2007 Season Preview
The Amherst College men’s soccer team had a very successful 2006 campaign, in which it finished with a 12-3-2 overall record and a 6-1-1 NESCAC mark, earning the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC Championship Tournament and an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Amherst kicked off the season red hot, winning the first seven games of the year, and, after their only regular season loss at Bowdoin College, won four straight before tying Wesleyan University to end the regular season. In opening round of NESCAC playoff action, the Jeffs hosted No. 7 Tufts University and escaped in exciting fashion, winning 3-2 in penalty kicks after ending regulation in a 3-3 deadlock. In the semifinals, Amherst fell to No. 5 Middlebury College 1-0 at host Williams College, but still had a strong enough resume to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament and host the opening weekend of play. The Jeffs topped Westfield State College 3-1 on two goals by then-sophomore Jake Duker, only to fall in the next round to Western New England College, 1-0. Aside from dominating on the field, the Jeffs excelled in the classroom by leading the NESCAC with 10 Fall All-Academic honorees.
The Jeffs lose four distinguished student-athletes to graduation: Ian Lovett, Noah Isserman and co-captains Mike Wohl and Rob Madden. Wohl appeared in 62 games to total 29 goals (including eight game-winners) and nine assists. In 2006, he was named to the adidas/NSCAA All-America Second Team, adidas/NSCAA All-New England First Team, All-NESCAC First Team, D3kicks.com All-New England Third Team, and NESCAC All-Academic Team. Madden amassed eight goals and five assists in his career as a midfielder, and was named Second-Team All-NESCAC and NESCAC All-Academic last season. Lovett, also a midfielder, scored six goals and had four helpers in his career, and was also a part of the 2006 NESCAC All-Academic Team. Isserman, a forward, was a strong competitor on the pitch, and also in the classroom where he was a two-time All-Academic selection.Returning Players
Amherst returns a very solid foundation of players from the 2006 campaign, including eight starters from last season’s line-up. Leading the way for Amherst up front is Duker, the squad’s leading scorer from last season. The experienced striker racked up 23 points last year on nine goals and five assists. The Jeffs also return their top set-up men from last season in senior tri-captain Ryan O’Donnell and junior Nick Lynch, who combined for 15 assists and 21 total points last season. Lynch and O’Donnell will be joined in the midfield by senior tri-captain John Kneeland and sophomore Matt Lewis. Kneeland was a key to triggering the Amherst attack last season from the midfield, while Lewis looks to repeat on his NESCAC Rookie of the Year performance of 2006. Anchoring the Amherst defense in 2007 is senior tri-captain Taylor Downs. Along with being a key threat for Amherst in the air on set pieces, Downs was the first line of the Amherst defense last year until a broken jaw forced him out of the line-up. Downs is flanked by classmate William Warren and juniors Grayson Holland and Rory O’Connor. Returning in net is junior Jeff Grover, who boasts a career 0.71 goals-against average.
Backing up Duker at the forward position will be senior Joe Martinez and sophomore Rob Denious. The Jeffs are bolstered across the middle of the pitch by seniors Jon Pryor and Kevin Dolan, juniors Joe Addison and John Redmond, and sophomores Tom Moore, Javier Marin, and Ben Babbott. Helping shore up the defense for Amherst are seniors John Kelly and Tim Grose, and sophomores Mark Crane, Reid Wilson, and Chris Devine. Backing up Grover in goal will be senior Moe Zeidan and sophomore Ansel Orr.
Making their first appearances for the Lord Jeffs this fall will be a group of six first-years and a single transfer. Amherst welcomes cross-town transfer Mike Connolly from UMASS, who will line-up in the back for the Jeffs for his junior season. First-year head coach Justin Serpone also opens the doors to a talented group of first-years including Ryan Conti, Tyler Wilson, Chris Skayne, Ian Rothkopf and Christopher Linsmayer.
Amherst opens its fall slate with a three-game home stand starting Saturday Sept. 8, when the Jeffs host NESCAC rival Trinity College at 1 p.m. Amherst returns to the field the following day with a non-conference tilt against Eastern Connecticut State University, before a midweek game against Curry College under the lights on Gooding Field. The Jeffs will play a tough NESCAC schedule, finishing with archrival Williams on Oct. 27 in Williamstown, MA.