Team of the Year: No. 10 Men’s Soccer Wins NESCAC Title
Issue   |   Thu, 05/18/2017 - 15:23
Amherst Athletics

Although the 2016 season failed to bring another national title to Coach Justin Serpone’s squad, the Amherst men’s soccer team still dominated NESCAC competition, taking home both the regular season and tournament crowns and making it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Championship. Returning much of last year’s core, Amherst demonstrated their potential from the start of the season, going undefeated through the month of September, with the one blemish on the team’s record a dramatic 1-1 double-overtime draw at Middlebury.

In October, the purple and white suffered their sole regulation loss of the season, falling 3-0 to eventual national champions Tufts. However, that defeat served as the catalyst for an 11-game win streak that saw the Mammoths run rampant through conference and non-conference opponents alike, defeating all but two foes by multiple goals.

The team’s absolute dominance was on full display in the NESCAC tournament, where the Mammoths, as hosts, scored nine goals and conceded only two en route to the program’s first crown since 2013. In the championship game beat-down of Hamilton, by a score of 3-0, the team shut down the Continentals’ offense while Luke Nguyen ’19 led the team offensively with his first two goals of the season.

This stellar run continued through the start of the NCAA tournament, with the Mammoths receiving a first-round bye, which they followed with a 3-0 destruction of Daniel Webster College in the round of 32. However, the magic came to an end for Amherst in their matchup against Brandeis, against whom they dominated offensively, putting up 20 total shots, 11 of which were on goal. Unfortunately, after tying the game on a goal from senior Andrew Orozco, the Mammoths were unable to find the deciding goal. The game went to penalties, which Brandeis won by a score of 3-1.

Amherst also received a number of individual awards. The senior quartet of defenders Jackson Lehnhart and Justin Aoyama, forward Chris Martin and midfielder Bryce Ciambella all closed their collegiate careers with matching All-NESCAC and All-New England honors, while Ciambella and Lehnhart both received third-team All-America recognition.

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