Amherst Earns Hard-Fought 2-1 Win Over Bridgewater

Chris Devine '10 set up both Amherst goals to pick up his first two assists of the season.

AMHERST, MA – The second-ranked Amherst College men’s soccer team earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Bridgewater State College Wednesday evening under the lights of Gooding Field. The Lord Jeffs improve to 2-0 (1-0 NESCAC) on the season, while the Bears fall to 2-3 (0-0 MASCAC).

Amherst junior Ian Rothkopf (Harvard, MA) scored two goals in a span of 50 seconds in the opening half, with senior Chris Devine (Auburn, MA) recording the assist on each. Sophomore Chris Swindell (Milford, MA) scored Bridgewater’s lone goal in the 50th minute.

Sophomore Lennard Kovacs (Wolfersdorf, Germany) made a pair of saves to earn the win and improve to 2-0 on the year, with senior co-captain Ryan Seifert (Ludlow, MA) stopping four shots in the losing effort. Amherst out-shot the Bears by a 13-5 margin, with each team taking three corner kicks on the night.

The Jeffs put pressure on the Bears’ defense early. Just three minutes into the contest sophomore James Mooney (Princeton, NJ) played a ball ahead to junior forward Chris Linsmayer (Denver, CO), who was thrown into a footrace with Bridgewater keeper Ryan Seifert (Ludlow, MA). Linsmayer got to the ball first and tried to loft a shot over Seifert, but his attempt bounced off the crossbar.

Just two-and-a-half minutes later a Devine cross from the left wing hit the far post and bounced out toward sophomore Henry Rouse (Birmingham, AL), whose one-timer on the rebound went just wide of the goal.

Amherst finally got on the board when a throw-in from Devine made its way into the box, with Rothkopf flicking the ball into the net for the game’s first goal at the 22:54 mark. Less than one minute later the two Lord Jeffs connected once again, this time with Rothkopf heading in a Devine corner kick at 23:44.

The Bears put together solid runs of their own late in the first half. With nine minutes to play junior Mike White (Canton, MA) had possession just inside the 18 on the right side and ripped a waist-high shot to the far post, but Kovacs played the shot perfectly to make a diving stop. Bridgewater had another good chance on a corner kick attempt with 5:30 remaining in the half before senior co-captain Matt Daniels (South Easton, MA) sent a header into the side netting one minute later.

The hosts carried their 2-0 lead into halftime with a 9-2 advantage in shots and a 5-1 edge in shots on goal. It wouldn’t take long, however, for the Bears to cut their deficit in half as Swindell scored his second goal of the season. Swindell beat an Amherst defender and forced Kovacs to come off his line, giving himself plenty of time to send a chip past the Lord Jeff keeper and make it a 2-1 game with 40:37 remaining in regulation. It was the first goal the Jeffs had allowed on the season.

The next 25 minutes were physical—but clean—and evenly matched. Amherst began to regain control with 15 minutes left in the half, as only eight minutes separated two corner kicks and a pair of promising free kicks for the Lord Jeffs.

Bridgewater State made a strong push in the final four minutes of the game, with Daniels giving his team the best chance by ripping a shot from inside the 18, but his attempt from the left side was knocked away by Kovacs. On the ensuing corner kick, first-year Simao Mendes (Brockton, MA) sent a header over the net. The Bears’ last chance came on a free kick from 40 yards out with 15 seconds left on the clock, but they were unable to put a shot on goal.

Amherst dominated the stat sheet in the first half, but the visitors were out-shot only 4-3 in the second half. The Bears also played more physical in the second frame, holding a 6-4 advantage in fouls.

The Lord Jeffs return to action Saturday, Sept. 19 when they travel to take on Tufts University at 2:30 p.m.