WILLIAM SNAPE IV ’18
On Oct. 27, Women’s Soccer hosted the Amherst Lord Jeffs in their final regular season game of the year. With a 10-4 record entering the match, Trinity had already secured a spot in the New England Small College Athletic Conference playoffs. Still, the team entered the season with the mindset that they wanted to win every in-conference game, so emotions were running high.
In the past, Trinity has had success against Amherst, winning 1-0 and 2-1 in the 2013 season, and 1-0 again last year. However, this year Amherst boasts a No. 19 national ranking, and it was clear that this year’s game would not be an easy win by any stretch. This time the tables were turned, as the Lord Jeffs made up for their shortcomings against Trinity in the past years.
Amherst’s first goal did not take long to come, and in the eighth minute, the visitors were up 1-0 off a close shot from forward Andi Nicholson ’17 following a deflection off of a corner kick. They continued the offensive pressure, getting consecutive shots on cage, making life difficult for Trinity keeper Monici DiFiori ’16. Amherst’s second goal came in similar fashion just five minutes later after DiFiori punched away a corner, and Ashlyn Heller jumped on the loose ball and put it away to bring their lead to two. Emily Hester made it 3-0 with just 10 minutes to go in the half, and just like that Trinity found themselves down three goals at halftime.
However, the offense just could not find their stride that day and Amherst doubled their lead in the second half, and put Trinity away 6-0. Obviously, the loss is disappointing, but the girls had just four days to prepare for their playoff match against Bates and needed to have a short memory.
Once again Trinity had home field advantage, and thus a little bit of time to prepare for the afternoon game. Bates struck first early off an impressive long distance shot trickling outside of the box from freshman Sarah Gutch, following a cleared corner kick. This time, however, the lead stayed at one, and not for very long. Laura Nee ’17 was able to work a cross into the middle, and found Caroline McKenna ’19 on the other end, who one-touched it into the side netting. The team and their fans were electrified, and the cheers echoed off the walls of Seabury Hall.
In the 33rd minute of play it looked like Trinity was primed to take the lead, when the referee awarded a penalty shot after a sloppy challenge from a Bates defenseman in the box. Nicole Stauffer ’17 situated the ball on the penalty dot, but her shot just missed high. Thankfully, the miss would not prove to be haunting for Stauffer.
Just a few minutes later the Bantams were working the ball up the field once again, and as the team moved into the attacking third, it would be Nee grabbing her second assist of the game, this time finding the other first-year standout Taylor Kirchgessner ’19. Nee finessed her way along the end line and played the ball to Kirchgessner for a go-ahead goal to give Trinity the lead.
The rest of the game was just as tense, though the team shifted their focus slightly to the defensive side of the ball to preserve their lead; doing everything they could to turn away the Bates offense. Both teams continued to get shots off, but neither were able to convert any more of their chances. The defense held out, and Trinity got the 2-1 win in regulation.
The win is a huge testament to the women’s team’s mental toughness and teamwork to be able to come back after a 6-0 against Amherst and then hold their lead for over 30 minutes of play. The win propels them to the NESCAC Final Four where they will meet Bowdoin for the second time this season. Trinity beat Bowdoin 1-0 just a month ago. The game will be played on neutral turf at Williams College this Saturday Nov. 7.