Men's Lacrosse Drops Two More Heartbreakers
Issue   |   Tue, 04/16/2013 - 23:42

Floundering in the midst of a rebuilding season, the men’s lacrosse team saw its NESCAC playoff hopes take a devastating hit this past week. The Jeffs dropped consecutive home games to Tufts and Conn. College, losing 12-8 on Saturday and 8-7 on Tuesday.

The Jeffs (4-8, 2-6 NESCAC) now find themselves near the cellar of the NESCAC standings, sitting in the 9th place out of 11 teams. The top eight teams qualify for the NESCAC tournament.

Amherst has two road games left on the schedule to salvage its dwindling playoff hopes: at Williams (3-5, 8th place) on Saturday and Trinity (2-6, T-9th place) next Wednesday. If the Jeffs lose at Williams this weekend, they will be mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.

While Saturday’s 12-8 loss to national powerhouse Tufts — winners of the past three NESCAC titles —was largely expected, the Jeffs suffered an agonizing 8-7 loss to Conn. College (9-3, 6-2 NESCAC) last night at Gooding Field.

Despite the discrepancy in records, Conn. College and Amherst entered the game with relatively similar goal differentials (+6 for Conn., -1 for Amherst), implying that the Jeffs had a strong chance of pulling off the upset on home turf.

Down 3-1 at halftime, the Jeffs fell behind 7-3 in the third quarter before netting four unanswered goals, erasing the deficit with a spirited comeback. Once again, however, the Jeffs’ offense stagnated in the final minutes, allowing Conn. College to escape with the win.

The Jeffs are now 0-4 in NESCAC one-goal games this season, struggling to pull out tight contests.

The Jeffs stumbled to a slow start against Conn. College. The Camels dominated proceedings in the first quarter, going ahead 2-0 while building a 14-5 shots advantage. Devin Acton ’14 got Amherst on the scoreboard with a goal 3:16 into the second quarter, but the Camels responded 7:40 later to take a 3-1 lead into halftime.

At the start of the second half, the Camels raced out of the gates, surging ahead 6-2 just six minutes into the period.

Undaunted by the four-goal deficit, the Jeffs staged an epic rally, scoring five goals in an 8:19 span to knot the score at 7-7.

Dylan Park ’16 struck first with 4:42 left in the third quarter, receiving a nice feed in the slot from Quinn Moroney ’16. After the Camels quickly responded to go up 7-3, Ramsey Bates ’13 and Acton scored with 2:47 and 0:54 left in the third quarter to pull the Jeffs to 7-5.

Carrying the momentum into the final quarter, Amherst notched two quick goals to complete a stunning comeback. Park closed the deficit to 7-6 with a dazzling spin-o-rama goal 2:42 into the period before Jeff Izzo ’13 knotted the score 55 seconds later.

But the Camels regained the lead with 7:11 left in regulation, capitalizing on a man-advantage opportunity. Amherst dominated possession the rest of the period — benefitting from three Conn College penalties in the final five minutes — but the Jeffs struggled to create prime scoring chances. Amherst outshot Conn. College 12-3 in the final period, but only four of those shots were on net.

Four days earlier, the Jeffs scrambled to keep pace with powerful Tufts (10-3, 6-2 NESCAC), falling 12-8 in an action-packed contest.

Bolstered by a high-octane attack, Tufts leads the NESCAC with 13.1 goals per game; to put in perspective, the NESCAC’s second highest-scoring team (Middlebury) averages 9.63 goals per game.

The Jeffs started the game brightly, going ahead 2-0 by the midway point of the first quarter. Amherst’s grip on the match deteriorated rapidly, however, as Tufts erupted for seven consecutive goals en route to a 7-3 halftime lead.

The Jumbos netted two more early in the third quarter to extend the lead to 9-3. Refusing to capitulate, the Jeffs staged a three-goal rally to close the period at 9-6. Tufts regained control in the fourth quarter, however, going ahead 12-6 before Acton notched two consolation goals in the dying minutes to make the score a respectable 12-8. In an impressive individual performance, Acton racked up four goals to lead the Amherst offense.