Osborn '01 Scores Four as Amherst Defeats Middlebury, 11-10
Jeffs earn measure of revenge against defending national champs;
Thaxton '01 brilliant in net as #3 Jeffs improve to 6-0

    GENEVA, N.Y. -- One week to the day after avenging one of their three losses from last season with a 20-8 win at Connecticut College, the Amherst College women's lacrosse team earned a measure of revenge for the other two, knocking off second-ranked and previously-unbeaten Middlebury College, the defending NCAA champions, with a thrilling--and rain-soaked--11-10 win at the Heron Draw Tournament at William Smith College.
    The Panthers, who had capped a perfect 1999 season with a 10-9 win over the Jeffs in the NCAA title game, opened the battle between two of the nation's top three teams just 22 seconds into the game, thanks to a blast from junior Betsy Wheeler (Wenham, MA). But the Jeffs, who had never trailed in a game this season prior to Saturday, charged right back. Senior Co-captain Rachel Bernstein (Maplewood, NJ) redirected a feed from junior Kristin Osborn (Morristown, NJ) past Middlebury sophomore Suzanne Caruso (Neshanic Station, NJ) to knot the game at one. Bernstein's fellow Co-captain, senior attacker Alie Stechenberg (Longmeadow, MA) gave the Jeffs the lead four minutes later, starting a barrage of back-and-forth scoring that would see the game tied at two and three before the Panthers opened up a 5-3 lead.
    The Panther offense, feeding off of Amherst turnovers throughout the first half for scoring chances, had difficulty getting into any kind of consistent offensive set, with stellar work from Amherst defenders Alison Kitay (Washington, DC) and Co-captain Kathleen Sanford (Chevy Chase, MD) breaking down Middlebury's possession attack. The defensive stands gave the Jeff offense time to regroup, and regroup the Jeffs did.
    Osborn netted her second goal of the half at the 11:31-mark off a Bernstein feed to close Amherst to within one, and First-year Erin Beaumont (Summit, NJ) tied the game at the 10:47 mark off a feed from Osborn. Stechenberg converted a free-position shot to put the Jeffs up 6-5, Beaumont scored again at the 6:37-mark off a feed from Sarah Scheessele (Pittsburgh, PA), and Scheessele converted a free-position shot three minutes later to put the Jeffs up 8-5. Senior Katherine Poulin (St. David's, PA) converted a free-position shot of her own to give the Jeffs a 9-5 lead with one minute left in the half.
    But the Panthers, who brought a 20-game winning streak into the affair, battled back, netting a goal just before the halftime buzzer to close to within three. With strong winds and a steadily-heavy downpour turning the field into something that resembled a mudpit, the second half would be as much a war of attrition for the two teams as it was a lacrosse game.
    Neither team was able to put together much in the way of offense throughout most of the second half, but the Panther offense rallied in the opening minutes of the period, cutting the Amherst to 9-8 on a pair of goals from senior Jess Martin (Barnard, VT). But the Jeff offense responded, going into a possession-oriented set that kept the Panthers from continuing their offensive run. Osborn scored off a Beaumont feed at the 18:55-mark to put the Jeffs back up by two, and the junior, who entered the game averaging four goals and one assist per outing, netted her fourth tally of the game at the 10:13-mark off a free-position shot to give the Jeffs an 11-8 lead.
    But Middlebury had one more rally in them, with sophomore Laurie Richmond (Wellesley, MA) scoring at 6:49 and 5:45 to close the Panthers to within one. Middlebury almost tied the game on four separate occasions, but Amherst junior Jess Thaxton (Wayland, MA), who made 10 saves in the first half, was equally dominant in the second half of the match, stopping six more Panther shots, including two late that preserved the Amherst lead. With a one-goal lead and four minutes remaining, the Jeffs settled into a possession set in the Panther third, holding onto the ball for most of the remaining time. Middlebury had one late chance, but an offensive foul gave the ball back to Amherst, and the Jeffs killed the clock to seal the 11-10 win.
    Osborn, who came into the game with a NESCAC-best 20 points, finished with four goals and two assists to bring her to 24 goals and seven assists for the season, and 93 goals for her career. Only three Amherst players have ever reached the 100-goal mark, and all three reached it as seniors. Stechenberg, who finished with two goals for the game, her 13th and 14th of the season, is only 16 away from the century mark. The win is the first against Middlebury for the senior class of Bernstein, Poulin, Sanford and Stechenberg, and the Jeffs will likely move up to Middlebury's number-two ranking in the nation with their sixth-straight win.
    Beaumont added an assist to her two-goal performance, and sophomore Robin Ackerman (Princeton, NJ) also got on the board with an assist, her fourth of the season. For Middlebury, sophomore Julia Bergofsky (Exeter, NH), rookie Char Glessner (Ipswich, MA), Martin and Richmond each scored two goals apiece, and Wheeler added a goal and an assist in the Middlebury loss. The Panthers (2-1) get little respite before facing another team out for revenge on Sunday, when they battle fourth-ranked host William Smith in the late game on Sunday. The Herons also advanced to the NCAA Final Four last year, and, like the Jeffs, saw their season end at the hands of the Panthers. In the first game on Saturday, William Smith smashed Denison University, 22-5, to improve to 6-0. The Jeffs face Denison (2-5) in the early game on Sunday, as they look to go 7-0 for the first time in school history.


