Amherst Routs Keene State in NCAA Tournament Opener

AMHERST, Mass. Alex Philie '14 scored five goals to help seventh-ranked Amherst open its run in the NCAA Division III Championship with a 19-1 win over Keene State Wednesday evening on Gooding Field.

The game was tied at 1-1 six and a half minutes into the contest, but the final 18 goals would be scored by the Lord Jeffs (13-4). Philie recorded eight draw controls to go along with her five goals, while Hillary Densen '13 scored once and added four assists.

Amherst will continue its season on Saturday, May 12, against fourth-ranked The College of New Jersey (15-3) in the 16-team second round. The game will take place at State University of New York at Cortland and will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Keene State had its win streak snapped at five games and ended its season with a 15-4 record. The 15 wins mark a new program record for the Owls, who will begin the 2013 season as the defending Little East Conference champions.

Making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008, Amherst put an exclamation point on its return by holding a 34-6 advantage in shots and a 17-5 edge in draw controls. The Jeffs began the night with the fourth lowest goals-against average in Division III (6.61), which they lowered to 6.29 with another exceptional defensive performance.

Philie got Amherst going with the game's first goal 3:04 into the opening half, but the Owls responded when Caitlyn Corace fed Lauren Brown for the tying marker at 24:09. The Lord Jeffs took charge from there and scored three times in a span of less than three minutes, giving the hosts a 4-1 lead after the opening 10 minutes. Amherst closed out the half by scoring three goals in the last four minutes, with Densen pushing the lead to 8-1 in the final 30 seconds. The Jeffs moved the ball extremely well in the first 30 minutes, going 8 for 8 on clear attempts and picking up an assist on six of their eight goals.

The Jeffs added two more goals in the opening minute of the second half, with a free-position attempt from Krista Zsitvay '14 following an unassisted goal by Allie Horwitz '12. Amherst was in cruise control from there, finishing with an 18-2 shot advantage in the second period.

Erin Taylor made 10 saves for the Owls, who were 8 for 11 on clears and 0 for 2 on free-position attempts. Lamia Harik '12 stopped three of the four Keene State shots that were put on net, bumping her record to 13-4 and lowering her goals-against average to 6.22.

Marta Randall '13 scored three goals for her ninth hat trick of the season, while Horwitz, Elizabeth Ludlow '14 and Wyatt Davis '13 had two goals apiece. Wednesday was an outstanding day for the NESCAC, which outscored opponents by a combined 75-8. The College of New Jersey opened its tournament with a 14-5 win over Elizabethtown.


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