Men's Soccer Struggles in 1-1 Tie at Hamilton
Issue   |   Wed, 10/09/2013 - 00:24

On Saturday, Oct. 5, Amherst Men’s Soccer took on the Hamilton Continentals at Love Field in Clinton, New York. Although Amherst did not manage to come away with the victory, the Jeffs salvaged a 1-1 tie with Hamilton and extended their unbeaten streak to 29 games.

The Jeffs entered play at 7-0-1 overall (5-0-1 in the NESCAC) and the third-ranked team in the nation, while Hamilton came in at 2-2-2 overall (1-1-2 in the NESCAC). Amherst had won its past three matches, while Hamilton just came off a big 1-0 win the previous week against Wesleyan.

The two teams headed to halftime in a scoreless tie, but not without scoring opportunities for both squads. The Jeffs held a slight 6-5 edge in shots in the first 45 minutes of play, while also holding a 4-1 corner kick advantage over the Continentals.

Hamilton moved ahead quickly in the second half, as they scored less than two minutes into the half. Hamilton took the lead on a goal from Dan Kraynak, who struck the ball to the right of a diving goalkeeper Thomas Bull ’16. Kraynak’s goal, his second score of the season, was assisted by Griffin Abbott.

Amherst managed to come from behind to tie the game in the 76th minute of action. Following a strong throw-in from striker Christopher Martin ’17, sophomore forward Nico Pascual-Leone executed a diving header that found the back of the net.

Pascual-Leone grabbed his third goal of the season and Martin picked up his team-leading fourth assist on the key play.

When asked to comment on his goal, Pascual-Leone remarked, “We had been getting a lot of chances in the second half but hadn’t put any away yet. Justin Aoyama put in a great cross, and Elliot drew a pair of defenders toward him, so I just made a run in front of my defender and got a head on it”.

To date, Pascual-Leone leads the team in points with nine (three goals and three assists), while Martin follows with eight total points (two goals and four assists).

After tying the game in regulation and forcing overtime, Amherst would not go down without a fight. Amherst had already posted 17 shots by the end of regulation and put six more shots on goal in the second period of overtime alone.

With just under five minutes to go in the second overtime, Julien Aoyama ’14 nearly scored off a header, but Hamilton goalie Fred Porges was there to make the save. Off a corner kick sent in by Pascual-Leone shortly after Aoyama’s effort, first-year midfielder Andrew Orozco’s ’17 dangerous scoring attempt was denied by Porges, who notched a career-high 11 saves against the Jeffs.

The final whistle blew at the end of double overtime to mark a 1-1 tie between the Jeffs and Continentals. The Jeffs had a 23-10 shot advantage during the course of the game and a 10-6 corner kick advantage.

While the result might not have been as good as anticipated, Amherst was forced to play from behind for the first time since their matchup with Middlebury four weeks ago.

“I certainly don’t like playing from behind but I was happy with how we kept our composure and found a way to score,” said Coach Justin Serpone. “We outshot Hamilton after the goal was scored 17-5, so we responded well, but we can’t count on that. We easily could have lost that game on Saturday.”

Pascual-Leon added, “We came out flat. We were outworked in the first half and the first few minutes of the second half. We ended up turning things around, but it’s hard to win a game only playing half of it”.

After the tie, Amherst moved to 7-0-2 (5-0-2 in the NESCAC) on the season, while Hamilton pushed their overall record to 2-2-3 (1-1-3 in the NESCAC).

In their first nine games in 2013, Amherst has scored four times as many goals as they have allowed; they have netted 20 goals and only allowed five scores through their game against Hamilton. Amherst continues to sit atop the NESCAC standings, as they have accumulated 17 total conference points, with five NESCAC victories and two draws, and remain the only unbeaten team in the NESCAC.

Amherst will head to Maine this weekend for a pair of games. The Jeffs take on NESCAC-opponent Colby at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and then will face Husson Univ. at 2:30 p.m. in a non-conference game on Sunday. Colby will be looking for their first NESCAC victory, as the Mules currently stand at 3-5 overall (0-5 in the NESCAC) after their 1-0 loss to Wesleyan in double overtime this past Saturday.