Jeffs Advance to NCAA Quarterfinals with 12-9 Win Over Middlebury
Amherst will take on unbeaten RIT Wednesday with a spot in the NCAA Final Four on the line.
Contact: Justin Long
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s lacrosse team got four points from Cole Cherney ’12 and a career-high 25 saves from Sam Jakimo ’12 during its 12-9 win over Middlebury College Saturday afternoon at Gooding Field in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship.
Amherst improves to 15-2 and will take on RIT (18-0) Wednesday in the national quarterfinals, while Middlebury (13-5) ends its season after being denied a fourth consecutive appearance in the quarterfinal round. The Panthers had won 25 consecutive games against the Lord Jeffs heading into the 2011 season, but Amherst came out on top in both meetings this year.
Middlebury held advantages in shots (59-39), ground balls (40-28) and face-offs (14-11) on Saturday, but Jakimo kept the Panthers at bay throughout the game. Beginning the day with a .643 save percentage, Jakimo moved his record to 15-1 after making at least five stops in each period.
Devin Acton ’14 and Cherney each scored three goals for Amherst, while Evan Redwood ’12 and Alex Fox ’12 had two apiece. The Panthers were led by three goals and an assist from John McGoldrick ’14, while Andrew Conner ’11 scored twice and added a helper. Ryan Deane ’11 made nine saves to end his season with a 13-5 record.
Middlebury jumped out to a 2-0 lead and held the Jeffs scoreless for the opening nine minutes. Tim Cahill ’12 got things going when he finished off a feed from Mike Giordano ’13 2:01 into the game, and Erich Pfeffer ’13 made it 2-0 with 7:34 to go in the first period.
Amherst got unassisted goals from Acton, Redwood and Cherney in the final six minutes of the period, as the Jeffs carried a 3-2 lead into the second quarter. Cherney’s go-ahead goal was particularly impressive, as he picked off a pass from Deane and quickly capitalized on the turnover with only 53 seconds on the clock.
The Panthers tied things up at 3-3 43 seconds into the second period on a quick transition goal, with McGoldrick finding Hild for the tying score. Amherst regained the lead 10 seconds later when Duncan Morrissey ’14 won a face-off and Brian McFeeley '12 found an open Parker Holcomb ’11, who beat Deane to bring the score to 4-3.
Acton pushed Amherst’s lead to 6-3 with a pair of goals in a span of less than two minutes, but McGoldrick answered by scoring twice in only 30 seconds at 9:53 and 9:23. After Redwood and Fox each scored to give the Jeffs an 8-5 edge, Middlebury’s Darric White ’14 came up with a big play when he forced a turnover at midfield and took the ball in himself, beating Jakimo to cut his team’s deficit to two goals 1:41 before halftime.
The pivotal third quarter belonged to the Lord Jeffs, who out-scored the Panthers by a 4-1 margin to carry a 12-7 lead into the final period. Cherney scored twice in the third, but it was Jeff Izzo ’13 who earned style points when he picked up a rebound after a Deane save and quickly shoveled the ball into the back of the net as he was still on the ground. Conner stopped a three-goal Amherst spurt when he ripped a laser just inside the post, but Fox scored with only 13.6 seconds left in the third to bring the score to 12-7.
An unassisted goal by Conner at 12:18 gave Middlebury some early momentum in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers would not get goal number nine until McGoldrick rifled a shot past Jakimo with 2:46 to play. That would be the Panthers’ final goal of the season, as they moved to 32-12 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.
Wednesday’s quarterfinal game will likely be played at RIT, as the Tigers began the week ranked No. 2 in the USILA Coaches Poll. Also moving on to the quarterfinals is Tufts, a 6-5 winner over Union on Saturday. A complete bracket is available here.