Men's Soccer Falls to Stevens in NCAA Round of 16
Issue   |   Wed, 11/30/2011 - 01:02
Rob Mattson
Thebe Tsatsimpe '12 was one of five seniors who comprised the winningest class in program history.

One of the most successful seasons in men’s soccer history ended Nov. 19 in a tough 2-1 loss to the Stevens Institute of Technology in the NCAA Round of 16.

“I had such a great time coaching this team this season,” head caoch Justin Serpone said. “To go on a journey like that with such a special team is something I will cherish and remember for a long time.” Despite the loss, Serpone was proud of what his team achieved: “Winning our second NESCAC Championship and setting a program record for wins is an amazing accomplishment.”

Statistically, Amherst appeared to outplay its opponent, holding a commanding 21-6 shot advantage and an 8-5 edge in the corner tally. But, the Jeffs lacked the finishing touch required to move on to the next round.

“The Stevens game was a reminder of what we love about soccer and what frustrates us about soccer,” Serpone said. “We certainly felt like we did enough to win the game but it wasn’t to be.”

Both teams had early scoring chances off set pieces and crosses, but failed to convert them into goals as a result of solid goalkeeping and missed shots.

Amherst opened the scoring in the 38th minute, counter-attacking after a Stevens corner kick. Chris Lerner ’13 played a cross into the box that was flicked towards the goal by Alejandro Sucre ’13. A waiting Spencer Noon ’13 then headed the ball into the net to give the Jeffs the lead.

Noon’s goal made him the all-time leading scorer in Jeffs history as just a junior, upping his career tally to 35 goals and 83 points.

Curtis Stecyk then scored a pair of goals for Stevens, leaving the Jeffs in search of an equalizer that never quite came, despite several strong opportunities.

Senior goalkeeper Lennard Kovacs had three saves in his final game for the Jeffs. He started every game for the Jeffs this year, posting an impressive 52-10-11 career record with 32 shutouts and a .836 save percentage.

Seniors Thebe Tsatsimpe, Dave Masterman, Sam Kaplan and T.J. Kelley will also be missed. They brought the Jeffs a pair of NESCAC titles and a Final Four NCAA appearance during their time at Amherst.

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to coach this senior class. As good as they were on the field, there isn’t a better group of people.” Serpone was quick to point out that as “the most winning class in Amherst soccer history they will not be soon forgotten.”