No. 4 Amherst Rolls No. 5 Colby 3-0 in NESCACs

Lennard Kovacs had six saves for his second
straight shutout win in the Amherst net.

AMHERST, MA – The 4th-seeded Amherst College men’s soccer team opened up the 2010 NESCAC Championship this afternoon with a quarterfinal round matchup against No. 5 Colby College. The Lord Jeffs scored a trio of goals, rolling past Colby College 3-0 and into next weekend’s semifinals at Bowdoin College.

With the result, Amherst (11-1-3) will take on Middlebury College next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Bowdoin for a spot in the 2010 NESCAC title game. In the first semifinal, Wesleyan will face the host Polar Bears at 11 a.m. The championship game is set for Sunday at 12 p.m. The loss drops Colby to 7-7-1 for the year and ends the Mules season.

Amherst nearly jumped out to a very early lead in the second minute of play when a ball fell to sophomore striker Spencer Noon (Farmington, CT) in the Colby box. Noon selected to shoot for power over placement though, pushing a hard left-footed shot over the left upper corner.

The Lord Jeffs eventually took a 1-0 lead with 24:11 remaining in the first half, as James Mooney (Princeton, NJ) finished off a great opportunity in the Colby goal box. After a Thebe Tsatsimpe (Johannesburg, S. Africa) shot was blocked, Mooney turned from eight yards out and roofed a right-footed shot into the upper corner for the score.

Colby’s best scoring chance in the first third of the game came as Brandon Rivard (Manchester, NH) played a lofted ball over the Amherst defense for Nick Aubin (Simsbury, CT). Amherst goalie Lennard Kovacs (Wolfersdorf, Germany) came off his line and collided with Aubin, letting the ball drop in the box. Before the Colby forward could get a shot off, Sam Kaplan (Brunswick, ME) cleared the ball out of danger.

Early in the second half, the Colby offense put heavy pressure on Kovacs and the Amherst backline. In the 54th minute, Colby had a series of three quick shots from inside the six yard box, but Kovacs came up with two saves and the third was touched wide. Aubin and Rivard each were in on the play once again, picking up the two shots that Kovacs stopped, before Peter Williams (Litchfield, CT) put the rebound wide.

In the 60th minute, Amherst’s lead grew to 2-0 as the Jeffs scored despite protests by Colby for an offside call. Amherst senior midfielder Ian Rothkopf (Harvard, MA) and sophomore Alejandro Sucre (Caracas, Venezuela) both got in behind the Colby defense, and after Rothkopf beat goalie Ben Joslin (Chicago, IL), he played the ball across to a wide open Sucre for the score.  As the Mule defenders pleaded for an offside flag to be shown, it was ruled that Sucre was behind Rothkopf as the ball was played back to him.

With less than four minutes to play, Amherst added an insurance goal on a penalty kick by Noon. After drawing the foul in the Colby box, Noon stepped up to calmly beat Joslin for the spot kick.

Amherst held a 23-10 edge in shots, and had 13 corners to Colby’s three. Joslin took the loss, making nine saves in the effort, while Kovacs earned his second straight shutout with six saves.