AMHERST, MA – Down two at the half seventh seeded Williams (10-6) out scored second seeded Amherst (12-4) 4-1 in the third quarter and 7-4 in the second half to stun the hosts 11-10 and advance to the NESCAC Semifinals next Saturday at Tufts.
The win was the third in a row for the Ephs and their second straight over a nationally ranked opponent. The Ephs topped #5 Middlebury in their final NESCAC regular season contest and then upset #6 Amherst today.
Commenting on the Ephs' play of late, head coach George McCormack noted, "We're becoming a more complete team. We've been effective on offense and defense and were winning faceoffs and handling special situations well."
Tanner MacIvor scored the game-winner with 2:06 remaining after Amherst had netted three unanswered goals to tie the contest at 10. MacIvor's shot from 11 yards out to the left of Amherst goalie Thomas Gilligan went through Gilligan's legs on a bounce and into the net and Williams men's lacrosse lore.
MacIvor was not the only hero on the day for the Ephs. Miles McCarthy was stellar in goal with 20 saves and Brian Bissell established himself as one of the finest faceoff specialists in the east with another extraordinary effort, winning 17 of 25 faceoffs on the day.
"Miles McCarthy is the center of our defense, which is improving every game and Brian Bissell is only a sophomore but he is really starting to dominate the "X" for us and get us extra possessions," McCormack added.
Williams opened the scoring in the game at 13:15 of the first quarter with Thomas Fowler getting in close on Gilligan's right side, scoring off a feed from Tanner MacIvor as Fowler whistled his shot over Gilligan's left shoulder.
Amherst's Quinn Maroney answered the Fowler goal at 11:29 on an unassisted goal.
Amherst took the lead, 2-1, when Brogan Mahon scored from up top off a pass from Evan Wolf who was down even with the goal to the right of Eph goalie Miles McCarthy. The Amherst lead went to 3-1 when Chris Albanese came up from behind McCarthy's left side and drilled a shot back to the right of McCarthy into the net from 12 yards out
Peter Crane got a goal back for the Ephs at 4:52 when he beat Gilligan with a low shot inside the left post, ending a three-goal run by Amherst, and ending Gilligan's string of four consecutive saves. Amherst's lead was now one, 3-2.
Miles McCarthy came up big with 1:52 left in the opening quarter when he denied Chris Albanese on a point blank shot from just outside the crease to keep the score at 3-2 in Amherst's favor. Amherst took the 3-2 lead into the first break.
The Ephs went into a man-up opportunity for 30 seconds at 14:10 of the second quarter when Uzoma Egbuchulam was called for holding. The Ephs got off a shot on the man-up, but unfortunately Thomas Fowler was in the crease when he scored and the goal was waved off. Amherst killed off the penalty and retained their 3-2 lead.
Amherst extended their lead to two, 4-2, on an unassisted goal by Dylan Park from eight yards out to the left of McCarthy at 11:06.
Michael Fahey narrowed the Amherst lead back to one when he squirted free inside and beat Gilligan on the left side at 9:10. However, Dylan Park notched his second unassisted goal at 2:45 and Amherst owned a two-goal margin again, 5-3.
Michael Fahey scored again for the Ephs. This time off a rush forward by Khary Dennis who fed the streaking Fahey. Fahey got in on Gilligan alone and picked the right spot to make the score 5-4, Amherst with 1:36 left in the first half.
The Ephs controlled the ensuring faceoff and took the ball forward. Tanner MacIvor unleashed a big shot that Gilligan was able to steer to the side and Amherst countered with a late attack. Once Amherst entered the offensive zone they called timeout with 14 seconds left in the half.
Out of the timeout Amherst worked the ball to Charlie Gill who found Michael Litner up top. Litner's shot may have been tipped, but entered the net with 2.8 seconds left and gave Amherst a 6-4 lead at the half.
Thomas Gilligan recorded nine saves and Miles McCarthy made 11 in the first half. Amherst had 19 ground balls to Williams' 18 in the first 30 minutes. The Ephs turned the ball over 10 times and Amherst seven times.
The Ephs' Michael Fahey opened the third quarter with a quick sprint on goal and scored at 14:42 making it a 6-5 game. Brian Bissell won the ensuing faceoff and the Ephs were in on Gilligan again in search of the tying goal. However, the Ephs shot wide and Amherst took over possession of the ball.
Amherst's Andrew Ford received a pass up top from Quinn Maroney who was behind the goal and Ford's quick turn and fire put Amherst up two, 7-5, at 11:10.
The Ephs' Thomas Fowler converted off a feed from Michael Fahey out on Gilligan's left side, blistering a shot into the right side of the goal at 8:06 to bring the Ephs back within one, down 7-6.
