AMHERST, Mass. -- Buoyed by a pair of Chloe McKenzie first-half goals, 14th-ranked Amherst picked up a 3-0 shutout against archrival Williams to improve to 6-0-0 in NESCAC play.

Now 8-0-0 overall on the season, the Lord Jeffs are off to the best start in program history, having defeated the Ephs for just the second time in the last seven meetings, while taking a slim 16-15-7 edge in the all-time series.

Hoping to get off to a fast start, Amherst looked to play the ball forward early, generating the game’s first scoring opportunity on Mel Stier’s through-ball from the center midfield. Racing toward net, McKenzie beat a Williams defender and Eph goalkeeper Hannah Van Wetter to the pass at the top of the box, flicking it over the on-coming Wetter for the game’s first tally.

Looking to regain the momentum, Williams registered the contest’s next three shots, but the Amherst backline held steady, keeping the Ephs scoreless. Still ahead by a goal in the 24th minute, the Lord Jeffs won their second consecutive corner, threatening to extend the margin.

Ariana Twomey served the ensuing corner from the far flag into the box, finding senior co-captain Jill Kochanek who headed it toward net. Van Wetter made a pair of saves on the initial header and the first rebound, but could not control the latter, allowing McKenzie corral the loose ball and hammer it into the back of the net to extend the Lord Jeffs' lead to 2-0.

Trying to keep pace, the Ephs’ Nicole Stenquist and Sachi Siegelman tested the Amherst defense with several chances over the next eight minutes of action, but Amherst senior goalkeeper Allie Horwitz rose to the challenge recording three saves during that stretch to preserve the Lord Jeff advantage.

Continuing to pepper the Amherst net, Williams registered four more shots over the course of the frame, upping their first half shot total to 12, but Horwitz made two more stops while watching a pair of tries veer wide right as the Jeffs carried a 2-0 cushion into the intermission.

Wanting to set the tone early, the Ephs went on the offensive to start the second, creating the stanza’s first scoring chance on senior Brett Eisenhart’s shot at 48:23 that went just wide. Eisenhart again threatened to put Williams on the board less than 15 minutes later, lofting a dangerous cross from the left side across the face of the goal. Making a run toward the back post, Hana Tomozawa managed to get a foot on the volley, but the shot sailed just over the bar at 61:14.

Still searching for their first marker, the Ephs won their fourth corner of the day in the 74th minute. With Amherst unable to clear the corner from the far side, Williams sent the ball back into the box, finding an open Eisenhart, but an offside call negated what appeared to be the home team’s first score.

Outshooting Amherst 4-1 over the next 10 minutes, Williams caught a break when an Alison Magruder shot hit a Lord Jeff defender’s hand in the box with just 6:45 remaining on the clock. Looking to cut into the Amherst lead, Stenquist stepped up to take the penalty-kick, but rattled the shot off the post.

Sensing a chance to put the game away, Amherst responded to the momentum shift by breaking out of the defensive zone, creating a couple of scoring opportunities in the final minutes. After sending the ball off the cross bar at 84:08, Amanda Brisco made a nice run down the left side, one-timing a cross toward goal. Going to the ground to make the stop, Van Wetter could not control the low tracer, as it trickled into the path of Sarah Duffy who calmly buried her team leading eighth goal of the season into the roof of the Williams netting.

The Ephs finished with a decisive 26-14 shot advantage and a slim 4-3 edge in corners. Horwitz made a season-high 12 saves en route to her fifth shutout of the season, while Van Wetter made seven stops in the loss. The stingy Amherst defense, has now allowed just one goal through its first eight contests, the lowest total in program history.