March 14, 2012

Huge Rally Lifts No. 5 Amherst Over Endicott

from press release

– The Amherst College men's lacrosse team fell into an early 3-0 hole against Endicott College Wednesday evening at Gooding Field, but the Lord Jeffs closed the first half with seven unanswered goals and pulled away for a 15-7 win.

Playing in their third game in five days, the seventh-ranked Jeffs improved to 3-0 on the young season. The Gulls—number 14 in the latest USILA poll—dropped to 1-3 with their third loss to a team ranked nationally in the top 10.

Cole Cherney '12 and Devin Acton '14 scored four goals apiece to lead the hosts, with Evan Redwood '12 adding three goals and one assist for his third consecutive four-point outing. Duncan Morrissey '14 finished 15-for-22 (.622) on face-offs and picked up 10 ground balls, marking one of the best performances of his career.

Kyle Weber had three goals and an assist as the bright spot for Endicott, with Joshua Tordik adding a goal and assisting on another.

Amherst held a 49-33 advantage in shots and won the ground ball battle (29-25), while its defense held Endicott to a 0-for-3 performance on man-up opportunities. Samuel Jakimo '12 stopped 13 shots for Amherst to improve to 3-0, while Tom Burke made 12 saves for the Gulls.

Endicott scored on its first shot of the game only 41 seconds into the contest, as Jon Thanas fed Kyle Burke to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead. It became 2-0 when Weber put home a rebound after a point-blank save by Jakimo, and Weber pushed his team's advantage to 3-0 on a dish from Joshua Tordik with 8:47 remaining in the opening quarter.

The rest of the half belonged to the Jeffs, who settled down after a timeout. Danny Gold '13 rattled the post early in the game but would connect on his second attempt, putting Amherst on the board 9:01 into the game. The Jeffs were given a man-up opportunity after Gold was knocked down on his shot, leading to Acton beating Burke from just inside the box for the team's first man-up goal of the season. Redwood tied the game at 3-3 when he fired a shot past Burke while backpedaling away from the net, and Aaron Mathias '14 gave Amherst its first lead at 4-3 with only 1:53 remaining in the opening period. The go-ahead goal began to take form when Gold scooped up a ground ball after an Endicott turnover, which helped the Jeffs carry a 4-3 advantage into the second quarter.

The first 10:40 of the second frame didn't feature any scoring, but Amherst opened the floodgates when a Redwood goal was sandwiched in between two from Cherney. The three-goal outburst came in a span of 1:39, giving the Jeffs a 7-3 lead at the break after they dominated time of possession in the second quarter.

Brendan Eppley gave some energy back to the visitors when he bounced a shot past Jakimo 3:39 into the third period, bringing the score to 8-4 and ending a scoreless drought of 27:25 for the Gulls. The final four goals of the quarter came from Amherst, though, as Cherney and Alex Fox '12 put home one apiece before Acton added two of his own. Acton's goals were separated by only 18 seconds, giving Amherst an 11-4 edge heading into the fourth.

Endicott showed signs of life when Tordik snapped another considerable scoring drought—this one lasting 15:08—early in the final period, and Weber completed the hat trick with a low shot through a crowd of defenders to make it an 11-6 contest with 9:38 on the clock.

That's as close as the Gulls would get, as Cherney's fourth goal of the night was quickly followed by a fourth from Acton, who capitalized on a Jakimo save by scoring on a fast break to deliver the dagger with only 7:49 remaining. Mathias pushed Amherst's lead to 14-6 and the teams traded goals in the last four minutes, bringing the final score to 15-7.

Fox finished with a goal and three assists for Amherst, while Mathias chipped in with two goals and a helper of his own. Redwood had five ground balls and maintained his shooting touch, as he scored three times on only four attempts. Rounding out the Lord Jeffs with multiple points was Ramsey Bates '13, who contributed a pair of assists.

The Gulls will host the University of New England next Monday, while the Lord Jeffs will resume their conference schedule this Saturday when they take on Bowdoin College in Orlando, Fla. The Polar Bears upset Amherst in last year's NESCAC Championship quarterfinals, 14-9.

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