Sucre, Heo Lead Amherst Past ECSU, 4-2

Contact: Justin Long

Jae Heo '14 scored two goals and added an assist against ECSU.

AMHERST, Mass. – Jae Heo ’14 and Federico Sucre ’13 each had a hand in three goals during the Amherst College men’s soccer team’s 4-2 win over Eastern Connecticut State University Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Division III Championship second round.

The Lord Jeffs (16-1-2) set a program record for wins in a season, surpassing the 15 victories earned by the 2007 and 2008 squads. They will take on Stevens Institute of Technology next Saturday in the Sectional semifinals.

Eastern Connecticut ends its season at 15-6-1 and will begin its 2012 campaign as defending champions of the Little East Conference.  

Heo nearly had a pair of early goals after receiving passes from Sucre, but his first attempt was high and his second went just wide. The Jeffs finally broke through at 6:12, but this time it was Heo who played a through-ball into the box for Sucre, who took two touches before calmly pushing a shot past goalkeeper Carl Appel ’12.

The Warriors drew even five minutes and 24 seconds later when Christopher Giustina ’14 threw the ball in to Carl Stensland ’13, who placed a solid strike into the corner of the goal to make it a 1-1 game with 33:25 still to play in the first half. Eastern nearly took the lead less than two minutes later, as Matt Furman ’13 headed a shot toward an open net only to have it roll wide left.

Federico Sucre '13 has recorded 10 points this postseason.

Amherst added two goals in the final 15 minutes of the half by capitalizing on the height advantage of Sucre, who won countless headers on throw-ins and set pieces throughout the game. Heo’s first goal made it a 2-1 game at 30:10, and Ben Norton ’14 pushed the hosts’ lead to 3-1 with 3:19 on the clock.

The Warriors’ best stretch of the game came in the first 10 minutes of the second period, but they had two great scoring opportunities thwarted by Amherst goalkeeper Lennard Kovacs ’12. Luke Capezzone ’14 made a great far-post run but had his header saved by the dive of Kovacs, with the ensuing two rebound attempts getting blocked by the Amherst defense. Shortly after, Cory Tobler ’13 dribbled himself free in the box and ripped a shot from straightaway, but Kovacs came up with a phenomenal diving stop to his left.

Midfielder Thebe Tsatsimpe ’12 put together a dominant five-minute stretch that nearly resulted in a pair of Amherst goals on crosses, but one-time attempts by Spencer Noon ’13 and Heo were punched over the goal by Appel and pushed just wide. Two minutes later Chris Lerner ’13 served the ball from the left wing to the far post and found Heo, whose header beat Appel to give the Jeffs a 4-1 advantage at 61:36.

The scoring came to a close four minutes later when Jon DeCasanova ’13 notched his team’s final goal of the season. During a good Eastern sequence that featured several shots, DeCasanova put home a rebound from five yards out after an attempt by Zach Kice ’14 was blocked by the Lord Jeff defense.

Eastern held a 10-6 shot advantage in the second half but could not cut into its two-goal deficit. Appel finished with four saves in the game, while Kovacs stopped three shots for his 52nd career victory. Sucre now has three goals and four assists this postseason