Men's Soccer Upset by Hamilton in First Round of NESCAC Playoffs
Issue   |   Tue, 10/31/2017 - 23:07
Clarus Studios
First-year Felix Wu started in the game against Hamilton. He was integral in helping the Mammoths put up a close fight in the NESCAC quarterfinals.

Last week was undoubtedly disappointing for the Amherst men’s soccer team. After ending their regular season with a 2-1 win over Trinity, the Mammoths fell to Hamilton on Saturday in the NESCAC quarterfinals. As the No. 2 seed in the tournament, Amherst was heavily favored in Saturday’s contest. Now the Continentals will advance to next weekend’s semifinal match at Tufts University, where they will face the top seeded Jumbos.

The first half of Saturday’s quarterfinal match was fairly uneventful. Sebastian Derby ’21 gave the Mammoths an early lead in the 11th minute, as he received a ball from Weller Hlinomaz ’18 and sent a shot far post past the Continentals’ keeper.

Heading into halftime, Amherst looked poised to take the next step in defending their 2016 NESCAC title.

Then, mayhem ensued. Over the course of the next 45 minutes, six goals were scored. McMillian started things off eight minutes into the second half, when he beat a Hamilton defender in a one on one situation and notched his fourth goal of the season. Only 30 seconds later, the Continentals got on the board with an unassisted goal by Matt Kastilahn. Two goals by Aidan Wood in the 62nd and 75th minutes then allowed Hamilton to take their first lead of the match.

Responding right away, the Mammoths managed to tie the contest just 2 minutes later. Cutler Coleman ’20 got on the end of a free kick from Gitler to level the score at 3-3. As the clock winded down in the second half, it looked as though the game would head into overtime. However, Wood came up big for Hamilton once again, with only five minutes left. Getting in behind the Amherst defense, Wood found himself in the perfect position to tap in a long ball that had snuck by Amherst keeper Kofi Hope-Gund ’21. Thanks to Woods’ hat trick, the Continentals managed to sneak by the Mammoths 4-3.

Amherst must now wait to see if they will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA National Tournament.

“We are hopeful that our regular season record will lead to a tournament berth,” said senior captain Sam Malnik. “We have two weeks of practice ahead of us. Everyone is focused on getting better.”

In 2014, the Mammoths were in a very similar position. Despite having been upset in the NESCAC quarterfinals, the team received an at-large bid and went on to claim the program’s first and only national title. Serpone and his team will look to recreate that redemptive run in two weeks’ time.