Heo, Noon Help Amherst Salvage Tie at Williams

Courtesy of Williams College

Spencer Noon '13 tied the game at 2-2 when he
put home a rebound after a missed penalty kick.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Goals by Jae Heo ’14 (Changwon, S. Korea) and Spencer Noon ’13 (Farmington, Conn.) were separated by only 49 seconds late in the second half, as the Amherst College men’s soccer team overcame a 2-0 deficit and salvaged a 2-2, double-overtime tie at Williams College’s Cole Field Sunday afternoon.

The Lord Jeffs move to 8-0-1 overall and 4-0-1 in the NESCAC, while the Ephs are now 3-1-2 in conference play and 4-2-2 overall. Sunday marked the second consecutive meeting in which Amherst and Williams ended in a draw, as the Jeffs are now 2-1-2 against their archrivals since 2007.

The Ephs nearly got on the board in the eighth minute when co-captain Nick Pugliese ’12 tested Amherst goalie Lenard Kovacs ’12 (Wolfersdorf, Germany) with a rocket from 30 yards out into the upper-right corner of the goal. Kovacs was up to the task, though, sliding to his left before diving up and punching the ball away.

Amherst, meanwhile, looked particularly threatening off of set pieces in the early going. After a Williams foul in the 21st minute, Heo’s free kick led to a header from Alejandro Sucre ’13 (Caracas, Venezuela), forcing Eph keeper Than Finan ’13 into a kick save on the line that went for a corner.

Williams broke the deadlock less than three minutes later. After the Jeffs were whistled for a foul in their defensive third in the 24th minute, Andres Burbank-Krump’s free kick led to a loose ball on the top left of the six. Peter Christman ’13 was there to take advantage, hammering the ball past Kovacs for his first goal of the year to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead at 23:09.

Amherst took control of possession immediately following the goal. The Lord Jeffs’ restarts continued to threaten the Ephs, as the home team committed seven fouls and earned a pair of yellow cards in the next 21 minutes. The fouls created several opportunities for the Jeffs, but Williams escaped unharmed and entered the break with a 1-0 advantage.

In the 59th minute, Eph first-year Zach Grady found himself open off of a counterattack on the right side of Kovacs’ penalty box. Grady beat the Amherst keeper with his strike, but Julien Aoyama ’14 (Narberth, Pa.) was there to clear the ball off the line.

Jae Heo '14 has scored in each of Amherst's past three games.

The Ephs bumped their lead to 2-0 when Pugliese received a ball in the center of midfield, beat a defender 25 yards from the goal and ripped a shot with his left foot toward the top left of Kovacs’ net. Kovacs made a diving effort but could not come up with the save, as the hosts held a 2-0 advantage with 24:06 to play.

Amherst upped the defensive intensity following Pugliese’s strike, as the Ephs didn’t record a single shot through the rest of the second half. The Jeffs increased their pressure and switched their offensive formation, which finally paid off in the 79th minute when Aoyama served the ball from 35 yards out on the right flank. Williams failed to clear the ball, allowing Casey McNamara ’13 (Montclair, N.J.) to gather it at the top of the box and serve it in to Heo. Finan came off his line but could not deny Heo, who smoothly played the ball into the corner of the Williams net to make it a 2-1 game with 11:40 on the clock.

It took Amherst only 49 seconds to find the equalizer. The Jeffs were awarded a penalty kick after Heo was pulled down in the box, and they elected to put the game in Noon’s hands. Finan came up with a big stop on Noon’s attempt, but the rebound bounced out to the middle of the box and the Amherst junior put it away to even the game at 2-2.

Amherst continued to press Williams after the second goal and almost won the game in the final second, as Heo had a shot from the top the Eph box that hit the post. The ball came back into play and to the feet of a Lord Jeff, but the visitors ran out of time and the horn sounded before they were able to put the rebound into the net.

Amherst held a 7-2 shot advantage in the two overtime periods, but neither team generated a substantial scoring chance. The Lord Jeffs out-shot the Ephs by a 24-13 margin on the day, with each goalkeeper making six saves in the draw.

Sunday marked the fourth time this season Heo and Noon have both scored for Amherst. Heo has recorded a goal in each of the team’s past three games, while Noon has scored in six of the past seven.

The Lord Jeffs will resume their four-game conference road trip when they travel to take on Trinity College Tuesday at 3 p.m.