Amherst Plays 5th-Ranked Wesleyan to Scoreless Tie

Senior Reid Wilson and the Amherst defense
held 5th-ranked Wesleyan to a scoreless draw.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s soccer team played host to NESCAC and Little Three archrival Wesleyan University this afternoon at Hitchcock Field in Amherst, Mass. The Lord Jeffs posted their sixth consecutive shutout against the 5th-ranked Cardinals to improve to 9-2-1 (5-2-1 NESCAC) on the year. With the result, Wesleyan remains undefeated at 9-0-4 (5-0-3).

Today’s tilt featured a pair of the stingiest defenses in the conference, with Wesleyan heading into today’s game having surrendered just five goals, and Amherst riding a five-game shutout streak. Wesleyan’s goals-against number stayed put with a ninth shutout of the season, while Amherst goalie Lennard Kovacs extended his active scoreless streak to 579:31 with today’s performance.

In the 10th minute of the game, Amherst had the first significant scoring chance on a cross from senior Chris Devine (Auburn, MA) to James Mooney (Princeton, NJ). Mooney controlled the service with one touch, and then hit a full volley shot over the crossbar.

In the 31st minute, Amherst nearly scored on a beautiful combination play between Ian Rothkopf (Harvard, MA) and first-year Spencer Noon (Farmington, CT). Noon’s left-footed shot went just wide of the right post as a diving Adam Purdy may have had the Wesleyan goal covered.

Neither team had a solid scoring chance until the 65th minute, when the Lord Jeffs turned up the pressure for a trio of opportunities in a three minute window. Noon started the spurt when he nearly beat Purdy to a ball that skipped through the Cardinal defense, before junior midfielder Chris Skayne (Boxborough, MA) just missed a set-up to rookie Casey McNamara (Montclair, NJ) in the box.

Amherst senior co-captain Matt Lewis (Wayland, MA) missed an open header off a free kick from the right side of the Wesleyan end in the 68th minute, in what looked like it would be the final chance for Amherst. The Lord Jeffs caught a break with less than two minutes to play in regulation, when a Cardinal defender was called for a foul just on the corner of the Wesleyan 18-yard box. Amherst’s service on the ensuing free kick was played into a dangerous area, but no one was able to find the end for a shot.

The two storied rivals played through a pair of intense overtimes without any real scoring threats from either side, and as the final whistle blew, the scoreboard was full of zeros. On the day, Amherst goalie Lennard Kovacs (Wolfersdorf, Germany) made just three saves for the shutout, while Purdy made six saves in net for Wesleyan.

The Lord Jeffs will play their third game in five days tomorrow when they play host to St. Joseph’s of Maine at 2:30 p.m. for senior day.