They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In 1995, Lady Jeff soccer learned to run alongside the soccer greats.
It came down to penalty kicks to end their season. The 1995 Lady Jeffs had fought hard and stayed tough through sixteen games, and in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament, they succumbed only in the shootout. With their best ever finish, Amherst had firmly established itself as one of the strongest women's soccer teams in New England.
For the second consecutive year, Amherst women's soccer earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. As the New England host site, the No. 3 seed continued their tradition of hard-nosed soccer. Allowing only eight goals all season, captain Cassie Abodeely '96 dove and pounced for a 92.9% save percentage. With 12 shutouts on the season, the Amherst backfield proved itself to be one of the strongest in New England.
The Richard Stockton shootout came just a day after an emotional re-match against Bowdoin, who had handed the Jeffs their only loss of the season. With a rocket to the upper left-hand corner of the net, Beth Leonard '97 exacted post-season revenge from the Polar Bears. Leonard was the team's point leader in 1995 with seven goals and five assists.
The regular season match-up against Bowdoin had been more grueling, yet less satisfying. Though the Jeffs had eluded the goalie first, the Polar Bears equalized late in the first half and again in the closing minutes of overtime to hand Amherst her only loss of the season.
But the Jeffs were not fazed by this blemish on their record. Regrouping for a next-day match against Colby, Amherst pushed themselves for 118:04 minutes before Rachel Thompson '96 sealed a 1-0 victory in overtime.
Proving they were not only talented but resilient, Lady Jeff soccer went on to shut out eight of their last ten opponents. Other than Richard Stockton, only Wesleyan could sneak past Abodeely and the defense. Winning their second straight Little III title, the Jeffs credit their one-game-at-a-time mentality for their success. Taking one step at a time, Amherst women's soccer maintained their perspective on the season without ever losing sight of the finish line.