Amherst, Mass. – Amherst College junior attack Cole Cherney (Chappaqua, N.Y.) netted two goals in the final 3:38 to break a 6-6 deadlock and lead the No. 9-ranked Amherst College Lord Jeffs to an 8-6 win over the visiting No. 13-ranked Trinity College Bantams, 8-6, in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men's lacrosse action on Gooding Field. Trinity fisihes the regular season at 11-3 overall and 6-3 in the NESCAC, matching the College-record for wins, and will host Wesleyan in a NESCAC Championship First Round game on Sunday, May 1 at 1 p.m. Amherst ends the regular slate at 13-1 overall and 8-1 in the league, setting a program record in wins with 13 and securing the No. 2 seed in the league tourney. Amherst will host Bowdoin in a quarterfinal game on Sunday.
After winning the opening face-off, the Lord Jeffs controlled possession for much of the first five minutes of action, firing the game’s first three shots, but Trinity junior goalkeeper Peter Johnson (Riverside, Conn.) made a pair of saves during that span to keep things scoreless. The Bantams quickly capitalized on an early opportunity, as sophomore midfielder Nick Shaheen (Williamsburg, Mass.) one-timed Trinity’s first chance of the day into the back of the Lord Jeffs’ goal to open scoring at 10:52. Nearly seven and a half scoreless minutes later, Amherst’s Alex Fox (Garden City, N.Y.) recorded the Purple and White’s first tally of the afternoon, but with time winding down, Trinity senior attackman Greg Brennan(Setauket, N.YY.) took a Jeff Hebert (Cornwall, Ontario) pass and fired a low shot into the Amherst net to break the deadlock with just over 20 seconds left in the first. Amherst first-years Nizam Ghani (Washington, D.C.) and Devin Acton (Sudbury, Mass.) combined on a quick second quarter score, with Acton putting a well placed shot just over Johnson’s right shoulder to once again pull Amherst even.
Fox soon after found Cherney in open space in front of the Trinity net, with Cherney quickly turning to fire the go-ahead goal at 6:31. Just 1:25 later, Fox notched his second unassisted tally to push the margin to 4-2, but a falling Alex Bertles (Palm Beach, Fla.) soon responded, beating Amherst junior goalkeeper Sam Jakimo (Woodbury, N.Y.) before hitting the turf to trim the Bantam deficit to one. With just under three to go, Lord Jeffs junior midfielder Will Reed (Riverside, Conn.), caught Johnson off guard with a long shot from the right side, sneaking in the squad’s fifth score as Amherst took a two-goal margin into the intermission.
The Bantams registered a pair of shots over the first several minutes of action before hitting the Amherst post at 13:22. Trinity sophomore attack Rob Nogueras (Parkland, Fla.) finally broke through just under the 12 and a half minute mark, but Fox quickly quelled the surging Bantam momentum, registering his third score of the game moments later. In the fourth quarter, Brennan got a good look from the right side, but Jakimo slid over just in time to cover the near post before tracking down the carom in the right corner to smother the Trinity threat. Brennan later caused a turnover in the Amherst zone, scooping up the ground ball and racing toward the Lord Jeff goal to put away the squad’s fifth score at 6:07. Looking for the equalizer, Bantam sophomore midfielder Jeff Rautiola (Acton, Mass.) found classmate Steve Manning (Tyngsboro, Mass. alone, who rifled a high shot into the Amherst netting and tie the game. Cherney picked off an errant Trinity pass, before floating a long shot into an open Bantam net at the 3:38 mark, as Amherst regained the lead, 7-6. Cherney struck again 1:29 later, turning a Fox helper into the team’s eighth goal and securing the Lord Jeffs’ victory.
Brennan paced the Trinity attack with a pair of scores, while Nogueras, Shaheen, Manning and Bertles each put up a score. Johnson make eight saves in the loss, while Hebert and senior defenseman Ted Bascom (Sudbury, Mass.) shared the team-lead in ground balls with five apiece. Fox led Amherst with five points on three goals and two assists, while Cherney finished with a hat trick. Reed and Acton each got on the board in the Lord Jeffs’ win. Jakimo made 13 saves in net, collecting a team-high eight ground balls en route to his 13th-consecutive victory. Amherst finished the game with a 39-26 shot advantage and 41-34 edge in ground balls, while going 13-for-18 on clears and 19-for-24 on face-offs. Both teams finished 0-for-3 in man-up opportunities.