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Liz Martin '04
Senior tri-captain Liz Martin scored a school-record 66 goals last season.

Women's Lacrosse Set to Defend NCAA Championship

February 3, 2004

2003 RECAP
The Amherst women’s lacrosse team finished with a record of 18-2 (8-1 NESCAC) in 2003, capping its season with the program’s first national championship and only the second NCAA Team Championship in school history. Amherst, ranked second nationally in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) preseason poll, began the season with five consecutive wins, including NESCAC victories over Colby, Bates and Trinity. Despite a 16-5 loss at top-ranked Middlebury College, the Jeffs rekindled their streak and earned seven straight victories to end the regular season. They capped the run with a 12-11 overtime win at NESCAC and Little Three archrival Williams College as senior tri-captain Abby Ouimet netted one of her five goals in the extra session for the victory. After a second-place finish in the NESCAC Tournament, the Jeffs received the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament and were sent to play at Gettysburg College. They summarily dismissed SUNY Cortland and host Gettysburg by a combined score of 32-14 in regional play, and went on to hold the second-ranked College of New Jersey (TCNJ) to a season-low 10 goals en route to a narrow 12-10 win in the national semifinals. Amherst advanced to face top-ranked, undefeated Middlebury in the NCAA Championship game and opened with a flourish as Ouimet fed junior Allison Aldrich and fellow junior Liz Martin for a pair of early scoring strikes and a 2-1 lead. Middlebury rebounded with four unanswered goals to pull ahead 5-2, but the stingy Amherst defense slowed the pace and held the Panthers scoreless for the next 12 minutes. Martin connected again off a feed from senior Laura Schifter, and the Jeffs trailed by just two goals, 5-3, at the break. Amherst opened the second half with a 3-1 run, using two goals and an assist from Aldrich to even the score at 6-6. After a pair of Middlebury tallies, the Amherst defense stepped up again, shutting down the Panther attack and leading the Jeffs on a 4-1 run. Martin gave Amherst the lead for good with her sixth goal of the game with 3:18 left in regulation. The Jeffs regained possession after the ensuing draw, thanks to a key interception by senior Erin Beaumont, and Ouimet sealed the deal with her 55th goal of the season as the final seconds ticked away. The win snapped Middlebury’s 51-game winning streak and was the Jeffs’ first win over the Panthers since an 11-10 overtime win on April 8, 2000.

The eight graduates of 2003 all played key roles in their national championship season. Highlighting the list of contributors were goaltender Brooke Diamond and attacker Abby Ouimet. Diamond, a tri-captain, was named the Division III Goaltender of the Year and was named Second-Team All-NESCAC after finishing fourth in the conference in save percentage (.564) and fifth in goals against average (8.94). Ouimet graduates as Amherst’s career leader in points (271) and assists (129). In her senior campaign, she led the NESCAC with 103 points and finished second in the conference with 46 assists - both school records. Laura Schifter and Erin Beaumont, both mainstays of the starting attack, each finished with 40 points in their final seasons. Midfielder Mary Kate Allen was the third leading scorer last season with 44 goals and seven assists. Tri-captain defender Annie Jamieson led the stout Amherst defense along with BriAnne Watkins and Molly O’Connor. All eight graduates were starters and their presence will be sorely missed both on and off the field.

Despite the holes left by the graduates of ’03, Amherst returns a core group to the field this spring. Senior tri-captain Liz Martin heads the list as the top returning scorer. She was a First-Team All-American and earned IWLCA and ECAC Division III First-Team All-New England honors. She also nabbed a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament team, and after leading the NESCAC and setting a school record with 66 goals, was named First-Team All-NESCAC as well. Returning starter Scotty Hanley, who was named to the All-Rookie Team, will join Martin on offense along with junior Ashley Harmeling. Senior tri-captain Allison Aldrich leads the offensive end of the midfield. She was the fourth leading scorer last season with 37 goals and five assists, including three goals and an assist in the NCAA Championship game. Junior Cate Smith and sophomore Catie Parker hope to increase their contribution in the midfield this spring. Senior tri-captain Jackie Sargent and sophomore Margaret Chute, both returning starters, hold down the defensive midfield. Sargent netted 20 goals last spring and was named Second-Team IWLCA All-New England. On the defensive end, former starter Christine Ryan returns after studying abroad last spring. Also vying for defensive minutes are juniors Jenna Swan-Gross and Rachel Tranter and sophomore Laura Brown. After two seasons behind All-American Brooke Diamond, junior Olivia D’Ambrosio looks to make a name for herself in net.

Amherst adds one of its largest rookie classes ever in 2004. First-years Alyssa Briody, Dana Kuper and Marjorie Yano will join the attack, and Kirsten Forsberg, Maggie Roth and Emery Sweeney hope to contribute on defense. Lauren Dudley, Catherine Goold, Rachel Lewis, Caroline Shannon, and Liz Wise will join the squad in the midfield.