Amherst College Defense Stymies Jumbo Women's Lacrosse In 12-4 NESCAC Victory

Senior Sterling Champion had two goals, five caused turnovers and three groundballs for Tufts

AMHERST – The Amherst College women's lacrosse team picked a great time to hold "Senior Day," as the Class of 2012 led the 11th-ranked Lord Jeffs to a pivotal 12-4 win over 13th-ranked Tufts University Saturday afternoon at Gooding Field.

Tufts (7-4, 3-4 NESCAC) held a 22-16 advantage in shots and the teams were even in most statistical categories, but Amherst (8-3, 5-3 NESCAC) held the Jumbos scoreless for the first 34:30 and built an insurmountable lead to remain tied for fourth in the conference standings.

Senior Lamia Harik made 13 saves and held Tufts to a 1 for 6 performance on free-position attempts (FPS), while the Lord Jeffs converted five of their six FPS chances. Junior Marta Randall and sophomore Krista Zsitvay each scored three times for Amherst, with Sterling Champion (Lighthouse Point, FL) recording a pair of goals for the visitors.

Amherst carried a 5-0 lead into halftime despite attempting only six shots, as four of their goals came on free-position attempts. Zsitvay and Randall scored within 1:03 of each other to give the Jeffs a quick 2-0 lead, and Tufts would be forced into a time-out after sophomore Hillary Densen assisted Zsitvay with 17:06 to go.

Tufts had prime scoring chances in the early going but could not find a solution for Harik, who had already recorded five saves before Randall bumped Amherst's lead to 4-0 with a free-position goal at 5:16. The hosts added a fifth goal on their final push of the half, as sophomore Alex Philie converted yet another FPS with only 12 seconds on the clock.

Junior Wyatt Davis needed less than a minute to score Amherst's first goal of the second half, and Zsitvay brought the score to 7-0 just 49 seconds later at 28:12. Tufts finally got on the board when Gabby Horner (Allentown, NJ) carried the ball in from the right and beat Harik for her 15th goal of the season at 25:30.

Randall and sophomore Annelies O'Dea each scored to make it a 9-1 game midway through the second half, and the teams would alternate goals the rest of the way en route to the 12-4 final. Champion scored two in a row for the Jumbos, while Emily Pillemer (Arlington, MA) notched her 11th of the year with 39 seconds to play.

First-year Priscilla Tyler picked up her first collegiate point with 57.7 seconds remaining on a great feed from senior Allie Horwitz. Senior Meaghan Tigh followed with the first point of her career, as she closed the scoring with an unassisted goal in the waning moments.

Tigh and classmates Claire Bennett and Meredith La Rose spearheaded Amherst's outstanding defensive effort, as the three seniors combined for eight ground balls and seven caused turnovers. The three defenders joined Horwitz and Harik in a pre-game ceremony as part of "Senior Day," with the Class of 2012 improving to 34-22 as a group.

Champion caused a game-high five turnovers and picked up three ground balls in addition to her pair of goals, with Emily Wright (Richmond, VA) adding three grounders of her own. The Jumbos forced 19 turnovers on the day, as Pillemer and Katie Lotz (Montclair, NJ) finished with three apiece.

Both teams will return to action Tuesday, with the Lord Jeffs traveling to take on Skidmore College in a non-conference game. Tufts will continue its NESCAC schedule by hosting Bates College. The 5 pm start will be preceded by the Jumbos' Seniors Day festivities.

Game box score