10th-ranked men's soccer jumps on Jumbos

This year, however, it was the Lord Jeffs on the winning end. Amherst scored once early and twice late in the game to roll to a 3-0 victory over Tufts in Medford, Mass., raising the Jeffs’ overall record to 2-0 and continuing the shut-out streak for the Amherst keepers.

These two victories have pulled the team up from a ranking of 15th in the country to an impressive 10th. The only other NESCAC team in the top 10 is Bowdoin College, which occupies the number five spot.

Forward Joe Gannon ’06, last year’s NESCAC Rookie of the Year, opened the scoring with an unassisted goal in the 13th minute. The strike came off a free kick near the Jumbos’ goal. It was Gannon’s first goal of the year, but not his first points tally; he assisted one goal on opening day.

Last season, Gannon netted 10 goals and assisted on nine more. He is currently the Jeffs’ second-leading active career scorer in only his sophomore season. With a year of collegiate soccer under his belt, Gannon should make an even greater impact in 2003.

However, it was the Jeff veterans who provided the scoring punch in the second half to bury the Jumbos for good. Quad-captain forward Jeff Cantwell ’04 tallied his first strike of the young season in the 67th minute, knocking in a loose ball in front of the goal. His first score of the season was also his ninth career goal for Amherst.

Just 11 minutes later, quad-captain forward Frank Perry ’04 put the game out of reach with a breakaway goal of his own. Both second-half scores were unassisted.

Amherst dominated the box score just as it did the scoring column. The Jeffs peppered the Jumbos with 12 shots in the contest, almost double the seven that the Jumbos could muster. Jumbo goalie Scott Conroy came up with three saves in the loss. Amherst also earned five corner kicks versus Tufts’ single corner opportunity.

Amherst goalkeeper Greg Lockwood ’06 recorded one save in the shut-out win. He credits the strong play of the defense for keeping the ball away from his net through the first two games of the season.

“I believe that the team has played incredibly well in front of me,” said Lockwood. “They have prevented many opportunities through impeccable work rate and organization. I really could not be happier with their performance. Additionally, there is no let down at all when we substitute because we are so deep.”

The scouting report on the Jeffs early on this season was that they’d have no trouble generating offense. Through two games, this has held true. Amherst has registered 25 shots on goal in just two games. Seven of these shots have found the back of the net, coming off the feet of six different players.

Perry leads the Jeffs in scoring, with four points off of two goals. He is also Amherst’s active leader in points, with 17 career goals and six assists.

With the ball in opponents’ territory so much, the Amherst goaltenders have not seen many shots. Lockwood has made four saves thus far and Dan Glenn ’05, who saw action in the season opener last week, has yet to come under fire. However, Lockwood says that he is ready for the deluge of shots he will inevitably have to face at some point this year.

“It’s great to have a talent pool like the one we have right now, because I face many really good shooters in practice on a daily basis, helping me feel more prepared,” said Lockwood. “I feel I’m playing pretty well in practice, and that will translate to games when I need to be more active.”

Amherst hosts Wheaton College at 4:30 p.m. today. The Wheaton Lyons, ranked 18th in the country, are 4-1, their one loss against the Bowdoin Polar Bears. Headlining the Lyon attack is tri-captain Matt Mancini, who registered a hat trick on Saturday against Keene State University.

The soccer team will then ride shotgun with the football team to Bates College this Saturday. The “real” footballers kick off at 11 a.m. Bates has lost both its NESCAC contests in the early going. They first fell in overtime, 2-1, at the hands of Trinity College, then received a 3-0 shellacking courtesy of state-mate Colby College. The Bobcats have won their only non-conference game of the year.

Amherst, for the time being, rests in a five-way tie for first place in the NESCAC. Amherst, Middlebury, Colby, Bowdoin and Williams Colleges are all 1-0 in conference play. However, the standings should spread out with the results of the coming weekend.