Senior Dana Kuper will help pace a high-powered attack for the top-ranked 2007 Lord Jeffs.
Top-Ranked Lord Jeffs Return Deep Line-up for 2007
By Alex Kantor
February 20, 2007
The 2006 Amherst College Women’s Lacrosse team continued its reign as one of the nation’s top programs, finishing in the top eight in the country at 14-4 overall and 7-2 against opponents in the perennial powerhouse NESCAC. Amherst, which played the second most competitive schedule among Division III teams, began the season with three straight wins before losing to NESCAC rival Bowdoin in a close game, 9-10. Amherst rebounded with an eight-game winning streak, which included wins over Little Three rivals Wesleyan, 6-3 and Williams, 12-6. After falling to top-ranked Middlebury College, 3-11 in the last game of the regular season, Amherst rebounded the next day with a big win over Wesleyan, 17-8 in the first round of the competitive NESCAC Tournament. This set up a rematch with the Polar Bears of Bowdoin in the semi-finals; where Amherst couldn’t find the win, losing a tough overtime game, 14-15. Fortunately, the team earned its sixth straight at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Drawing a challenging road to the final four, which included playing three games in a four-day span, Amherst rallied to win its first round game against regional opponent WNEC, 19-3, before traveling to play Rowan University. The team played a decisive game against Rowan, winning 14-9, which propelled them to the Elite Eight Round against the host institution, top-ranked Gettysburg. Unfortunately, despite gritty and gutsy play by every member of the team; Amherst fell short in their dream of returning to championship weekend, losing to a talented Gettysburg team, 8-4.
Amherst graduated a supremely talented and spirited class in defender Laura Brown, midfielder Margaret Chute, attacker Scotty Hanley, and midfielder Caitie Parker. The foursome posted an incredible 74-16 record in their careers that included four bids to the NCAA tournament, two visits to the national semifinals, and a victorious trip to the NCAA Division III title game in 2003. Their communication and leadership both on and off the field will be sorely missed. Laura Brown was a two-time Second Team All-NESCAC selection, who anchored the defense with her consistent communication and play. Margaret Chute was one of the quickest, most effective defensive midfielders to play in the program, and her never ending hustle, quick feet, and dynamic play will be hard to replace. Scotty Hanley was a great team leader on offense, producing 77 points over her four year tenure. She was the captain of the offense and had outstanding leadership qualities. Caitie Parker, an IWLCA and NESCAC All-Academic honoree, left her mark in the Amherst program as a steady and consistent midfielder who grabbed 59 ground balls and 52 draw controls over her four-year tenure.
Senior quad-captain Lauren Dudley will anchor a versatile Amherst midfield this season.
Tne of the major strengths of this year’s preseason top-ranked Amherst team is depth. The program returns a solid foundation of ten players who saw significant time last season, including a pair of experienced goaltenders. This year's senior class includes seven players from the 2004 group that made the NCAA Final Four. Senior attackers Alyssa Briody (Hopewell, NJ) and Dana Kuper (Denver, CO) lead a high-powered offense for Amherst; while Lauren Dudley (Butler, MD), Rachel Lewis (Denver, CO), and Liz Wise (Scarsdale, NY) will anchor the midfield unit. Returning seniors on a powerful defensive unit include the duo of Emery Sweeney (Darien, CT) and Maggie Roth (Berwyn, PA). Amherst also welcomes back a strong core of juniors who will look to move into dominant roles on the field. Head Coach Chris Paradis expects a rock solid goaltending effort from juniors Linda McEvoy (Rochester, NY) and Kathleen Boucher (Washington D.C.). After a stellar sophomore season, Maddie Hoeg (Shoreham, NY) looks to assume more leadership on attack this season. In addition, classmates Gretchen Deluke (Lewiston, NY) and Kristina Green (London, Eng) will each be looking to assume a larger role on the field this spring.
The squad sees the return of six second-year players from last season, each of whom brings something special to the table. Midfielder Mary Noonan (West Roxbury, MA) and Attacker Amy Craig (Denver, CO) proved themselves last season and are hungry to continue their dominance, while Caki Guinee (Owings Mills, MD) and Louise Stevenson (Dallas, TX) look to see minutes this spring and contribute to the depth of talent Paradis could use in games. Paradis also expects big things from sophomore defenders Catherine Calvert (Hopewell, NJ) and Caroline Gignoux (Butler, MD).
Amherst opens its door to six first-years this spring which will provide depth and talent across the field. They get a quartet of fresh faces from the state of New York including midfielders Yin He (Brooklyn, NY), Tyler Tory-Murphy (Sea Cliff, NY), Kathleen Scheld (Yorktown Heights, NY), and defender Natalie Singer (Slingerlands, NY). Also joining the squad are midfielders Hannah Walker (Greenwich, CT) and Christina Hopkins (Montclair, NJ).
The large number of capable underclasswomen, combined with the slew of experienced seniors, will allow Paradis to sub the midfield and attack in shifts, playing an up-tempo and fast break brand of lacrosse. The potentially high-scoring attack, paired with a rock-solid defense, should spell trouble for Amherst’s opposition. After falling short of making it back to the Final Four last season, this experienced squad will look to live up their top ranking and leave their mark on NCAA Division III lacrosse.