Senior Attack Set to Lead Amherst in 2013

AMHERST, Mass. Amherst will begin its 2013 season at home this weekend with a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against NESCAC rivals Colby and Bates. Ranked eighth in the first IWLCA poll of the spring, head coach Christine Paradis' squad returns an experienced and talented corps of attackers and midfielders while excitedly anticipating the contributions of an up-and-coming defensive unit.

2012 Season Recap
Amherst soared back into the regional and national spotlight in 2012, posting a 13-5 overall record and boasting the third-ranked defense in all of Division III as it held opponents to an average of just 6.44 goals per game. Amherst rode an early-season five-game win streak and a six-game run later in the spring to its top-10 ranking, notching huge wins over fifth-ranked Bowdoin, eventual national champion Trinity and archrival Williams, the latter coming in unforgettable fashion as the team overcame a two-goal deficit in the final 12 seconds of regulation before winning in double overtime.

After a second home win over Bowdoin in the NESCAC quarterfinals, Amherst suffered a narrow 7-6 setback to Middlebury in the conference semifinals, but the squad's impressive regular season was more than enough to earn it an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, the 10th appearance in program history. Amherst hosted Keene State in the first round and dominated, cruising to a 19-1 triumph and advancing to regionals at Cortland State. There, the team had the fourth-ranked College of New Jersey on the ropes, leading 7-4, but a late TCNJ rally ended Amherst's season in heartbreaking fashion, 8-7.

The offense will lead the way for Amherst in 2013, both on and off the field. Headlining an experienced attacking unit are senior tri-captains Wyatt Davis, Hillary Densen and Marta Randall, each of whom ranked among the team's top five scorers a year ago. While the trio is deeply motivated to avenge the TCNJ loss with a deeper NCAA run, they know it will take daily dedication to make it possible.

"They have a strong desire to excel," Paradis said. "They're committed, talented, hard-working, and focused on the little things, the process goals."

A first-team All-Region selection in 2012, Randall returns as the team's top finisher after tying for sixth in the NESCAC with 45 goals last season. Densen, meanwhile, was the unit's leading distributor, ranking seventh in the conference with 21 assists, while Davis emerged as a versatile force with 12 goals and 10 helpers.

Adding depth and talent to the senior trio up front will be junior Elizabeth Ludlow, the squad's fourth leading finisher with 20 goals last spring, as well as sophomores Sarah Spector and Priscilla Tyler. The team is also excited for the contributions of talented first-year attackers Elizabeth Paul and Devin O'Connor.

While Amherst's seniors shine on the attack, its junior class will anchor the midfield. Leading the unit is the team's most decorated returner, Alex Philie. A first-team All-NESCAC and All-Region pick and a second-team All-American, Philie dazzled as a sophomore in 2012, tallying 29 goals and 5 assists while leading the conference with 74 draw controls and tying for ninth with 25 caused turnovers.

Fellow juniors Krista Zsitvay and Caroline Holliday join Philie in the midfield after strong sophomore campaigns of their own. The versatile Zsitvay tallied 17 strikes and trailed only Philie with 20 draw controls as she earned the team's most-improved player award. Meanwhile, Holliday was dangerous on the attack, scoring 10 goals, and will help the unit overcome the loss of fellow junior Annelies O'Dea, who will be sidelined this spring while recovering from offseason ACL surgery.

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