Men’s Soccer Kicks Off Season with Big Pair of Wins
Issue   |   Wed, 09/14/2016 - 00:23
Photo Courtesy of Rob Mattson

The Amherst men’s soccer team started off its 2016 campaign this past Wednesday with a commanding 4-1 win at Rhode Island College. Weller Hlinomaz ’18 scored the purple and white’s first goal of the season less than four minutes into the game with a beautiful volley into the upper corner of the net. Just before the 30-minute mark, Bryce Ciambella ’17 rounded the keeper to double the Amherst lead.

This goal seemed to give the purple and white all the momentum, as they put another ball into the back of the net just over a minute later. Forest Sisk ’17 garnered the assist by way of a beautiful pass to Christopher Martin ’17, who scored with an emphatic one-time finish. The game stayed at the 3-0 score line well into the second half, until first-year Dane Lind scored a blistering shot from over 20 yards away.

At around the 80-minute mark, Rhode Island was able to get on the score sheet by way of a penalty kick following an Amherst foul in the box. Registering a win in the non-conference matchup, junior Lee Owen showed off his prowess in the net with four impressive saves.

For the team’s next matchup, the purple and white traveled to Brunswick, Maine to take on NESCAC rivals Bowdoin. The purple and white took control of the game early, as senior midfielder Andrew Orozco got a dangerous header on frame in the ninth minute. Amherst went on to outshoot the Polar Bears 13 to 2 in the first half as Luke Nguyen ’19, Bryce Ciambella ’17 and Chris Martin ’17 helped to create many quality opportunities for the purple and white. With Amherst unable to capitalize, the game remained scoreless come halftime.

Hungry for the goal that had eluded them in the first 45 minutes of play, the purple and white put immediate pressure on the Polar Bears at the start of the second half. The game winner came shortly after, in the 47th minute, when forward Hlinomaz got a piece of a loose ball in the Polar Bear’s 18-yard box.

Having also notched a goal in Amherst’s win over Rhode Island College on Wednesday, Hlinomaz continues to establish himself as an offensive threat for the purple and white. Amherst never let up, continuing to test the Bowdoin keeper throughout the second half. Forwards Kieran Bellew ’18 and Aidan Murray ’18 had some late chances, forcing Bowdoin’s Stevie Van Siclen to make crucial saves. In the end, Hlinomaz’s goal proved to be enough for Amherst to come away with a hard-fought victory.
The win marks junior goalkeeper Owen’s first collegiate shutout victory. Tallying five saves overall, Owen came up big for the purple and white in the 59th minute when a Bowdoin corner kick resulted in a dangerous opportunity for the Polar Bears.

These fives saves brought his season total to nine, an impressive figure considering the team has only played two games.
“[It was an] all around great team win, Sam Malnik ’18 said. “Everyone, from the bench to starters, put forth a top-notch effort.”
In recognition of his offensive efforts in the first two games of the season, Hlinomaz was awarded NESCAC player of the week accolades. So far this season, all four of his shots have been on target, and two have hit the back of the net.

The purple and white next take the field this Saturday Sept. 17 when they face off against conference rivals Middlebury on the road.