Saurday, April 8, 2000
At William Smith College, Geneva, NY

  1 2 -- F
Amherst College (6-0) 9 2 -- 11
Middlebury College (2-1) 5 5 -- 10

Scoring:

Per. Team Time Scorer (#, Assist) Score (A-M)
1 M 29:38 Betsy Wheeler (14, unassisted) 0-1
1 A 29:02 Rachel Bernstein '00 (8, Kristin Osborn '01) 1-1
1 A 25:17 Alie Stechenberg '00 (13, unassisted) 2-1
1 M 24:07 Katie Perine (1, unassisted) 2-2
1 M 22:27 Char Glessner (10, Wheeler) 2-3
1 A 21:04 Osborn (21, Robin Ackerman '02) 3-3
1 M 19:11 Glessner (11, Jessa Martin) 3-4
1 M 18:24 Julia Bergofsky (6, unassisted) 3-5
1 A 11:31 Osborn (22, Bernstein) 4-5
1 A 10:47 Erin Beaumont '03 (12, Osborn) 5-5
1 A 8:42 Stechenberg (14, unassisted) 6-5
1 A 6:37 Beaumont (13, Sarah Scheessele '01) 7-5
1 A 3:23 Scheessele (11, unassisted) 8-5
1 A 1:09 Katherine Poulin '00 (9, unassisted) 9-5
1 M 0:08 Bergofsky (7, unassisted) 9-6
2 M 22:21 Martin (10, unassisted) 9-7
2 M 20:44 Martin (11, unassisted) 9-8
2 A 18:55 Osborn (23, Beaumont) 10-8
2 A 10:13 Osborn (24, unassisted) 11-8
2 M 6:49 Laurie Richmond (1, unassisted) 11-9
2 M 5:45 Richmond (2, unassisted) 11-10

CUMULATIVE SCORING:

GOALS:
(A) - Kristin Osborn 4, Erin Beaumont 2, Alie Stechenberg 2, Rachel Bernstein, Katherine Poulin, Sarah Scheessele;
(M) - Julia Bergofsky 2, Char Glessner 2, Jessa Martin 2, Laurie Richmond 2, Katie Perine, Betsy Wheeler;

ASSISTS:
(A) - Osborn 2, Robin Ackerman, Beaumont, Bernstein, Scheessele;
(M) - Martin, Wheeler;

SAVES:
(A) - Jess Thaxton '01 (60:00) 16;
(M) - Suzanne Caruso (60:00) n/a;

SHOTS:
(A) - N/A;
(M) - N/A;


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4/8/2000