#9 Amherst Downs #13 Bowdoin in NESCAC Quarterfinals

AMHERST, Mass. - Allie Horwitz '12 (Woodbridge, Conn.) netted four goals to lead Amherst to a 9-7 victory over fifth-seeded Bowdoin College in a NESCAC Quarterfinal game on Gooding Field.

With the win, the Jeffs (12-3, 7-3 NESCAC) improved to 15-11 all-time in conference championship play, while evening their mark against the Polar Bears (10-6, 6-4 NESCAC) to 2-2. Advancing to next weekend's league semifinal at Trinity College, Amherst will either face the host Bantams or Middlebury College.

Krista Zsitvay '14 (New Vernon, N.J) added three goals on four shots, while Alex Philie '14 (East Sandwich, Mass.) chipped in with a goal and an assist for an Amherst offense that held a 21-18 shot advantage.

Betsy Sachs '14 led the Bowdoin attack, scoring on all three of her attempts, while Carolyn Gorajek '13, Jordan Smith '22, Chelsea Albright '12 and Katie Herter '12 each got on the board.

As a team, the Jeffs finished with slight 18-17 edge in ground balls, while going 10 for 13 on their clears. Lamia Harik '12 (Rye Brook, N.Y.) made nine saves to record her 12th victory of the season, while junior counterpart Tara Connolly made five stops to drop to 10-5 on the year.

Hoping to get the home team off to a fast start, Horwitz dodged a Bowdoin defender at the top of the circle before firing a hard shot into the upper left corner to put Amherst on the board at 27:38. Looking to keep pace, Gorajek tied things up with a successful free-position attempt just 39 seconds later, but Horwitz struck again with under 23 to play in the first, connecting on a wrap around to the right of net, making it 2-1.

Trying to regain the momentum, Albright converted another Bowdoin free-position at 20:49 before consecutive Sachs scores just 11 seconds apart staked the Polar Bears to a 4-2 lead.

Wanting to stem the Bowdoin tide, Amherst pushed into the offensive zone over the next 10 minutes of action, hitting the post on a pair of O'Dea and Mills free-position attempts before Philie found a cutting Zsitvay to pare the Jeff deficit to one at 3:52. Just 23 seconds later, Zsitvay again beat Connolly to pull Amherst even before Philie buried her 19th goal of the season with a bouncing shot at 2:16 to give the Purple and White a 5-4 edge heading into the intermission.

Wasting little time getting on the board, the Polar Bears won possession of the second half restart, allowing Herter to quickly tie things up at 5-5 with a goal just 46 seconds into the frame. With both defenses settling in over the next 15 minutes of action and both Harik and Connolly making several crucial saves to preserve the deadlock, Horwitz finally broke the scoreless streak, again coming from behind the Bowdoin cage to help the Jeffs retake the lead.

Continuing to go on the offensive, Wyatt Davis '13 (Concord, Mass.) snuck a shot inside the right pipe at 9:24 to extend the Amherst lead to 7-5, before a Zsitvay free-position shot two minutes later pushed the Jeff margin to three.

Needing to kick-start a rally, Sachs answered with a tally just 49 seconds later before Gorajek had a chance to further trim the Polar Bear deficit with a free-position at 6:08, but Harik went to a knee, making a big save on a low shot to protect Amherst's two-goal cushion.

Controlling possession late in the period, Horwitz all but iced the Jeffs' quarterfinal win, eluding a pair of Bowdoin defenders before putting away her fourth score of the afternoon to increase the Amherst advantage to 9-6 with just 1:48 remaining in regulation.

2012-04-28



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