Amherst College's Rubii Ramen scored in the 43rd minute and the nationally ranked No. 16/17 Mammoths held on for a 1-0 victory over Hamilton College in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 NESCAC Women's Soccer Championship at Amherst's Hitchcock Field on Sunday afternoon.
Third-seeded Amherst (13-2-1 overall) will face second-seeded Middlebury College in the semifinals next Saturday hosted by the No. 1 seed and defending national champion Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
Hamilton (8-5-3) was the sixth seed in the championship for the second straight year and ranked eighth in the New England Region by the NCAA. The Continentals made back-to-back appearances in the conference championship for the first time since they made consecutive appearances in 2011 and 2012.
In a battle of the top two scorers in the NESCAC, it was Hamilton's Cat Gambino '21 that had the first opportunity of the contest. Gambino controlled the ball at the top of the box in the eighth minute and drilled a shot towards the lower-right corner but Amherst's Antonia Tammaro (six saves) made the diving save. Gambino ranks second in the conference with 11 goals and 25 points.
Amherst nearly broke the scoreless game in the 19th minute when a midfielder lofted a ball over the Continentals' defensive line for a breakaway attempt by the NESCAC's leading goal scorer. Taeman made it to the top of the box before Hamilton's Aidan Leahey '22 caught up to slow down the attack. Cassie Hayward '19 then joined the battle as the Hamilton duo knocked the ball away. Taeman also guides the conference with 26 points.
Taeman scored her 13th goal of the season with just 2:52 remaining in the first half. The Mammoths cleared the ball up the right sideline to Taeman. Taeman battled through the defenders for a shot attempt and clanged the ball off the back post and into the nylon.
The Continentals' two best chances in the second half came only five minutes apart. Kristin Hughes '20 lofted a corner kick to the penalty hash where Hayward knocked a one-timer on goal that was saved by Tammaro at 56:55. Hughes later sent in a cross from the right side to Gambino in the middle of the box in the 62nd minute. Gambino sent a floater towards the top of the goal and Tammaro just managed to get her fingertips on the ball as she fell into the net and the Mammoths cleared the ball away from the goal line.
Caity Smith '22 (eight saves) came up big in the 71st minute to keep Hamilton within one goal when Amherst's Natalie Landau blasted a free kick from 19 yards out towards the opposite upper-right corner and Smith's only option was to punch the ball over the crossbar.
Amherst had a 19-11 shot advantage and a 5-1 edge in corner kicks.