Soccer Suffers Rare Regular Season League Loss
Issue   |   Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:39

Dating back to Saturday, Oct. 11, the men’s soccer team went 2-1 in its past three games and currently sports a 10-1-2 record overall (6-1-2 in the NESCAC).

The Jeffs picked up a key NESCAC victory on Oct. 11th at home against the Colby Mules.

Amherst’s first goal of the afternoon came in an exciting fashion, as junior striker Nico Pascual-Leone completed a bicycle kick upon receiving the ball in the box with his back facing the goal. After Pascual-Leone’s bicycle kick hit the cross bar, senior forward Jae Heo collected the rebound and put the ball in the back of the net to give the Jeffs a 1-0 lead.

With less than 15 minutes remaining in the first half, a corner kick from Heo set up Pascual-Leone perfectly, who finished nicely to put the Jeffs up 2-0.

The Mules would not go down in the first half without a fight, however, as the Mules responded with a long score from defender Dan Vogel. Colby’s goal originated from a pass following a free kick by midfielder Jon Stronach.

In the second half, the Jeffs would add to their lead, as Pascual-Leone doubled his scoring output on the day with a well-struck shot to the left side of the net following a deflected corner kick in the 53rd minute of action. Pascual-Leone’s second multi-goal performance of 2014 gave the junior forward a team-leading five goals on the season.
Overall in Amherst’s 3-1 win over Colby, the Jeffs had a sizable shot advantage (19-7) and a tremendous edge in corner kicks (9-1) against the Mules. Coincidentally, the Jeffs defeated the Mules by a 3-1 score last season in a road victory over Colby.
“We took care of business against Colby,” said junior striker Greg Singer. “The NESCAC is very good and it’s easy to lose your focus, but we stayed sharp throughout the game and got the result we needed.”

On the following Tuesday, the Jeffs were able to beat the Drew Rangers in an evening game on the road. In the 19th minute of action, Pascual-Leone delivered a pass to sophomore Chris Martin, who was able to put it past the keeper, giving the Jeffs a 1-0 lead. On the play, Martin picked up his fourth goal of the season, while Pascual-Leone tallied his fourth assist. With five goals (a team best) and four assists (tied for the team lead with Singer), Pascual-Leone leads the Jeffs with 14 overall points and is sixth overall in the NESCAC in this category.

During the first half of play, the Jeffs doubled Drew’s shots attempted (8-4).

Amherst’s defensive unit would hold the Rangers off the scoreboard for the duration of the game, while tight defense from Drew in the second half kept Amherst from adding to their lead. Ultimately, Amherst recorded a 1-0 win and its sixth shutout of the season. In the 1-0 win, goalkeeper Thomas Bull ’16 turned back three shots on goal.

In a competitive matchup against a strong NESCAC opponent this past Saturday, Amherst suffered a rare regular season and conference loss to the Wesleyan Cardinals in Middletown, Conn.

While both teams remained scoreless in the first half, and each team attempted five shots apiece in the opening period, the two sides would not be denied in the second half. The Cardinals struck just shy of 20 minutes into the second half, as Cardinals forward Matt Lynch ’15 scored his third goal of the year, following a pass from senior Omar Bravo, to put the Cardinals ahead.

Less than 10 minutes after Wesleyan took the 1-0 lead, the Jeffs were able to tie the score in the 73rd minute, as Singer scored his second goal of the season off an assist from Jae Heo.

While both teams attempted five first-half shots, the Jeffs held a sizable 10-3 shots edge in the second half of play. Following Singer’s goal, both teams remained scoreless until the end of regulation, sending the game into overtime for Amherst’s fourth overtime game of the season. Prior to the matchup against Wesleyan, the Jeffs had been 1-0-2 in overtime matches in 2014.

The Cardinals were able to send their home crowd fans happy and knock off the Jeffs as Wesleyan first-year forward Adam Cowie-Haskell picked up his fourth goal of 2014 about five minutes into the first period of overtime.

The game-winning score from Cowie-Haskell (who was named NESCAC Player of the Week) gave the Cardinals a 2-1 victory over the Jeffs. With the win, the Cardinals improved to 7-3-2 overall and 5-2-0 in the NESCAC, while Amherst suffered its first loss on the season and fell to 10-1-2 and 6-1-2 in the NESCAC.

In the end, the loss proved to be a rare event for the Jeffs, for Amherst’s last regular season loss came by a score of 3-2 against Connecticut College in late October of 2011, almost three full years ago.

Later on this week, the Jeffs will look to bounce back from the loss against Wesleyan and begin a new streak of dominance, as Amherst plays a road game against Mount St. Mary College (9-4-1 overall and 6-1 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference) at 7 p.m. on Friday night.

“The past two years I have been playing, we have never had the chance to prove ourselves after a loss,” Singer said. “Every time we’ve lost [the 2012 and 2013 National Quarterfinals games against Williams], we have had to wait nine months before we can get back on the field and fix what we did wrong. This time is different. We will work extremely hard at practice this week and prepare ourselves for Friday.”

Following this game against Mount St. Mary College, the Jeffs will have just one regular season game remaining on the schedule prior to NESCAC Tournament play, as they play Trinity in a 3:30 p.m. match up at home on Wednesday, Oct. 29.