Men’s Soccer Bests Bowdoin 1-0 on Back of Excellent Defensive Effort
Issue   |   Tue, 09/12/2017 - 22:14
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Weller Hlinomaz ‘18 managed one shot on goal against the Polar Bears.

The Amherst men’s soccer team kicked off its 2017 campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bowdoin on Saturday, Sept. 9. After 90 minutes of even, physical play, it was a penalty kick awarded in the first half that allowed the Mammoths to eke out the result.

In the 24th minute, the Polar Bears were called for a handball in their own 18-yard box, and junior forward Fikayo Ajayi stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick.

Bowdoin keeper Stevie Van Siclen did not stand a chance, as Ajayi fired the shot into the lower right corner of the net to give the Mammoths a lead that they would not relinquish.

Weller Hlinomaz ’18 nearly increased Amherst’s lead to two only three minutes later, but Van Siclen came up big for the Polar Bears with an incredible kick-save. Diving in the opposite direction of Hlinomaz’s shot, Van Siclen just managed to get his foot on the ball to keep it from finding the back of the net.

The Bowdoin keeper made another huge save late in the first half, as he managed to smother a dangerous ball played into Gabe Gitler ’21.

The Mammoths were able to minimize Bowdoin’s scoring opportunities throughout the game thanks to a strong defensive effort led by Luke Nguyen ’19 in the midfield. Nevertheless, the Polar Bears started to put Amherst under pressure in the final ten minutes of the match.

Following a quality corner from Bowdoin’s Ethan Ellsworth, Jake Stenquist found himself inside the Amherst box with the ball at his feet, but his shot sailed just over the crossbar, keeping the Amherst lead at one.

A few minutes later, Stenquist once again looked poised to score the equalizer. Getting on the end of a ball over the top, Stenquist appeared to be in alone on goal. However, senior keeper Lee Owen read the play beautifully and managed to slide tackle the ball away from Stenquist and out of bounds.

Owen made three saves for Amherst to contribute to the winning effort, and the Mammoths led the stats sheet in shots, corner kicks and fouls.

“It was a great start to the season,” said Nguyen. “Bowdoin always provides a good first test, and it was a true team win. Obviously, we still have a lot to work on, but we couldn’t have asked for a better start.”

The Mammoths return to action on Saturday, Sept. 16, when they will play NESCAC rival Middlebury at home. The Panthers are 2-1 on the season and should prove to be another solid test for coach Serpone and his team. Kickoff is at noon.

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