Jeffs Fall to Panthers in NESCAC Championship Match, 1-0

The 2007 Lord Jeffs will likely receive an at-large bid to
the NCAA Tournament after taking the runner-up trophy
in the NESCAC Tournament.

AMHERST, MA – The top-seeded Amherst College men’s soccer team hosted No. 2 seed Middlebury College this afternoon on Gooding Field for the 2007 NESCAC Men’s Soccer Championship match. In a rematch of the top regular season game in the conference, the Panthers avenged a 3-1 loss with a 1-0 result for the title.

In the 16th minute, the first great scoring opportunity of the game presented itself in Amherst’s favor. First-year midfielder Ian Rothkopf (Harvard, MA) chipped a ball to junior forward Nick Lynch (Kingston, Jamaica) at the corner of the 18-yard box. Lynch brought the ball down with a crafty touch and hit a screaming shot low, just outside the far post for a goal kick.

Middlebury almost broke the scoreless tie with eight minutes remaining until halftime when junior defender Corey Moffat (Berkeley, CA) poked a loose ball on frame. The shot beat Amherst goaltender Jeff Grover (Framingham, MA) but not the frame, as it hit the far post before flying across the goal and off the near post for a Jeff defender to clear.

At halftime, Amherst held a 7-5 edge in shots, while each side had put just three shots on frame. For the second straight day, neither the Lord Jeffs nor the Panthers were able to put home a goal in the opening half. In the semifinal round, Amherst scored a pair of second half tallies, while Middlebury scored a single goal.

Middlebury looked fresh after halftime and had the first four shots of the second half. Despite playing a double overtime match just 24 hours earlier, the Panthers were seemingly unfazed by fatigue.

The Panthers struck first in the 60th minute when junior striker Casey Ftorek (Bedford, MA) knocked home his own rebound after an Amherst defender stopped his initial try on the goal line.

Trailing by a score, Amherst changed formations to push numbers forward into the Middlebury box. The Jeffs created a number of scoring chances with the offensive-minded lineup, but with 10 minutes showing in regulation, Middlebury still held the lead.

Amherst continued pressure, but was unable to find the equalizer. The Jeffs were held scoreless for the first time in 2007, while Middlebury went on to win its second NESCAC title in program history, and the first since 2000. With the result, Middlebury will receive the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament, while Amherst will likely get an at-large bid.