Men's Soccer Crushes Archrival Williams Ehps
Issue   |   Tue, 09/23/2014 - 22:52

After earning two victories and scoring five goals in two games this past week, men’s soccer posted their strongest week of the 2014 season to date. With the pair of wins, the Jeffs improved to 4-0-1 on the season (3-0-1 in the NESCAC) and extended their NESCAC unbeaten streak to 24 games.

While the Jeffs tied the Camels at home in a double overtime game in 2013, Amherst would not settle for anything less than a victory this past Wednesday.

Early on in the game, midfielder Milton Rico ’15 gave the Jeffs a lead they would not relinquish against the Camels.

Following a long throw-in from senior defenseman Bubba Van Wie, Rico had only the goalie to beat in the box, and chipped it in to the far post, which put the Jeffs ahead 1-0. On the play, Rico picked up his first score of the season, while Van Wie was credited with the assist off the throw-in.

Towards the end of the half, sophomore forward Chris Martin almost doubled the lead for the Jeffs off a pass from midfielder Douglass Jamison ’16, but Connecticut College goalie Austin DaCunha ’17 was there to make the save and keep the game 1-0 going into the half. In the first half of play, the Jeffs held a 10-5 shots advantage over the Camels.

In the second half, both Zach Punt ’15 and Matthew Bitchell ’16 put good shots on the net against Amherst, but junior goalie Thomas Bull was there to make the save on both occasions and preserve the 1-0 victory for the Jeffs.

In the victory against the Camels, Bull made six saves and picked up his second consecutive shutout.

On Saturday, the Jeffs and Ephs faced off against one another on Hitchcock Field for the first time since Williams defeated the Jeffs in the 2013 National Quarterfinals. Recent history would indicate that this game would be incredibly close and a fight to the final whistle, but the Jeffs took control of the match, scoring early and often.

A bit more than 15 minutes into the game, forward Martin cruised down the right side of the pitch and put one past the keeper, towards the middle of the net, to give the Jeffs a 1-0 lead over the archrival Ephs.

The Jeffs would double their lead in the 28th minute of game action, after junior striker Nico Pascual-Leone gathered the ball near the 18-yard box, moved to his left and planted one in the right corner of the net for his first goal of the season. However, after his first goal, Pascual-Leone was done causing damage against the Ephs.

With less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Andres Burbank-Crump ’15 of Williams scored off a free kick to cut Amherst’s lead in half and move the score to 2-1 heading into the halftime break.

Over the first 45 minutes, the Jeffs held a close 9-7 shot advantage, while the Ephs had a 2-0 edge on corner kicks over Amherst.

In the second half of play, Amherst continued its strong play against Williams.

Midway through the second half, Pascual-Leone added his second goal of the game when sophomore Bryce Ciambella set Pascual-Leone up with a through-ball, which allowed the junior forward to double his scoring tally by finding the top right corner of the net.

Shortly thereafter, Pascual-Leone adeptly placed a free kick that set up sophomore midfielder Andrew Orozco, who headed it into the back of the net to make it 4-1.

Overall, the Jeffs dominated the second half, as the Jeffs posted a 10-4 shot advantage in addition to the 2-0 score in the half, and began the process of exacting revenge on the Ephs following the 2013 Elite Eight with the 4-1 victory in Amherst’s home opener.

Coach Justin Serpone was quite pleased with the win against their NESCAC rival. “Beating Williams is always nice,” Coach Serpone said. “More important than the opponent is that we got some goals on the board. I really felt like it was a matter of time before we broke out and we picked a good day to do it. It’s great when you leave a game and you start talking about who played well, and rattle off name after name. That’s the sign of a great team win, which Saturday most definitely was.”
For his effort against the Ephs, Pascual-Leone was recognized as the NESCAC Player of the Week, as he added two goals and an assist (for a total of five points) in a stellar performance for the Jeffs.

So far this season, the Jeffs have scored nine goals in their first five games, with eight different players accounting for those nine goals. Pascual-Leone became the first player to attain more than one goal on the season with his multi-goal performance against Williams. While Pascual Leone leads the team in points with five (as a result of his two goals and an assist), three other Jeffs have three points or more, as junior forward Greg Singer has four points (on a goal and two assists), and Rico and Ciambella (who each have a goal and an assist on the season) both have recorded three points.

Up next, the Jeffs will travel to Medford, Mass. for a 2:30 p.m. matchup on Saturday with the Tufts Jumbos, who have jumped out to an impressive start in 2014. The Jumbos are unbeaten in NESCAC play thus far, after beating Bates, Colby and Wesleyan (in a 1-0 overtime game).

On the season, Tufts’ lone blemish came against Brandeis, which is one of the top-ranked teams in the nation and undefeated to begin the season. Last season, Amherst beat Tufts 2-0 at home, with the Jeffs receiving goals from senior defender Gabriel Wirz and Singer in the game.

“Tufts is a terrific team that is heading into the game as one of the top-ranked teams in New England,” Coach Serpone said. “They have really good attacking players and it’s their homecoming. I’d say we are the underdogs in this one.”
The following day, the Jeffs will host the Bates Bobcats at 2:30 p.m. on Hitchcock Field. Thus far, the Bobcats have struggled, as they sport an 0-4-0 record in NESCAC play and an 0-5-1 record overall.

While the Bobcats were shut out in their first four games of the season, Bates has scored a goal in its last two contests, both of which were NESCAC conference games. In 2013, the Jeffs beat Bates 3-1 on the road. Perhaps the most memorable from the matchup against Bates last season, however, was when Bull struck a free kick, from the left side near midfield, that sailed over the goalie’s head and into the back of the net to give Amherst a 1-0 lead in the game.

With the back-to-back games that Amherst has scheduled for this weekend, the Jeffs will have the opportunity to push their unbeaten streak in the NESCAC to 24 games.