Top Ranked Men's Soccer Advances to NESCAC Semis
Issue   |   Wed, 11/06/2013 - 01:07
Rob Mattson, Public Affairs Office
Chris Martin '17 and Greg Singer '16 celebrate one of Martin's two scores against Hamilton.

The offense of the No. 1-ranked Amherst Men’s Soccer team was firing on all cylinders in two victories over the past week, as the Jeffs scored a total of eight goals and pushed their unbeaten streak to 35 games.

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, the Jeffs finished the regular season in style with a 4-0 victory over Trinity, followed by a strong second half performance against Hamilton that carried Amherst to a 4-1 victory in the NESCAC Quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 2.

Facing the Trinity Bantams on the road, Amherst was led on offense by junior Bubba Van Wie, who got the Jeffs on the scoreboard with a goal in the 23rd minute of action that found the left side of the net.

Following Van Wie’s score, neither the Jeffs nor the Bantams would put forth another goal in the remainder of the first half, as Amherst entered halftime with a 1-0 edge.

Van Wie’s day was not nearly complete, however, as he scored two goals in short order midway through the second half. In the 68th minute, Van Wie poured in his second goal of the contest, before earning a hat-trick with his third goal of the match just two minutes later.

With that phenomenal scoring performance, Van Wie is now tied for Amherst’s regular season lead in goals scored (five) with forwards Chris Martin ’17 and Greg Singer ’16.

In addition to Van Wie’s five goals, he also has accumulated three assists over the course of the regular season, giving him a total of 13 points, which is second on the squad in the regular season, only behind Martin (14 points).

The Jeffs did not stop after three goals. In the 80th minute of play, midfielder Mikey Hoeksema ’15 set up first-year forward Elliot Cassutt for a goal, as Cassutt picked up his third goal of the season to push the lead to 4-0 in the process.

The Bantams posted five shots during the game, but were denied the opportunity to score as a result of the Amherst defense’s strong play. The 4-0 victory for the Jeffs against Trinity gave Amherst its eighth shutout in 14 regular season games and allowed the Jeffs to complete the regular season with a 12-0-2 overall record (8-0-2 in the NESCAC), matching the regular season record of Amherst’s 2012 team that advanced to the Elite 8.

Over the course of the 2013 regular season, the Jeffs outscored their opponents 32-6 and held a whopping 288-105 shot advantage over the opposition.

With the victory against Trinity, head coach Justin Serpone earned his 100th career victory at the helm for Amherst.
Coach Serpone humbly attributed his coaching success to a collective effort.

“Getting to 100 wins has very little to do with me and everything to do with all of the hard work of dozens and dozens of coaches, players, parents and athletic department staff over the past six and a half years,” Serpone said. “The strength in Amherst Soccer is in how many people have a hand in all of our success.”

A few days after the Trinity win, the Jeffs looked to put their regular season 1-1 draw against the Hamilton Continentals behind them in the NESCAC Quarterfinals held at home.

Early in the contest, Martin narrowly missed putting the Jeffs ahead on a shot, sent in to the box by Van Wie, which sailed just over the net.

In the 20th minute, Hamilton’s Bayard Geeslin struck a grounded shot towards the goal, but Amherst goalkeeper Thomas Bull ’16 dove to his right to make the save and preserve a scoreless tie for the Jeffs.

While that was Hamilton’s only scoring attempt of the first half, Amherst put nine shots on goal in the first half, but came up empty in their efforts to score.

The second half, however, followed a different story line. It did not take the Jeffs long to push ahead after the halftime intermission.

Off a pass from forward Nico Pascual-Leone ’16 less three minutes into the second half, Singer angled a diving header to the left corner of the net to give Amherst a 1-0 lead.

In the 52nd minute, the Jeffs picked up their second goal of the half on a Martin score that came off a beautiful lead pass executed by senior midfielder Brendan Caslin.

Martin added another goal midway via an assist from Julien Aoyama ’14 to push Amherst’s lead to 3-0 over the Continentals. Martin’s two-goal performance in the NESCAC Quarterfinals marked the third multi-goal game of his young career.

With less than 15 minutes remaining, the Jeffs would add one more insurance goal. After picking up a goal earlier in the week against Trinity, Cassutt would earn an assist on the final Amherst goal of the day.

After receiving the ball off Hoeksema’s corner kick, Cassutt made a smart pass intended for first-year Andrew Orozco, who then finished off the set piece with a header to give the Jeffs a 4-0 lead.

Hamilton would put one into the net on a penalty kick by Ben Yudysky ’14 in the 85th minute, but that would be all that the Jeffs’ stifling defense would allow, as Amherst went on to a 4-1 victory over the Continentals.

After a win in the NESCAC Quarterfinals, the top-seeded Jeffs advance to face No. 5-seeded Bowdoin in the NESCAC Semifinals this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on Hitchcock Field.

Bowdoin enters the match following a thrilling victory in penalty kicks over No. 4-seeded Tufts in the NESCAC Quarterfinals.
Amherst beat Bowdoin 3-0 at home behind a balanced scoring attack in mid-September, but the team understands that they will be facing a different and more experienced Bowdoin squad this time around in the NESCAC Semifinals.

“We are playing a very good team in Bowdoin in the semifinals and that’s our only focus right now,” Serpone said. “It seems like forever ago that we played them in the regular season and they are much improved. It’s going to take a full team effort for us advance to the final on Sunday.”

The winner of Saturday’s NESCAC Semifinal between Amherst and Bowdoin will face the winner of No. 2-seeded Wesleyan vs. No. 3-seeded Williams in the NESCAC Finals at noon on Sunday at Hitchcock Field.