Coming off a strong win over Williams in the NESCAC quarterfinals, men’s lacrosse traveled to Medford, Massachusetts, to battle the Bowdoin Polar Bears in a NESCAC semifinal bout on May 7. To say both teams came into the game hot is an understatement — Amherst had won six straight games coming into this matchup, while Bowdoin had only suffered one loss all season. The teams had played each other back on April 2, where Bowdoin jumped out to an 11-3 lead and held off a late rally from the Mammoths to win 15-12. So, coming into Saturday, the Mammoths were looking for both revenge and a berth in the title game the following day. While the Mammoths gave themselves a 14-11 lead late in the game, Bowdoin scored four goals in the closing nine minutes to best the Mammoths 15-14 and advance to the NESCAC finals.
The Mammoths started the game quickly, getting on the board only 10 seconds into the game off a goal from Brock Gonzalez ’23, assisted by John Fitzhenry ’24. But Bowdoin responded with three goals of their own to make it a 3-1 game. The Mammoths bounced back, as Connor Guest ’24 found Gonzalez for another goal to bring Amherst within one with 9:43 left in the opening frame. Gonzalez’ tally would be the first of three straight goals for the Mammoths: Tanyr Krummenacher ’23 tied the game off a pass from Bayard DeMallie ’23, and a Ben Bruno ’25 goal, assisted by Brodie Rayment ’23, gave the Mammoths the lead. However, Bowdoin tied the score at four at the end of the first.
The game went back and forth in the second, as PJ Clementi ’22 got the scoring started with a goal to retake the lead 5-4. Bowdoin responded to tie the game before Clementi scored twice more off assists from Gonzalez and Matt Adams ’23 to make it 7-5 Amherst. Bowdoin responded with four straight goals to give the Polar Bears a 9-7 advantage going into halftime.
Amherst again responded well, this time in the beginning of the third quarter, as they scored three straight goals to regain the lead. Krummenacher got the scoring started with an unassisted goal to bring the Mammoths within one. Gonzalez scored his third of the day, unassisted, to tie the score at nine apiece. Then, Clementi scored his fourth off a beautiful pass from Krummenacher to give Amherst the lead. In a game full of runs, Bowdoin scored another goal to even the score at 10. Guest netted to give the Mammoths the lead back at 11-10, before Bowdoin again evened the score at 11.
However, Amherst seized the momentum back as Jake Bennett ’24 scored off an assist from Krummenacher to make it 12-11. The Mammoths found their stride, as Gonzalez scored his fourth goal of the day off an assist from Guest to give the Mammoths a 13-11 lead, and Guest capped off the run with another tally to make it 14-11 Amherst with 9:15 left in the game.
It seemed that Amherst would continue their winning ways, but Bowdoin rebounded with a run of their own to close the game. They scored their first goal with 7:49 left to make it 14-12, then tallied another with 1:34 left to get within one. With very little time left, the Mammoths seemed assured of a victory. But then, the Polar Bears scored a goal with 15 seconds left to tie the score at 14. With overtime imminent, the Polar Bears scored the game-winning goal with eight seconds left, their second goal in seven seconds of game time, to advance to the NESCAC Championship game.
While the Mammoths didn’t conclude their conference tournament the way they might have wanted to, their achievements have not gone unrecognized. Earlier in the week, Gonzalez was awarded Second Team-All NESCAC honors for his offensive prowess, with teammates Rayment, DeMallie, and Nicholas Kopp ’25 also receiving the honor for their terrific seasons. Amherst also finished with a top-five offense in the conference this season and a defense that showed terrific improvement over the course of the season.
And the Mammoths’ season is not over: On Sunday night, they received an at-large bid to and first-round bye in the NCAA tournament. They will play a 16-0 MIT team in the second round on Saturday, May 14, at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Ryan Rahbany ’24 emphasized the excitement of this matchup, saying, “We’re matched up against a talented MIT team, and we’re ready to hand them their first loss of the year.”
The Mammoths’ first NCAA tournament game will begin in Rochester at 3 p.m.