Amherst Holds on for 4-3 Win Over Springfield

Joe Addison
Joe Addison's first goal of the season gave Amherst a 2-1 lead over Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Amherst College men’s soccer team traveled south to face the Pride of Springfield College under the lights this evening at Brock-Affleck Field. The two sides played a very physical and tight match, with the Jeffs ultimately prevailing, 4-3.

The Jeffs jumped out of the gate just forty seconds into the game, when junior Nick Lynch (Kingston, Jamaica) hammered a hard shot low and to the Springfield keeper’s right post. Springfield’s BJ Sturdivant was up to the early challenge, and pushed the shot wide. Just four minutes later, Amherst was on the attack when Lynch played a cross into leading scorer Jake Duker (Newton, MA). Duker’s header beat Sturdivant, but could not escape the Pride crossbar.

Amherst controlled the run of play for the first third of the game, but the Pride would push back, ultimately sending Adrian Schippers through one-on-one with Amherst goalie Jeff Grover (Framingham, MA). Grover dove to his right to make the breakaway save to preserve the scoreless tie. Grover’s effort would only delay the inevitable, as Springfield found the net on the ensuing corner kick. Tony Distasio picked up the goal on a smart header, with the assist going to Jeremey Scheer.

The Springfield goal lit a fire in Amherst, who immediately responded with the type of effort first-year coach Justin Serpone demands out of the fifth-ranked Lord Jeffs. Just five minutes later, senior tri-captain Ryan O’Donnell (Belchertown, MA) scored on a breakaway through-ball from classmate and fellow captain John Kneeland (Holden, MA).

With just 2:05 showing on the clock before halftime, Amherst took its first lead of the game on junior Joe Addison’s (Midlothian, VA) first goal of the season. The assist came from Lynch, who played a beautiful cross that bended behind the last Pride defender for Addison to volley in off the fly.

The two sides battled equally for the first ten minutes of the second frame, with Springfield creating the first scoring opportunity. In the 59th minute, Distasio found the net for the second time in the game to tie the score at 2-2. Once again, the Springfield winger found the net on a header off a set piece.

Duker needed only a minute to hand the lead back to Amherst, as he scored his fourth goal of the season off a long-driven cross from Mark Crane (Cambridge, MA).

Grover made the save of the game, and perhaps of the season, in the 76th minute off a hard shot from Plourd. The Springfield midfielder took a pass back from the far side and hit a half-volley with the outside of his right foot to Grover’s left. The Amherst goalie made a full extension save to keep the lead for the Jeffs.

With just 7:23 remaining in the game, Amherst sophomore Reid Wilson (Portland, OR) drew a penalty kick in just his second minute on the pitch. Kneeland converted to give Amherst a two-goal cushion.

Springfield added what would end up as a meaningless goal with 4:13 remaining in regulation. Schippers picked up the score to increase his team-leading total to half-a-dozen.

The final handful of minutes was not without stress, but the Lord Jeffs closed out the game with the desired end result in the non-conference tilt.

With the result, Amherst improves to 6-0, while Springfield falls to 4-5. Amherst returns to action Saturday afternoon at home for a 3:30 p.m. match-up with Bowdoin College. The game also marks the dedication for Amherst’s new field turf surface, Gooding Field.