the pipes, Sanders clinched her eighth win and fourth shutout on the season while Bernstein (12-3-2) ended with six saves. 

Amherst will return to the conference championship game for the second time in four years, facing No. 2 seed Middlebury tomorrow, November 10th, at 1:00 PM. 

In their last clash, Amherst handed Middlebury (13-1-3) their only loss during a regular season matchup on October 20th. The Panthers 2-0 victory over Williams in the other NESCAC semifinal was their 12th shutout on the year. 

Last season, the Mammoths and Panthers met in the semifinals where they tied through regulation with Middlebury advancing on penalty kicks, and eventually winning the conference championship.