AMHERST, MA -- The Williams College Ephs (8-6/ 5-4 NESCAC) fell to NESCAC rival Amherst College (11-3/ 6-3 NESCAC) in tonight's away game, after the Lord Jeffs went on a seven-goal scoring streak spanning the second and third quarters. The Ephs knew that the game would be a tough one, as the old and bitter rivalry always inspires fierce competition.
Tonight's competitive spirit was clear from the very start. A prolific first quarter set the stage for the remainder of the high-scoring game.
Kevin Curry scored on his first shot attempt only 1:14 into the quarter, which spurred good movement and control from the Amherst offense. Williams goalkeeper Dan Whittam was tested further and stepped up with a critical pair of saves.
Eventually, Amherst found the back of the net again when Dylan Park and Sam Carson tallied back-to-back goals. The Lord Jeffs seemed to be hitting their stride. With 9:28 remaining in the quarter, the Ephs were three goals behind.
David Lee and Khary Dennis worked together to win the following face off, which resulted in a goal from Andy Grabowski. Grabowski's point broke the silence for his team, inspiring Williams to fight back against their rival.
The final thirty seconds of the quarter yielded two more goals, one per team. Dylan Park nabbed his second while Joe Kinney contributed for Williams. The score was 4-3 in Amherst's favor going into the second quarter.
Park kicked off the next quarter with a third goal for Amherst, pulling away from the Ephs again. Amherst continued to keep possession but couldn't produce for several minutes. A series of wide and saved shots finally resulted in a sixth Amherst goal 5:41 into the second quarter.
Moments later, Andy Grabowski scored his second of the contest. Teammate Bryson Gilbert-Bono followed the lead, and it was once again a one-goal game at 6-5.
The Lord Jeffs scored twice more in the final four minutes of the first half. In that time, each squad called a time out and possession changed hands frequently. Though the half wrapped at 8-5 Amherst, it was still anyone's game.
Miles McCarthy replaced Whittam in the net, where he would remain for the rest of the game.
Amherst kicked off the first half with a great deal of offensive energy. They went on a five-goal scoring streak for approximately ten minutes, with two goals apiece from Kane Haffey and Chris Albanese. Aaron Mathias scored the fifth goal in a man-up situation. This amounts to seven consecutive goals including pre-halftime action.
Despite the run, the play remained fierce. Each team suffered a couple of penalties, and both Majno and Whittam saw action in the net.
MacIvor and Grabowski reclaimed their control by putting away two goals in the final minutes of the quarter. Conor Roddy and Peter Crane assisted.
The third quarter wrapped with a score of 13-7.
Miles McCarthy kicked off the final quarter with an early save, clearing it to his defensemen. Steven Kiesel tallied the Ephs' eighth goal after about two minutes of play.
The opponents traded ball possession for much of the fourth quarter. Although Williams called another time out, they had trouble capitalizing on more goal-scoring opportunities.
Amherst's attack assumed control, firing off a number of shots. The first several were unsuccessful due to defensive pressure but ultimately Devin Actin found the back of the net, scoring Amherst's fourteenth and final goal.
Williams answered back, taking a time out to prepare for the final minutes. They dominated offensively at the end of the contest. Thomas Fowler scored the Ephs' ninth goal with 1:25 remaining, off a feed from Tanner MacIvor.
Play was tighter than the score might suggest. Amherst outshot the Ephs just 44 to 38, and dominated in ground balls with 44 to 35. However, the Ephs recorded 13 saves, just over double their opponent's save count.
"I have to give Amherst credit as they played a great game today," Coach McCormack noted after the contest.
When it came to the Ephs' performance, McCormack explained: "It wasn't our best day. We didn't have a great start, and a few penalties allowed them to score some important goals."
Grabowski was the team's high scorer with three goals. Tanner MacIvor tallied two goals and two assists. Playmakers Peter Crane and Conor Roddy each contributed with two assists. Several other Ephs contributed offensively, as well.
Defensive highlights included 5 saves for Whittam, 8 saves for McCarthy and 2 caused turnovers by Peter Sullivan.
McCormack and his squad look forward to one final contest before postseason play begins. They face their last NESCAC competitor, Middlebury College, on Wednesday, April 23. The away game will be held at 5:00 PM.