Men’s Soccer Falls to Middlebury in First Regular Season Home Loss in Six Years
Issue   |   Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:07
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Senior captain Aziz Khan started both of Amherst’s two games this season, providing a steadying presence in the heart of the midfield.

It was a tough weekend for the Amherst men’s soccer team as they suffered their first regular season home loss in six years on Saturday. After falling to Middlebury, the Mammoths are now 1-1 on the season and have dropped to sixth in the NESCAC standings.

Amherst controlled the run of play, outshooting the Panthers 15-8 and earning eight corner kicks to Middlebury’s three. However, the Mammoths were unable to capitalize on their many quality chances. Representative of Amherst’s unlucky performance was sophomore striker Dane Lind’s chance in the 45th minute of play.

Stepping up to take a free kick at the top of the box, Lind fired off a quick shot that caught the outside of the right post and ended up out of bounds.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Middlebury’s Jed Sass tallied the game’s only goal. The Panthers were awarded a free kick just outside the Mammoths’ 18-yard box, and Sass managed to sneak a ball just inside Amherst senior goalkeeper Lee Owen’s right post to give Middlebury the lead.

With only 1:06 remaining in the match, it appeared as though Amherst might tie things up. Earning a throw-in in Middlebury’s defensive third, the Mammoths looked to first-year Bryce Johnson to create a scoring opportunity with one of his renowned flip throws. Johnson delivered, with his throw sailing past the Middlebury keeper and into the back of the net. However, since no other player touched the ball before it crossed the goal line, the goal was disallowed.

However, even in defeat, there were positives for the Mammoths. Late in the second half, coach Justin Serpone saw fit to give first-year Michael Stone his first collegiate minutes in goal, valuable experience given that Owen, like Thomas Bull before him, will leave enormous shoes to fill.

While Saturday was undoubtedly a disappointing loss for the Mammoths, the squad is eager to redeem themselves this coming weekend against Williams.

“Amherst vs. Williams is always a big game,” senior captain Sam Malnik said. “It’s a historic rivalry, and everyone is looking forward to the game on Saturday.”

The Ephs are currently 2-1 in the NESCAC, and they will thus provide a great opportunity for Amherst to reestablish themselves as one of the best teams in the league.

The match will take place in Williamstown at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23.