In the Springfield game the Jeffs were in top form from the opening whistle. The scoring onslaught was ignited when senior captain Carlo Valdesolo took a nice pass from junior midfielder Jeff Cantwell to score in the first minute of play.
Joe Gannon ’06 had a stellar performance on the afternoon, notching his first career hat trick. Gannon was aided by assists from Valdesolo, Cantwell and junior midfielder Josh Holt on his goals. Gannon scored his three goals within 20 minutes of each other in the first half, and sophomore midfielder Joaquin Walker added another on a nifty pass from Andrew Syfu ’05 before the break to give the Jeffs an impressive five-goal lead.
“Springfield defeated us last year, and we came ready to play and get some revenge,” said defender Mike York ’04. “It was a great game because we got to put in a lot of younger guys and give everyone a chance to play.”
Springfield finally got on the scoreboard with a goal in the last five minutes of the half, but it was their first and only goal of the game. The Jeffs kept the pressure high and scored two more goals before the end of the game. Cantwell scored his second goal of the afternoon and junior midfielder Valentin Burlacu scored his first goal of the season to add even more insurance for the Jeff victory.
Against Middlebury on Saturday, the Jeffs played a fairly evenly skilled match but were once again not able to capitalize on scoring opportunities, a problem they have had all year in NESCAC play. After 43 minutes of scoreless play, Middlebury broke into the scoring column when forward Brian Lavin blasted a rebound into the back of the net, giving the Panthers a one goal lead at the end of the first half of play.
“Middlebury is always a tough team, and they play a very physical game. When they scored with only a minute remaining in the first half, it was a big let-down going into the break,” said York. “In the second half they just packed it in defensively and although we controlled play we could not penetrate.”
The second half was again evenly played, and although Amherst had more control of the ball they could not find the back of the net. The Panthers sealed the victory with only 30 seconds left in the game on a controversial off-sides which was not called. Middlebury forward Kellan Florio took advantage, taking a pass that he put in the back of the net.
“It was a frustrating loss for us because we played Middlebury quite evenly. They simply capitalized on the few chances they had while we could not,” said senior captain Roger Boulay of the defeat. “Andrew Syfu played great, he shut down the Middlebury attack again and again, and David Michener [’03] and Chris Kane [’03] also played well. It is disappointing and unexpected for us to be 1-3 in the NESCAC at this point in our season, however we are determined to get results in our remaining games.”
The Jeffs have the opportunity to even out their record this week, with big NESCAC matchups against Connecticut College on Thursday, and Colby College this coming Saturday.
“At this point in the season, we need to take some big victories in the upcoming league games,” said junior midfielder Tim Canon. “Lately we’ve been improving our play, but we need more than the moral victory, we need to start posting some results.”