No. 8 Amherst wins NCAA opener
Stier notches two goals to propel Lord Jeffs past Castleton State
AMHERST, Mass. -- Mel Stier scored a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes, as eighth-ranked Amherst earned a 3-1 win against visiting Castleton State in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA tournament on Saturday.
Improving to 18-0-0 overall and 21-7-3 all-time in NCAA tournament play, the Jeffs will face Misericordia in a second round matchup slated for Sunday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. ET on Hitchcock Field. With the loss, Castleton finished its season with a 17-5-0 record, falling to 0-3 in NCAA postseason play.
Hoping to get off to a fast start, Amherst registered the game’s first two shots on a Chloe McKenzie header and a low Stier attempt within the first five minutes. Continuing to push forward in the fifth minute, Emily Little brought the ball up the right side. Looking to the goal, the junior defender played a cross into the box, finding the feet of Stier who redirected the pass into the net at the 4:25 mark.
Minutes later, Duffy made another run down the near side before lifting a well placed cross toward the back post. Tracking down Duffy’s pass into the box, Stier again found herself in the right place at the right time, heading her second tally of the day into the left side of the Castleton goal in the 10th minute.
Controlling possession for much of the next 20 minutes, Amherst outshot Castleton 8-2, narrowly missing a couple chances to add to their lead. Getting the ball back past midfield after winning it in the defensive zone, Little sent the ball into the right corner in search of Stier with under 18 to play in the half. Quickly playing it back across the face of the goal, the first-year forward found a charging Little who put away the Jeffs’ third score at the 27:35 mark of the first half.
Registering a pair of early shots to open the second half, Amherst won a free-kick just above the 18-yard box nearly six minutes into the stanza. Hoping to notch the Jeffs’ fourth goal, junior Kathryn Nathan ripped a hard shot toward the upper left corner, but Castleton goalkeeper Ericka Davis got a hand on the try, punching the ball over the bar to keep the Spartans within three.
Again testing Davis in the 55th minute, Duffy ripped a low shot that forced the Spartan keeper to make a diving save near the left post. Dribbling past a pair of Castleton defenders on the right side, Little generated another Amherst scoring opportunity at 56:45 finding an open Nathan in the middle of the box, but Davis went to the ground, making a sprawling stop to keep an aggressive Jeff offense at bay.
Switching fields in the 58th minute, Castleton sophomore Kelsey Lenny played a ball to Courtney Chadburn on the left wing. Moving into the attacking third, the senior forward rifled a rising shot through the hands of Amherst goalkeeper Allie Horwitz at 57:38 to trim the Spartan deficit to two.
Castleton continued to apply pressure over the next 12 minutes, registering three shots during that span, but the Amherst defense stiffened down the stretch, not allowing a shot over the final 19:52 to secure the Jeffs’ 3-1 win.
Amherst finished with a decisive 29-8 shot advantage and a 10-3 edge in corners. Horwitz had two saves en route to her 18th win while Davis made 13 stops in the loss.