Men’s Soccer Defeats Pine Manor, Ties Middlebury
Issue   |   Tue, 09/20/2016 - 23:26

The Amherst men’s soccer team traveled to Vermont on Saturday to take on NESCAC rival Middlebury. The purple and white went into the game with an underdog mentality, as the Panthers returned four all-NESCAC selections from the 2015 season.
Amherst seemed to be in trouble in the 21st minute, when Middlebury was awarded a penalty kick after the purple and white gave up a foul in the box. However, junior goalkeeper Lee Owen came up with a big save that kept the game scoreless.
Feeding off of Owen’s energy, Amherst responded with a goal in the 33rd minute. Kieran Bellew ’18 lofted a ball to Andrew Orozco ’17, who headed the ball decisively into the back of the net.

However, Amherst’s lead was short lived, as Middlebury got the equalizer a mere four minutes later, when Greg Conrad managed to put one past Owen.

Both teams looked dangerous throughout the second half, but neither was able to capitalize. Chris Martin ’17 had a quality chance on a breakaway 10 minutes after the restart, but the Panthers’ keeper did well to get a hand on the shot.
Middlebury’s Tom Dils almost gave the Panthers the lead with a dangerous header, but his shot ricocheted off the left post. Regulation concluded with the score still tied, so the game headed into overtime. After two 10 minute periods of overtime, the final result was a tie.

“The game against Middlebury was a 110 minute battle,” junior Sam Malnik said. “We’re proud of slivers of the game, but going forward, we have to execute aspects of game plan better.”

The purple and white then traveled to Pine Manor on Sunday for a non-conference matchup. While conversion seemed to be an issue on Saturday, Amherst looked to have no trouble putting away their opportunities on Sunday.

Although Amherst couldn’t find the net with their first five shots, the purple and white finally took the lead on a goal from Fikayo Ajayi ’19. After receiving a beautiful ball from Dane Lind ’20, Ajayi slotted the ball home for his first career goal.

The first half ended with the score holding at 1-0 in favor of Amherst, but the purple and white blew open the game in the first ten minutes of the second half. In the 54th and 55th minutes, Martin and Bryce Ciambella ’17 coolly put away penalty kicks to give Amherst a commanding 3-0 lead. Goals from Jimmy McMillian ’20 and Aidan Murray ’18 in the 78th and 84th minutes completed the rout.

“After a slower start in the first half, our team was able to pick up momentum and connect some passes to put away some chances on goal in the second half,” senior captain Cameron Bean said. “Pine Manor is a strong and well-coached team, and the 5-0 scoreline does not speak to how close the game really was. I certainly think Pine Manor will find success this season.”
With these two results, the purple and white advance to 3-0-1 on the season. Next up for Amherst is another non-conference matchup on Wednesday, Sept. 21 against Mount Ida. They return to NESCAC action on Saturday, Sept. 24 when they will try to maintain their undefeated record against archrival Williams, a team Amherst needed two overtimes to defeat last season in Williamstown.