Cherney's Late Heroics Lift No. 9 Men's Lacrosse Past No. 13 Trinity
Contact: Ben Badua
Cole Cherney '12 netted two goals in the final 3:38 to propel Amherst to its 13th-straight win and the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC Championship
AMHERST, MA – Amherst College junior attackman Cole Cherney (Chappaqua, NY) netted two goals in the final 3:38 to break a 6-6 deadlock, as the ninth-ranked men's lacrosse team defeated 13th-ranked Trinity, 8-6, Friday afternoon on Gooding Field.
With the victory, the Lord Jeffs (13-1/8-1 NESCAC) set a program record in wins with 13, while securing the No. 2 seed – the squad’s highest ever – in the upcoming league championship. The Bantams, who entered the game with hopes of unseating the upstart Jeffs, dropped to 6-3 in conference play and 11-3 overall with the loss. Amherst will play host to seventh-seeded Bowdoin College in a quarterfinal match-up on Sunday, May 1.
After winning the opening face-off, the Lord Jeffs controlled possession for much of the first five minutes of action, firing the game’s first three shots, but Trinity junior goalkeeper Peter Johnson made a pair of saves during that span to keep things scoreless.
Looking to turn it around, the Bantams quickly capitalized on an early opportunity, as sophomore midfielder Nick Shaheen one-timed Trinity’s first chance of the day into the back of the Lord Jeffs’ goal to open scoring at 10:52.
Nearly seven and a half scoreless minutes later, Amherst’s Alex Fox (Garden City, NY) recorded the Purple and White’s first tally of the afternoon, but with time winding down, Trinity senior Greg Brennan took a Jeff Hebert pass and fired a low shot into the Amherst net to break the deadlock with just over 20 seconds left in the first.
Trying to jumpstart the Lord Jeff attack, first-years Nizam Ghani (Washington, DC) and Devin Acton (Sudbury, MA) combined on a quick second-quarter score, with Acton putting a well placed shot just over Johnson’s right shoulder to once again pull Amherst even.
Continuing to go on the offensive, Fox soon found Cherney in open space in front of the Trinity net, with Cherney quickly turning to fire the go-ahead goal at 6:31. Just 1:25 later, Fox notched his second unassisted tally to push the margin to 4-2, but a falling Alex Bertles soon responded, beating Amherst junior goalkeeper Sam Jakimo (Woodbury, NY) before hitting the turf to trim the Bantam deficit to one.
With just under three to go, Lord Jeff junior midfielder Will Reed (Riverside, CT) caught Johnson off guard with a long shot from the right side, sneaking in the squad’s fifth score as Amherst took a two-goal margin into the intermission.
The Bantams looked to cut into the lead coming out of the break, registering a pair of shots over the first several minutes of action before hitting the Amherst post at 13:22. Trinity sophomore attackman Rob Nogueras finally broke through just under the 12 and a half minute mark, but Fox quickly quelled the surging Bantam momentum, registering his third score of the game moments later.
Hoping to pull back within one, Trinity found an open Shaheen charging toward the Amherst goal, but Jakimo made a nice save to preserve the Jeffs’ two-point cushion, as the home team carried a 6-4 edge into the fourth period.
Still searching for a score with the clock closing in on 10 minutes, Bantam senior attack Greg Brennan got a good look from the right side, but Jakimo slid over just in time to cover the near post before tracking down the carom in the right corner to smother the Trinity threat.
Pushing forward, a persistent Brennan later caused a turnover in the Amherst zone, scooping up the ground ball before racing toward the Lord Jeff goal, putting away the squad’s fifth score at 6:07. Looking for the equalizer, Bantam sophomore midfielder Jeff Rautiola found classmate Steve Manning alone, as the Tyngsboro, MA native rifled a high shot into the Amherst netting, suddenly tying the game.
Needing an answer, an opportunistic Cherney soon made a heads-up play, picking off an errant Trinity pass before floating a long shot into an open Bantam net at the 3:38 mark to capitalize on the visitors' costly failed clear attempt and help Amherst regain the lead, 7-6. Cherney would strike again 1:29 later, turning a Fox helper into the team’s eighth goal, securing the Lord Jeffs’ victory.
Fox led Amherst with five points on three goals and two assists, while Cherney finished with a hat trick, scoring on all three of his shots. Reed and Acton each got on the board in the Lord Jeffs’ win.
Jakimo made 13 saves in net, collecting a team-high eight ground balls en route to his 13th-consecutive victory. Sophomores Arne Andersen (Phoenixville, PA) and Danny Gold (Medfield, MA) combined for 11 ground balls, while first-year Duncan Morrissey (Ridgefield, CT) went 12-for-17 from the ‘X’.
Brennan paced the Trinity attack with a pair of scores, while Nogueras, Shaheen, Manning and Bertles each put up a score. Johnson made eight saves in the loss, falling to 11-3 on the year, while Hebert and senior defenseman Theodore Bascom shared the team lead in ground balls with five apiece.
Amherst finished the game with a healthy 39-26 shot advantage and 41-34 edge in ground balls, while going 13-for-18 on clears and 19-for-24 on face-offs. Both teams finished 0-for-3 in man-up opportunities.
2011 NESCAC Men's Lacrosse Championship
Sunday, May 1 (All Games to Begin at 1 p.m.)
No. 8 Conn. College @ No. 1 Tufts
No. 7 Bowdoin @ No. 2 Amherst
No. 6 Colby @ No. 3 Middlebury
No. 5 Wesleyan @ No. 4 Trinity