Jeffs Top Williams, 1-0, to Finish Atop NESCAC Standings

Junior Nick Lynch scored the game-winner at Williams this afternoon.
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Amherst College men’s soccer team picked up its 13th win of the season at NESCAC and Little Three archrival Williams College this afternoon to finish the regular season atop the conference standings with a 1-0 result. With the win, Amherst receives a bye in tomorrow’s NESCAC Tournament quarterfinal round, and will host the lowest remaining seed in next weekend’s semifinal round.

The two long-time rivals had not met since 2005, with last year’s regular season finale being canceled due to poor weather and field conditions. With the cancellation last year, Williams finished the regular season atop the conference standings and earned the right to host the final weekend of conference tournament play. This year’s weather was no different, but Cole Field held up the storm, and the two sides took to the pitch.

Both sides played well in the opening half, with Amherst controlling the run of play, but Williams creating the majority of the scoring chances. Williams held a 7-2 edge in shots in the first half, but came up scoreless. The Amherst defense would bend, but not break, as the Jeffs had surrendered just 0.77 goals-per-game this season heading into today’s game.

Amherst turned up the pressure in the second half, knowing that home field advantage was on the line for the NESCAC Tournament. Just ten minutes into the second frame, Amherst had a streak of high-pressured wing play from first-year Chris Skayne (Boxborough, MA) and sophomore Mark Crane (Cambridge, MA). The pair of underclassmen seemingly lifted their teammates with hard work and gutsy play.

Crane was rewarded for his hard work when in the 63rd minute he played a long ball from one corner to the other to a wide-open Nick Lynch (Kingston, Jamaica). Lynch took control of the ball, and with one swing of his foot ripped a hard shot past Williams keeper Andrew Graham for a 1-0 advantage.

The lone goal was all Amherst would need, as the Jeffs had a steady balance of maintained pressure and drop-back defending to close out the game and the regular season. With the win, Amherst improved to 13-1, while Williams fell to 9-4-1. Amherst receives a first round bye in the NESCAC Tournament and will host final weekend play next weekend, while the Ephs will play host to Trinity College tomorrow.