Jake Duker's Goal Lifts Amherst to 1-0 Win Over St. Lawrence in NCAA Second Round

Duker NCAA
Senior Jake Duker scored perhaps the biggest goal of his career, lifting Amherst into the Round of 16 with a 1-0 win.
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s soccer team played host to Saint Lawrence University this afternoon in the Second Round of the 2008 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament at Hitchcock Field. Amherst scored in the second half and held off a comeback attempt to advance with a 1-0 win.

The Lord Jeffs advanced to today’s match after passing Western New England yesterday on penalty kicks after a scoreless match, while the Saints defeated M.I.T. in a come-from-behind 3-2 win.

Just 12 minutes into the game, Amherst had its first scoring chance on a corner kick by Nick Lynch (Kingston, Jamaica). Sophomore midfielder Ian Rothkopf (Harvard, MA) won a header at the far post, but pushed the ball wide of the Saints frame.

At the 30 minute mark of the first half, first-year goalie Lennard Kovacs (Wolfersdorf, Germany) denied a long range bid from St. Lawrence’s Dan Marvin with a diving save to his left. On the ensuing corner kick, Kovacs put a stop to the threat grabbing the cross.

Kovacs was called to action on a cross just a minute later, punching the ball out of the mouth of the goal. Saints winger Alex Soto put the rebound on frame, but an Amherst defender cleared the shot out of danger.

Amherst first-year Jae Heo (ChangWon, S. Korea) had the best chance of the half in the final minute before halftime. After a cleared ball, classmate Sam Kaplan (Brunswick, ME) served a ball over the Saints back line for Heo to take control of. Heo took one touch and blasted a volley destined for the back of the net, only to see a spectacular save from St. Lawrence’s Emilio Coletta push the ball wide left.

At the break, the statistics reflected the equal flow of the first half. Amherst held a slight 6-4 edge in shots, while St. Lawrence had a 6-4 advantage in corners.

Neither team had a significant scoring chance in the second half until the Heo had a bid from 30 yards denied by Coletta once again. On the ensuing corner kick Rothkopf pushed a pass from G.L. Genco (Hauppauge, NY) just inches wide of the Saints goal.

Amherst senior co-captain Jake Duker (Newton, MA) broke the scoreless tie in the 68th minute on a broken play in the St. Lawrence goal box. After Heo battled for a head ball, knocking it down to Duker, the Lord Jeff’s leading scorer pounced on the opportunity and placed a shot past Coletta into the side netting.

Heo nearly set up another Amherst score minutes later, playing a pass unselfishly across to sophomore Chris Skayne (Boxborough, MA) breaking in alone on the Saints net. Skayne placed his shot just wide after beating Coletta on the breakaway.

Just minutes after the Amherst goal, play got increasingly physical and each team picked up yellow cards for hard fouls. Saint Lawrence’s efforts produced a break down the left wing by Soto, but Kovacs was stellar once again making a save without producing a rebound.

Over the final five minutes, Amherst was able to push long balls over the top and run out the clock on St. Lawrence’s season. Kovacs and Coletta were each impressive and finished with four saves apiece.

With the win, Amherst advances to next weekend’s Round of 16 and will face the winner of Swarthmore and Dickinson. Amherst’s record stands at 13-3-3, while the Saints season ends with a 13-7-1 mark.