AMHERST, Mass. – The No. 1 Tufts University men's soccer team fell in overtime to the No. 2 Amherst College Mammoths on Saturday afternoon at Hitchcock Field, 2-1.
|Senior Brett Rojas fired six shots, two on goal, in the loss.|
The Jumbos fall to 8-2-1 on the season with a 4-1-1 record in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play. The Mammoths improve to 9-0-2 with a 5-0-2 record in league contests.
After a long, flip throw by Bryce Johnson, the Jumbos responded with the first opportunity of the contest as junior Travis Van Brewer sent a set piece towards senior Zach Lane on the right side of the goal. His header shot was saved by the Mammoth goalkeeper, Bernie White.
Amherst would respond with a strong opportunity in the fourth minute as German Giammattei made a quick move off the end line. He fired a shot that was blocked away by a Tufts defender. That resulted in a corner kick, which was cleared away by the Jumbos.
The top ranked Jumbos struck first in the 15th minute. Sophomore Ian Daly threw a ball in towards Lane. Lane earned free space to send a ball into the middle of the box for senior Gavin Tasker. Tasker rolled out of the Mammoth backline and fired a left footed shot into the top left corner of the goal.
Following a free kick from senior Brett Rojas, the Mammoths jumped on the attack and earned an equalizer in the 22nd minute. After strong ball control in the midfield by Dane Lind, he sent a pass through the Jumbo backline intended for Giammattei. He one touched a ball back to the left side of the goal which beat junior goalkeeper Will Harned.
Neither team earned a strong opportunity for the remainder of the half until senior Zach Trevorrow was tackled from behind with under one minute remaining in the half. He then took a free kick from about 30 yards out. He kept the ball low and wrapped it around the Mammoth wall. It did find Jumbo feet but there was too much chaos in the box to earn a shot. Amherst cleared the ball away and the first half ended.
The Jumbos earned the first opportunity of the second half. Van Brewer sent a ball to the right wing for Daly. Daly chipped a ball into the box for Tasker who fired a shot that was blocked by the Mammoths and out the goalline. Van Brewer took the corner kick, but Amherst cleared the opportunity away.
Cutler Coleman nearly gave the Mammoths the lead with 30 minutes to play. He forced a turnover in his attacking end. He quickly fired a shot towards the goal from about 25 yards away, but the shot went wide left.
Amherst continued on the attack as Gabe Gitlet fired a shot on goal that forced Harned to make a diving save to keep the game tied.
The Jumbos nearly broke the tie with 22 minutes to play following a Jumbo corner kick. The ball went to the middle of the box and a quick deflection shot by junior Mati Cano forced White to make a diving save. Rojas followed that up with a shot that went high over the goal.
Another strong opportunity came for the minutes with 11 minutes to play as Lind found free space with strong ball control, drove to the middle of the box. His left footed shot was blocked by the Jumbos. They continued on the attack as Ada Okorogheye drove into the right side of the box. His near no-angle shot forced Harned to make a kick save but the official made an offside call that ended the opportunity for Amherst.
Late in the contest, the Jumbos earned a strong push as senior Joe Braun found Lane in the box. Lane fired a left-footed shot on White. He needed to dive to keep score at 1-1.
The remaining time in regulation saw both teams earn strong pushes into their respective attacking zones but neither team could muster an opportunity.
After a quick play to start the first overtime period by Lind, Giammattei drove down the middle of the field and fired a shot from about 20 yards out. His shot beat Harned on his right. The goal earned the Mammoths a 2-1 victory.
Harned made seven saves on nine shots on goal in the losing effort. He is now 7-2-1 on the season. White made seven saves for Amherst. He improves to 8-0-2.
The Jumbos have a quick turnaround as they continue on the road on Sunday. They kick off with Hamilton College at 2:30 pm. The Mammoths return to the field on Monday when they head to William Patterson. They are slated to start at 7 pm.