Three home games. Three wins.
After losing to No. 4 Tufts in overtime on Oct. 16, Amherst men’s soccer closed the regular season on a strong note, beating Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) 1-0 before dispensing NESCAC rivals Colby College and Trinity College 2-0 and 3-0, respectively.
With the wins, the Mammoths secured the number-two seed in the NESCAC playoffs. They kick off the postseason at home this coming weekend.
The game against WPI, played the night of Oct. 20 at Gooding Field in Amherst, was hard-fought and closer than the final score might indicate. The Mammoths, accustomed to dominating games — especially against out-of-conference opponents — only outshot WPI 11-9, with both teams putting four shots on net. Amherst goalkeeper Kofi Hope-Gund ’22 was forced to make four saves. The team, which usually thrives on set pieces, won just one corner kick.
The game could have taken on a radically different complexion in the 24th minute, when a shot from WPI’s Franco Bazzini narrowly missed, bouncing off the crossbar.
Instead, the deciding goal came in the 39th minute via a German Giammattei ’22 freekick — one of Amherst’s best goals of the season. After a WPI foul just outside the 18-yard box, Giammattei calmly shaped the ball with his right foot, producing a swooping effort that started a few feet outside the goalpost before curling into the top-right corner.
Amherst held onto their narrow margin across the final 45 minutes of the game, securing a much-needed bounce-back win.
The momentum continued into the weekend, which saw the Mammoths pick up a convincing win over the Colby Mules in their second-to-last game of the regular season on Oct. 23. With a large crowd of Amherst students and their families in town for Family Day looking on at Hitchcock Field, the Mammoths played some of their best soccer of the season.
Amherst thoroughly dominated possession, as the Mules struggled to advance the ball beyond the halfway line. On the rare occasions in which they lost the ball, the Mammoths seemed to win back the ball immediately. The final score — 2-0 — perhaps flatters the Mules, who were outshot 13-2 and failed to put a single shot on net.
The Mammoths, who typically rely heavily on set pieces to generate their offense, were able to effectively break down the Mules’ defense in open play. Ada Okorogheye ’24 tormented the Mules’ left-back all afternoon, cutting in from the wing and dribbling past Colby defenders seemingly at will. In the 44th minute, he drove down the left side towards the goal line before cutting the ball back into the box. First-year defensive midfielder Laurens ten Cate ’25 made a strong run towards the net, nudging Okorogheye’s cross past the Colby goalkeeper to open the scoring. The goal was the first of the season for ten Cate, who has started nine games in his first season as a Mammoth.
Amherst doubled their advantage in the second half by way of Jonny Novak ’24. Niall Murphy ’25 won the ball off a Colby defender at the top of the 18-yard box and then played a ball into the box to Novak, who calmly slotted a low shot past the Mules’ goalkeeper. The win was the Mammoths’ 28th in their last 31 matchups against the Mules.
The offensive onslaught picked back up at Gooding Field on Oct. 26. The Mammoths matched their highest goal total of the season, putting three past the Trinity goalkeeper.
As expected, the Mammoths saw the lion’s share of possession against the Bantams, who have not won a game in the conference all season.
In the first half, the Amherst offense came tantalizingly close to scoring, hitting the woodwork three separate times. Despite coming within inches, the Mammoths failed to convert until the 60th minute, when ten Cate headed a Giammattei cross past the Bantam’s keeper, notching his second goal in two games.
The insurance goal came eight minutes later. Giammattei caught the Trinity back line sleeping, running into the space behind the two central defenders to meet an inch-perfect swinging cross from Ignacio Cubbedu ’23, and then placing a header beyond the keeper’s reach. It was his eighth goal of the season.
With less than 12 minutes remaining in the regular season, and most of their starters resting on the bench, the Mammoths again added to their tally. Jack O’Brien ’22 slid a pass across the face of goal, threading the needle between the Bantam’s keeper and a defender; Joe Raymond ’24 sent the point-blank chance into the back of the net.
The final whistle marked the end of another impressive season for the Mammoths: 12 wins, two loses, one draw, and a number-10 national ranking. Seeking to return to the heights they reached last season (2019), in which they fell to Tufts in the Division III National Championship Game, the Mammoths begin their postseason run on Saturday, Oct. 30 with a conference quarterfinal matchup against the Colby Mules. The game will be played in Amherst, with kickoff at 12 p.m.