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Abby Ouimet '03
First-Team All-NESCAC and Regional All-American forward Abby Ouimet '03

Field Hockey Primed for Return to Prominence

August 8, 2002

2001 Recap
2001 was an outstanding season on many levels for the Amherst College field hockey team. In addition to a 13-4 record and a No. 11 ranking in the final STX/NFHCA Division III National Coaches Poll, Amherst advanced all the way to the title game of the NESCAC Championship Tournament, with an automatic berth in its third consecutive NCAA Tournament at stake. Although it fell just short with a season-ending 3-0 loss to archrival Williams College, coaches Carol Knerr and Chris Paradis' club was able to find a certain amount of satisfaction during its brief postseason run. For starters, Amherst avenged two of its three regular-season losses with NESCAC Tournament victories over Colby and Middlebury Colleges, and its 3-0 semifinal win at Middlebury was one of its best performances in recent memory. Meanwhile, Amherst's six seniors, who helped lead the college to the NCAA Championship game in 1999 and its third NCAA Tournament berth in 2000, strengthened their legacy as one of the most accomplished graduating classes in school history.

Key Losses
While a strong senior class bolstered the team in 2001, its departure leaves some sizeable shoes to fill this fall, beginning with All-NESCAC goaltender Beth Sensing a four-year starter and All-American midfielder Mairin Brady, who controlled the offense and guided the team's transition game. Amherst will also miss Regional All-American Marcy Busch and All-Academic standout Robin Ackerman at forward, as well as All-Academic honoree Anne Close and All-NESCAC selection Laurie Smith on defense.

Key Returnees
Fortunately, Amherst returns a significant offensive force in senior Abby Ouimet, a First-Team All-NESCAC and Regional All-American forward who finished third in the conference and paced the team in scoring with 28 points (12 goals and four assists) in 2001. Senior Jenna Obelsky is another experienced forward, adding five points on a goal and three assists as a junior, while junior midfielder Christine Ryan a returning starter was the team's third leading scorer with five goals and four assists. On defense, look for contributions from a trio of key seniors Katherine Ryan and co-captains Molly O'Connor and Carlyn Lamia, all of whom have started as defenders in the past. "We have many returning players who gained valuable experience behind a strong senior class," explained Knerr. "This year they'll have more of an opportunity to contribute." As such, junior defender Molly Jacobs, sophomore midfielders Tyler Kelly and Lauren Anderson and sophomore forward Erin Leydon will all see expanded roles as the season progresses, as will sophomores Emma Feinstein, Zoe Kiefer, Alicia Pichard and Rachel Tranter.

Amherst will play a challenging 14-game slate, highlighted by its season-opener at M.I.T. on Tuesday, September 10, followed by its home and NESCAC opener against Tufts University on Saturday, September 14. The 2002 schedule features five opponents ranked in the Top-20 in last year's final STX/NFHCA Division III National Coaches Poll Springfield, Bowdoin, Mt. Holyoke, Middlebury and Williams Colleges with the third installment of the NESCAC Postseason Championship Tournament set to kick off on Sunday, November 3.