The 14th-ranked Amherst men’s lacrosse team picked up a pair of NESCAC wins this past week, including their first NESCAC quarterfinal win in nine years. On Wednesday, April 23, the Jeffs defeated Trinity 18-8, and they followed this performance with a 13-6 win against Bowdoin on Saturday, April 26, avenging their 17-15 regular season loss against the Polar Bears.
On Wednesday, Trinity came out hot, scoring the first two goals of the game, but seniors Devin Acton and Aaron Mathias responded quickly with three goals for the Jeffs.
After the first period, the game was tied at four all, but Amherst opened the floodgates in the second. Kane Haffey ’16 racked up a hat trick in the period, while a trio of seniors, Acton, Mathias and Patrick Moroney, all added a goal of their own to give Amherst a 10-6 lead entering halftime.
The Bantams scored the first goal of the second half, but Amherst once again went on big run, scoring seven goals in a row — a streak that ran into the fourth quarter. Trinity scored three goals in the fourth, and Mike Litner ’16 added another tally for the Jeffs, who finished the game off handily.
Haffey and Mathias each finished with five goals, and Acton recorded four of his own. Quinn Moroney ’16 had a game-high five assists and currently leads the nation in assists. Acton also had a notable achievement as he recorded the 200th point of his Jeff career, just the second Jeff to accomplish this feat in program history.
In goal, senior Greg Majno finished with six saves, and first-year Cody Tranbarger recorded one save at the end of the game.
With a win over the Bantams, Amherst secured home field advantage for the first round of the NESCAC tournament, where the third-seeded Jeffs would play sixth-seeded Bowdoin.
The Polar Bears got on the board first, but Amherst rattled off four straight goals to take control of the game. In the second, Bowdoin scored once more, but Dylan Park ’16 and Mathias struck back with goals of their own to put their team up 6-2 at the half.
Conor O’Toole of Bowdoin scored two goals to try and close the gap for the Polar Bears, but the second half was taken over by the sophomores Q. Moroney and Haffey.
Haffey racked up five more goals to bring his total to a game-high six, while Q. Moroney recorded four more assists to bring his game total to seven. He also had three goals on the day for the first ten-point game of his career.
“Kane scored 11 goals in the two games, which is pretty special,” head coach Jon Thompson remarked. “His development as of late has been exponential. He now has 45 goals on the year, and somehow he goes under the radar, which just amazes me.”
“Quinn played like a first team All-American on Saturday versus Bowdoin,” Thompson continued. “10 Points in a single game is like hitting four home runs in game in baseball or scoring 50 points in a game in basketball. That just doesn’t happen, and Quinn has two games with 9 points this season and now a game with 10. He is just on another planet right now.”
Acton and Mathias accounted for the rest of the Jeff scoring in the game. The Jeffs high-octane offense was fueled by their 53-31 shot advantage over the Polar Bears, as well as a 45-30 advantage in ground balls. The Jeffs’ special teams continued its excellence, as their man-down unit allowed zero scores for the second straight game.
“The defense played the best game of the year versus Bowdoin. Each man on that side of the ball won his individual match-up — exactly what we needed to do in order to win,” Thompson continued.
The Jeffs will travel to top-seed Tufts next Saturday to play second-seeded Wesleyan at 3 p.m. The winner of this match-up will face the winner of the Tufts-Williams game on Sunday for the NESCAC Championship.
“Saturday versus Wesleyan is going to be a great game. They compete as hard as any team we have seen all year, and we will need to match their sheer competitive nature in order to win. They will have the revenge factor in their favor, but we’ll find our own motivating factor as the week progresses. Perhaps it could be the fact that Amherst men’s lacrosse has never won a NESCAC semifinal game? Time for another first if you ask me,” Thompson said.
The fifth-ranked Amherst women’s lacrosse team nearly made it through the regular season with a pristine record. However, in their last conference match-up this past Wednesday, Trinity handed the Jeffs their first loss of 2014. Amherst was quick to bounce back with a NESCAC quarterfinal win over Bowdoin on Saturday.
On April 23, the Bantams and Jeffs were neck-and-neck entering the second half, but Trinity would ultimately pull away to defeat Amherst 7-4, giving them the top-seed of the conference.
Thanks to a Rachel Passarelli ’16 pass, Mia Haughton ’16 got the Jeffs on the board early, but the Bantams retaliated and the score remained deadlocked at 1-1. At the close of the half, Alex Philie ’14 broke the stalemate off a Haughton assist.
To start the second half, the Bantams ramped up the scoring, putting away two tallies to garnish the 3-2 lead. Elizabeth Ludlow ’14 successfully converted a free position opportunity to tie the game up at three, but within the next six minutes, the Bantams doubled their score, amassing three more goals. Passarelli converted a free position shot to bring the Jeffs back within two, but Trinity converted a successful free position of their own to cap off the scoring at 7-4. The Bantams boasted an 18-13 shot advantage and a 14-11 edge in ground balls. Christy Forrest ’16 finished with seven saves in goal for the Jeffs.
“Trinity is a top team like us, and we didn’t put together our A game. We had too many turnovers and played tentative, which gave them momentum and more opportunities on attack. We are confident that if we get another chance at them it will be a different story,” head coach Chris Paradis commented. “The silver lining is that the pressure of being undefeated is off now, and losing gave us an opportunity to reboot and find that fire again.”
As the second-seed in the NESCAC tournament, the Jeffs took on the seventh seeded Bowdoin at home on April 26 in the NESCAC quarterfinals.
Just two minutes into the start of the half, Caroline Holliday ’14 put the Jeffs ahead with a wrap-around goal. After Bowdoin evened the score, Holliday ripped a shot to the inside post, but yet again, the Polar Bears tied the score. Just a minute later, the Jeffs pulled away with a 6-2 lead. Priscilla Tyler ’15 scored off a Ludlow feed, and Krista Zsitvay ’14 put away an additional two tallies before Passarelli closed off the half with one of her own.
Bowdoin hoped to regain the momentum after scoring the opening tally in the second half. However, the Jeffs retaliated with a goal from Haughton, a second tally from Tyler and three goals from Meghan Mills ’15. The Polar Bears managed to bury a couple more shots, but Amherst cruised to an 11-5 victory. The Jeffs outshot Bowdoin 27-8 and had a 14-5 advantage in ground balls.
Amherst will return to action next Saturday, May 3 for a NESCAC semifinal match-up against archrival and fourth-seeded Williams hosted at Trinity at 2:30 p.m. The winner will advance to play the victor of the Trinity-Colby game for a chance to bring home the NESCAC title on Sunday at noon.