This past Saturday afternoon, fter two nights of torrential downpour, the Mammoths hosted Colby in the semifinals of the NESCAC tournament on Hitchcock Field. No. 4 Amherst downed fifth-seeded Bowdoin in the first round to secure progress to the semifinals, while Colby took down top-ranked Tufts in penalty kicks the week prior.
Amherst pushed hard from the first whistle and looked to be the more confident and composed side. In the opening minutes, Will Cohen ’19 managed to head a shot on target, but the Mules’ netminder Dan Carlson parried the shot away.
In the ninth minute, completely against the run of play, Colby’s Asa Berolzheimer found himself racing upfield with several Amherst defenders harrying him.
Berolzheimer sent a pass to his left to the waiting Jeff Rosenberg, who used his first touch to fire the ball past Mammoths goalie Bernie White ’22 and give Colby the early lead.
After the restart, Amherst immediately turned on the pressure in an attempt to quickly find an equalizing goal. Fikayo Ajayi ’19 had a chance saved, German Giammattei ’22 sent a shot wide of the net and center back Felix Wu ’21 had two headers sail just over the crossbar.
However, all these efforts were for naught, as the Mammoths entered halftime scoreless and frustrated, while Colby seemed content with its one-goal lead.
Shockingly, though, it was the Mules who started the second half stronger, again scoring early. A throw-in from Cam Clouse found its way through a scrum of Mammoths and Mules and landed at the feet of Rosenberg, who cooly slotted the ball past White for his and Colby’s second goal of the game. The Mules’ second goal shook Amherst out of its slumber, and the hosts took five shots in the next few minutes.
In the 57th minute, though, Colby put the final nail in the Mammoths’ coffin, scoring its third goal of the game again against the run of play. The Mules capitalized on an indirect free kick by Berolzheimer, whose shot deflected off an Amherst defender and nestled into the back of the net with White unable to do anything to stop it.
The Mammoths did manage to pull one goal back when left-back Bryce Johnson ’21 uncorked a volley past the Mules’ goalie to make the scoreline 3-1.
Although the final 30 minutes saw Amherst commit every man forward in the hopes of finding two more goals, Johnson’s ultimately proved to be the hosts’ only tally of the game.
Colby held on for the 3-1 win despite being outshot 27-7 by the Mammoths, and finished off its Cinderella run in the conference tournament on Sunday, when the Mules managed to beat Williams to earn the NESCAC title and its attendant automatic bid for the NCAA tournament.
Even with the loss, however, Amherst’s season will continue. The Mammoths earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, and in the first round, Amherst will host Bridgewater State University on Hitchcock Field this coming Saturday, Nov. 10.