WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. – Amherst's Ignacio Cabeddu turned and fired a shot towards the Eph goal in the 24th minute. Keeper Michael Davis was poised and ready, diving in the direction of the shot. Unfortunately for him and his team, as the shot sailed towards goal, it ricocheted off of an Eph defender and took a big deflection, flying into the goal just out of Davis's reach. In the end, this goal would be all the Amherst Mammoths would need to defeat Williams and improve to a record of (6-0-1/3-0-1 NESCAC). Meanwhile, the goal saw the Ephs' three-game win streak end against their Little Three rival and their record move to (3-3-1/2-2-0 NESCAC).
As the game kicked off, both Williams and Amherst played fiercely, attacking with purpose and defending with diligence. The two seemed to be evenly matched, each taking two shots in just the first 20 minutes. Following the deflected first goal at 24 minutes, however, the dynamic shifted, and Amerst began to get a grip on the game. More of the game was played in Williams' defensive third, and the Ephs were unable to string together passes against a formidable Amherst defense. After scrambling for some time, the Ephs did gain composure and continued to stay in the game, fighting for a goal, though the Mammoths still seemed to be the dominant team.
The Ephs' most threatening attack game in the 35th minute when Demian Gass received a long through ball from Liam Bardong in the attacking third and drilled a shot towards the far right post. Mammoth keeper Bernie White, had only a moment to react, but he leapt sideways and, with his sizeable wing span, was able to make the save.
The little momentum the Ephs were building was then squashed by yet another difficult-to-defend Amherst goal. In the 42nd minute, Amherst's Bryce Johnson took a flip throw from near the half and sent the ball into the Williams box. An Amherst player was able to get his head to the ball and direct it into the goal to double the Mammoths' lead. The player scoring the goal was unable to be determined, and the goal was declared a team goal.
The goal saw the Mammoths into the half, ahead of the Ephs by two goals. At halftime, the Mammoths had made 5 shots (4 on target) and the Ephs had tallied 4 (2 on target). Both Eph keeper Michael Davis and Mammoth keeper Bernie White had recorded 2 saves. Eph head coach Sullivan explained, "We didn't have a great first half today and it left us a bit frantic, chasing the game far too often. When we struggle, we need to play more simply and connect more quick passing sequences to unlock the weak side and all of our attacking threats."
As the second half began, the Mammoths took command of the game, putting together passes and forcing the Ephs to defend their goal. The half passed without much action, with Amherst unable to break through Williams's defense and Williams unable to connect passes up the pitch. Both teams were evidently becoming irritated, as evidenced by a quarrel that broke out in the 64th minute that led to yellow cards for each team.
The rest of the half saw the teams deadlocked, and most of the play occurred in the center of the pitch. In the end, both teams were unable to score, and Amherst defended their 2-0 lead and secured the win.
At the end of the game, Williams had recorded 8 shots (4 on target), while Amherst had recorded 9 (5 on target). Amherst had committed a total of 19 fouls, almost double Williams's 10. The teams were evenly matched overall, but the unlucky Amherst goals saw the Williams team lose composure.
The Mammoths seek to extend their undefeated streak as they play Middlebury tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Ephs look forward to improving on today's performance tomorrow, when they play Connecticut College at home. Eph head coach Sullivan commented, "NESCAC doubles are challenging in every respect. Time to turn the page and raise our game tomorrow."