THREE-PEAT! Amherst Wins NESCAC Title with 1-0 Win Over Williams
Contact: Mike O'Brien
AMHERST, Mass. – The second-ranked Amherst men’s soccer team won its third-straight NESCAC title on Saturday in a 1-0 win over Williams at Hitchcock Field.
The win marked the Jeffs (15-0-2) fourth NESCAC Championship (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013) while the Ephs (11-6) finished as runner-up for the second consecutive season.
Amherst was on the offensive early and had a great opportunity just four minutes into the game when Gab Wirz ’15 hit the crossbar off a header.
A couple minutes later, Mohammed Rashid ’16 of Williams made some nifty moves to get Amherst goalkeeper Thomas Bull ’16 out of net but his shot attempt was blocked by Justin Aoyoma ’17 who was standing near the post.
The Jeffs put together a great chance at the 42nd minute when Aoyoma showed off his footwork to get past Ephs defenders as he found Tommy Haskel ’16 in the middle of the field. Haskel sent a pass ahead to the left side of the box but Williams’ goalkeeper Peter Morrell ’14 came out of goal to grab the ball.
The Little Three rivals entered the break in a 0-0 tie with the Jeffs holding a 4-2 advantage in shots and 1-0 edge in corner kicks.
It didn’t take long for the Jeffs to get on the board in the second half. A free kick from Julien Aoyoma ’14 went directly to Morrell who punched it out. On his attempt to grab the ball, he came all the way out of the 18-yard box but Amherst beat him to it. With Morrell out of position, Greg Singer ’16 sent a shot towards net but was blocked by an Eph defender who was standing in front of the net. As the ball bounced in the air, Wirz sent a header to Max Fikke ’14 who jumped higher than the defender, tipping it in off another header between the posts to take a 1-0 lead at the 48th minute.
Williams put the pressure on offensively around the 65 minute mark. With his back to the net, Rashid dished it forward to Dan Lima ’14 who wound up and sent one high towards the goal but Bull jumped up to punch the ball away with one hand.
Several minutes later, the Ephs were on the attack again when Malcolm Moutenot ’14 sent a cross to Jonathan Westling ’16 to the right of the post but he missed the ball on what could have been a strong header attempt on net.
Amherst’s defense held strong and the Jeffs maintained possession in the final seconds of play to earn the win. They totaled 10 shots (two on goal) to the Ephs seven (one on goal). Williams held a 2-1 edge in corner kicks.
Bull and Morrell recorded one save each for their respective teams.
Amherst earned its eighth consecutive NCAA appearance while Williams waits to hear if they received an at-large bid in tomorrow’s selection show at 1 p.m.