Amherst Surrenders Late Goal in 1-1 Tie with RIC

Senior Jake Duker's 11th goal of the season gave Amherst a 1-0 lead early in the second half.
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s soccer team took a 1-0 lead over visiting Rhode Island College less than four minutes into the second half, but the Anchormen found the equalizer with 7:13 remaining in regulation and held on for the 1-1 tie at Gooding Field. Amherst moves to 8-3-2 on the season and increases its unbeaten streak to five games, while RIC moves to 10-4-4 and increases its unbeaten streak to six.

Each team managed only one shot on net in the first half, with Amherst holding a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks and a 4-2 edge in shots. First-year Lennard Kovacs (Wolfersdorf, Germany) made one save for the Jeffs, while fellow first-year Justin O’Connor stopped one shot for the Anchormen.

Senior Jake Duker (Newton, MA) broke the scoreless tie just 3:31 into the second half when classmate Nick Lynch (Kingston, Jamaica) played a beautiful cross from the right wing to find the head of Amherst’s leading goal scorer, marking Lynch’s seventh helper of the season.

Duker’s 11th goal of the season held up as the potential game-winner until RIC capitalized on a corner kick opportunity with only 7:13 remaining in regulation. The ball was sent into the box from junior Dan Rodrigues, with classmate Ryan Kelley rifling a shot past Kovacs to notch things up at 1-1. The Jeffs had their backs against the wall for the next seven minutes but lived to see overtime, with the Anchormen carrying momentum into the extra frame.

First-year Jae Heo (Changwon, South Korea) earned Amherst a corner kick in the first minute of overtime and the game seemed to be in the bag when Lynch found the head of sophomore Ian Rothkopf (Harvard, MA), but the ball sailed high over the net. The first 10 minutes of extra time were extremely competitive and evenly matched, but neither team could prevent the game from going to a second overtime.

In the 105th minute, senior Rory O’Connor (West Boylston, MA) stepped in front of a RIC player on a throw-in and carried the ball up the right wing before sending a great cross to the far post. Duker made a diving attempt and got a solid head on the ball, but it rocketed off the left post and ended what seemed to be a sure thing for the Jeffs.

The Anchormen had an even better scoring chance with only one minute remaining in the game when first-year Bruno Costa beat his defender and was left alone on a breakaway. Costa got off a solid shot but was denied by Kovacs, who saved the game by dropping to his left and knocking the ball away, allowing his defense to clear the ball and end the threat, with the teams finishing in a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

Amherst held a 16-12 advantage in shots and an 8-2 edge in corners, with Justin O’Connor making four saves and Kovacs stopping three shots. The Anchormen committed 11 fouls compared to Amherst’s 10 in what turned out to be a very physical and emotional game. Rory O’Connor and junior Matt Lewis (Wayland, MA) each put in a solid defensive effort on defense for the Jeffs.

The Lord Jeffs return to action Friday, Oct. 31 for their regular season finale at Trinity College. Game time is set for 3 p.m.