Men’s Soccer Exits NCAA Tournament with Loss to Rochester in Sweet 16
Issue   |   Tue, 11/28/2017 - 21:40

After a hard fought battle in the third round of the NCAA tournament, the Amherst men’s soccer team concluded its season with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the University of Rochester on Saturday, Nov. 18. With the loss, the Mammoths finished their 2017 campaign with a 12-4-3 record.

“Looking back on the season, I am very proud of our team’s performance,” senior captain Sam Malnik said. “We entered the season with a completely new starting lineup, and we still finished second in the NESCAC with a Sweet Sixteen appearance. There’s a lot to celebrate.”

During the game, Amherst struck first in the 20th minute, when Kyle Kelly ’21 notched his third goal of the season off of a corner kick from Cutler Coleman ’20. Getting a head on the well-driven ball, Kelly powered a shot on frame and into the bottom right corner of the Yellow Jackets’ net.

Although the Mammoths were able to maintain their 1-0 lead well into the second half, Rochester continued to create quality opportunities throughout the game. The Yellow Jackets finally found an equalizer with just 19 minutes left to play in the game. Alex Di Perna drove a low, bouncing shot on goal, and though Amherst goalie Michael Stone ’21 was able to make the initial save, the slick surface of the turf prevented him from holding onto the ball. Immediately hunting down the rebound, Geoffrey Rouin had an easy tap-in.

Only three minutes later, Rouin came through with another clutch play to provide the Yellow Jackets with the game-winning goal. Bryce Ikeda received the pass off of a short corner kick and sent a dangerous ball into the Amherst box. Amidst the chaos, Rouin managed to find the ball in the air and sneak a header past Stone.

With under two minutes to go, the Mammoths nearly forced overtime. Taking advantage of a free kick near the Rochester net, Amherst fired a shot on frame. However, Rochester’s goalie, Redd Brown, managed to make a fingertip save to secure the win for the Yellow Jackets.

The Mammoths are disappointed that their season came to an end, but they certainly have a great deal to be proud of as they preserved the program’s legacy of resilience and success.

“I’ll miss playing for Amherst,” Malnik said. “I consider myself very lucky for having been a member of the Amherst soccer family. A great group of guys will be leading the team next year. They have a bright future ahead of them.”