AMHERST, Massachusetts -- Amherst athletics is again on a roll this fall as two teams claim regional bragging rights and three others make a strong play for No. 1 In their second week as the top teams in New England, men's soccer and women's tennis have yet to tarnish their seasons with 5-0-1 and 6-0 records, respectively. Meanwhile, the perennially strong squads of women's soccer, field hockey and football have been blowing by opponents and will be making plays for first place votes in the second half of the season.
Men's soccer is still enjoying the program's finest start since the NCAA season of 1993. Last week the Jeffs earned their first-ever top-ranking in the region, a place reinforced by the team's 1-0 victory over NESCAC foe Middlebury on Saturday. Matt Diggs (Seattle, WA) tallied the third goal of his junior season off a cross by senior co-captain Mike Sullivan (Andover, MA) for the game-winner over the Panthers, the first regular season victory over Middlebury in four years. Registering their fifth victory, the Jeff jump two places from last week's No. 7 ranking into the national top-5, the highest acknowledgement Amherst men's soccer has ever received from the NSCAA/Umbro. The Jeffs, featuring Co-Captain Tim Christian (Agawam, MA) next face the Trinity College Bantams tomorrow on Hitchcock Field at 4:00pm.
Women's tennis also maintains their standing as tops in New England, reinforced by the team's double-victory at the Rolex Championship this past weekend. Rookie Jamie Cohen (Rye, NY) claimed a piece of both crowns, downing second-seeded Kanta Murali of Smith College for the singles title and teaming up with fellow frosh Carolyn Pastel (Old Lyme, CT) for the doubles draw. Last fall, the Jeffs hosted and brought home the New England Championship with a flawless 9-0 record. The Jeffs will host Wesleyan in their first Little III matchup of the season tomorrow at 3:30pm on the lower tennis courts.
Women's soccer has also enjoyed a strong comeback since an early season loss. The Jeffs have won their last six straight as they strive for the No. 3 national rank with which they began the season. The squad has rebounded back into the second-best team in the Metro region and lucky 13 in the country. Longmeadow natives Kerry Weeks and Beth Leonard, along with a strong contingent of Newton players (seniors Erika Johnson and Laura Kochansky along with juniors Becca Epstein and Eliza Meade) look to power women's soccer to another victory on Thursday at 4:00pm on Hitchcock Field against the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, formerly North Adams State.
Field hockey jumped out to the program's best-ever start with a seven-game win streak to open the season before falling to Middlebury on Saturday and gaining a mysterious 5th seeding in New England. The Jeffs are next in action on Thursday down Route 9 at Smith College for a 7:00pm meeting.
Football currently boasts a 3-0 record as one of three undefeated NESCAC squads along with, curiously enough, Little III rivals Wesleyan and Williams. ECAC polling places the trio among the ten-best in New England, as Williams leads the pack with a No. 3 ranking, Amherst at No. 4 and Wesleyan claiming sixth. The Jeffs will travel to Waterville, Maine on Saturday for a matchup with the White Mules of Colby College at 1:30pm.
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