Men's Soccer Scores Consecutive NESCAC Wins To Stay Undefeated
Issue   |   Tue, 10/01/2013 - 23:44

After earning a pair of victories this past weekend, the Jeffs advanced to 7-0-1 overall (5-0-1 in the NESCAC) and extended their unbeaten streak to 28 games. On Saturday, Sept. 28, men’s soccer continued its winning ways by beating 23rd-ranked Tufts 2-0 in convincing fashion in front of the home crowd fans.

Early on in the game, Amherst was given a golden opportunity to jump ahead on a penalty kick. Forward Greg Singer ’16 took the penalty for Amherst but was unable to score after Tufts goalkeeper Scott Greenwood kept the ball in front of him.

Forward Nico Pascual-Leone ’16 then had a chance to score off the rebound from Greenwood’s stop but put it wide of the net. In the 34th minute of the game, the Jeffs finally took the lead. After an Amherst corner and a series of scoring chances directly in front of the Tufts’ goal, junior defender Gabriel Wirz put the ball in the back of the net for his second goal on the season. The Jeffs went into the halftime break against Tufts with a 1-0 lead, an 8-4 shot edge and a 4-2 advantage of corners.

About six minutes into the second half, first-year defender Justin Aoyama sprinted down the right side of the field and passed it to Singer, who fired the ball into the upper left-hand corner, giving Amherst a 2-0 lead that they would not relinquish. On the play, Singer scored his third goal of the season, matching his scoring total from all of last season, while Aoyama earned his first career assist for Amherst.

Overall, Tufts had 14 shots, only one of which was a shot on goal. Jumbos midfielder Jason Kayne had a whopping seven shots — a Tufts individual game record so far on the young season. Tufts’ one shot on goal came via the foot of midfielder Kento Nakumura, but goalkeeper Thomas Bull ’16 was there to save it for the Jeffs. As a credit to the strong play of Amherst’s stifling defensive unit, Bull turned in his fourth shutout of the season with the win against Tufts.

“We defended really well,” Coach Justin Serpone said of the match against Tufts. “Our game plan going in was to really pressure Tufts, and I thought that for 90 minutes, we did that. I don’t think we [had] defended great yet before this Saturday, and to be able to do that was fantastic.”

Following their victory over the Jumbos, Amherst boarded the bus for Lewiston, Maine in anticipation of a Sunday afternoon showdown against the Bates Bobcats.

The Jeffs came into the game with energy and aggressive attacking, pushing for a goal early. In the sixth minute of action, Pascual-Leone had a chance to score off a bicycle kick, but Bates goalie Joe Maffly-Kipp came up with the save. Ten minutes into the match, Pascual-Leone had already put three shots on goal.

Amherst grabbed the lead on a particularly rare feat in the 16th minute of play. On a free kick from the left side of the field just past the halfway line, Bull powerfully struck a ball towards Bates’ goal that miraculously sailed over the reach of Maffly-Kipp and into the top-right corner. Bull, who has appeared as the goalie for the Jeffs in every game of his career, gave Amherst a 1-0 lead with the first goal of his career.

The Jeffs doubled their lead with two minutes remaining in the first half, as first-year attacker Elliot Cassutt scored on a low shot to the left side, off a throw-in from defenseman Bubba Van Wie ’15.

Amherst held the momentum halfway through the match, as they carried a 2-0 lead and a 13-3 shot advantage over the Bobcats into halftime. Bates struck back in the second half with a little over 25 minutes left in the game. Off a pass to the far left side of the field by midfielder Aaron Nickelsberg, forward Peabo Knoth grounded it right of Bull to get the Bobcats on the board. It would not take long for the Jeffs to respond, however. Just eight minutes later, forward Chris Martin’s was blocked by Maffly-Kipp, but midfielder Andrew Orozco ’17 scored his second goal of the season off the rebound to put the Jeffs ahead 3-1, ending the Bobcat’s quest for a comeback in the process.

Amherst’s 3-1 victory against Bates included a 21-4 edge in shots and a 6-2 corner kick advantage. With their wins on consecutive days, the Jeffs were successful in their first back-to-back test this season, which Coach Serpone noted bodes well for the team going forward.

“We talk about winning on Sundays all the time, because once you get to the postseason, everything is Saturday and Sunday. Sunday games are interesting because everyone is tired and everyone just played [Saturday] so you have to be able to grind out wins,” Serpone said.

Amherst will next face Hamilton (2-2-2 overall and 1-1-2 in the NESCAC) on the road at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5.