Men's Soccer: Sophomore scorers lead men to weekend sweep

The Lord Jeffs traveled to Hartford to kick off their season and wasted no time in getting on the board. Sophomore forward Mike Wohl scored in the fourth minute off assists by forward Joaquin Walker ’05 and defender Benjamin Bridges ’07. Amherst carried that lead throughout the first half, only to yield it in the 56th minute, when Russell Smith put the Bantams on the board. Trinity took the lead 11 minutes later when Craig Schneider took a pass from Spencer Bush-Brown and put it past Amherst goalie Greg Lockwood ’06.

With Amherst trailing late in the game, Wohl rose to the occasion. “We felt a sense of urgency near the end of the game and just began to dominate,” said Wohl. With just six minutes left to play, Rob Madden ’07 threw the ball in to midfielder Taylor Downs ’08, who then hit Wohl with a beautiful pass for the game-tying header. Neither team could put the game away in the final minutes of regulation, so the game headed into overtime.

After a scoreless first overtime, the Jeffs began relentlessly attacking the net. Just seconds into the period, Downs hit the post on a corner kick. The Amherst pressure persisted for the remainder of the game, culminating when Joe Gannon ’06 found Madden for the game winner with just a minute left to play.

Lockwood spoke highly of his team’s composure at the end of the game. “I don’t think we ever panicked, we just knew we had to get it done. We played calm and smart and kept plugging away and eventually we got it,” said the junior goalkeeper.

Lockwood turned in a stellar performance for the Jeffs, recording nine saves. Trinity’s Scott Johnson also played well, with 16 saves of his own, but could not fend off the barrage of Jeffs shots on goal.

To come away from the first NESCAC match of the season with a win was important to the Lord Jeffs. “This first win was good to get. It started out pretty ugly, but got better as the game progressed, and carried through the two overtimes,” said Lockwood. “We definitely showed a lot of mettle, and even if it wasn’t pretty, we were able to get the job done.”

The Lord Jeffs did not let the long game tire them out for their Sunday showdown. Instead, Amherst rode its offensive momentum into the game against visiting Roger Williams, trouncing the Hawks, 3-0. Lockwood had a much easier day in net, making only two saves to earn the shutout as Amherst continued to attack unremittingly. The Jeffs had a 14-7 advantage in shots and controlled possession for the vast majority of the game. “We just played a much better full game against Roger Williams. We came out a lot stronger,” said Wohl of the Jeffs’ offensive display.

The stars of the weekend, Wohl and Madden, continued to shine, as each recorded an assist. Wohl also added his third goal in two games. He helped the Jeffs take an early lead, sending a pass from the right sideline to Walker for the goal in the sixth minute. Wohl then teamed up with Madden, taking his long pass through the Roger Williams defense to set up a magnificent shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net at 32:28.

“Wohl and Madden played great this weekend. Madden is playing like a veteran right now and he stepped up big when we really needed him to,” said Lockwood. The sophomore duo led the Jeffs’ offensive onslaught, combining for four goals and two assists on the weekend

Although the Jeffs wouldn’t need any more scoring to defeat the Hawks, they continued to apply pressure throughout the game. Gannon added an insurance goal in the 86th minute, his first of the year. Junior forward Adrien de Bontin set up the goal, sending a deep pass down the right side to rookie Ryan O’Donnell, who hit Gannon for his first career assist.

Amherst takes the field again this afternoon, hoping to up its 2-0 mark as the team hosts Rivier College in a non-conference contest. The game will also serve as a tune-up for Amherst’s return to conference action on Saturday versus Bates College. Wohl expressed his team’s focus on the conference schedule, stating, “We hope to just take care of Rivier and get ready for Bates. Anything can happen in the NESCAC, as we saw last year, so we have to take every league game seriously.”

Lockwood echoed those sentiments, “Every NESCAC game is a big one and we have to be careful because, being one of the better teams in the league, we have a target on our chests,” he said.