Just 31 seconds after the Fowler goal the Ephs leveled the contest at seven when Peter Crane scored from 10 yards out to the right of Gilligan. For the third straight time Brian Bissell won the faceoff for the Ephs and Williams back knocking on the door with just less than seven minutes to go in the third quarter, but the Ephs turned the ball over.
McCarthy stood tall on the turnover and denied Amherst's Quinn Maroney to gain possession for the Ephs.
The teams then went on to exchange possessions for the next several minutes with neither team getting more than one shot before the other team took over possession.
With just over three minutes to play Amherst almost took an 8-7 lead but the shot by Brett Inglesby went off the post and the Ephs collected the loose ball and went forward with a successful clear.
With 1:07 remaining in the third quarter Conor Roddy gave the Ephs their first lead. Roddy registered a goal on an absolute screamer from Gilligan's left side, beating Gilligan first with a fake and then a booming shot.
Williams out scored Amherst 4-1 in the third quarter and took an 8-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Ephs went up by two goals at 12:49 of the final quarter when Thomas Fowler collected a ground ball off a save by Gilligan and turned and whipped the ball past the recovering Gilligan, making the score, 9-7, in favor of Williams.
The Ephs' Peter Crane was denied on his first attempt off a pass from Fahey, but the rebound came back to Crane who hesitated for a part of a second, reading Gilligan's movement and then he deposited a low shot in the net as the Ephs went up three, 10-7 with 11:22 left.
Just when it looked like momentum was getting comfortable on the William side of the field and the Ephs were in control of the game, Amherst responded with three unanswered goals to tie the game.
At 9:08 Amherst went into a man-up opportunity off a Jack Lauroesch penalty for pushing, but McCarthy denied Amherst's lone shot during the man-advantage and the Ephs cleared successfully.
At 6:46 Evan Wolfe converted off a shot by Maroney that was deflected to Wolfe\ in close on McCarthy's right side, cutting the Eph lead to two, 10-8.
Less than two minutes later at 4:47 Quinn Maroney made it a 10-9 game in favor of Williams with an unassisted goal.
With 4:19 remaining the Ephs put Amherst in a man-up opportunity for 30 seconds when Bryson Gilbert-Bono was called for delay of game and Amherst capitalized on the a man-up. Chris Albanese scored a behind the back goal at 4:02 to tie the game at 10 all.
Tanner MacIvor re-captured the lead for the Ephs and netted an unassisted goal he will never forget when he fired a shot between the legs of Amherst goalie Thomas Gilligan with just 2:06 left in the quarter.
Off the ensuing faceoff Amherst collected the loose ball and then with 1:54 left to play Amherst was the beneficiary of a 1-minute man-up opportunity when the Ephs' Jack Schuckman was called for unnecessary roughness.
McCarthy made two saves in the man-down for the Ephs to preserve the lead and when the penalty to Schuckman was over McCarthy ended up carrying the ball three quarters of the length of the field before he was dispossessed. A wild scramble for the ball brought the ball back into the Amherst offensive zone after each team touched the ball several times. Once Amherst established possession they called timeout with 18.4 seconds remaining.
Amherst put the ball in Quinn Maroney's hands and his last ditch attempt at a score may have been tipped on the way to the net, but there is no doubt that Eph goalie Miles McCarthy was able to push the ball out of the crease towards the corner to his left. Before McCarthy could gather in the ball the clock expired and he was mobbed by his teammates.
With the win the seventh seeded Ephs advance to the NESCAC semifinals next Saturday at Tufts where they will play the host Jumbos. The Ephs and Jumbos will play at 12:00 p.m. Middlebury and Bowdoin will meet at 3:00 p.m., and Saturday's winners will meet on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Tufts.
"We've played a tough schedule and we've gotten better as the season has progressed," said McCormack. We all know this is a big win, but the teams we face now will only get better so we have to continue to work on getting better."
Miles McCarthy turned aside 10 Amherst shots on the day and allowed 10 goals in 60 minutes. Amherst's Thomas Gilligan made 17 saves and allowed 11 goals in 60 minutes.
Williams won despite registering 19 turnovers on the day to just 11 for Amherst.
The Ephs Brian Bissell won 17 of 25 faceoffs (68%). The Ephs had a slight edge in ground balls collecting 38 to 35 for Amherst.
Michael Fahey, Thomas Fowler and Peter Crane all scored three times for Williams and Fahey had a team high two assists.
Quinn Maroney, Chris Albanese and Dylan Park each of whom scored two goals led Amherst on offense.