Trinity Men's Soccer Loses In NESCAC Finals At Amherst
Amherst, Mass. – Junior Spencer Noon scored in the 20th minute and sophomore Federico Sucre added an insurance goal early the second half to lead the Amherst College Lord Jeff men's soccer team to a 2-0 win over the visiting Trinity College Bantams this afternoon in the finals of the 2011 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Tournament. Trinity drops to 10-5-2 with its first loss in six games and hopes to be earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament when they are announced tomorrow afternoon. Amherst, ranked No. 6 in the nation, improves to 14-1-2 and earns the NESCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA field. The top-seeded Lord Jeffs claimed their second conference title in four years, while the No. 3-seeded Bantams were making their first-ever appearance in the NESCAC finals.
Trinity looked strong in the early going, as senior captain forward Dan Mayernick (Gladwyne, Pa.) forced Amherst senior goalkeeper Lennard Kovacs to come up with a diving save after a low shot to the far post from 20 yards out. Two minutes later junior midfielder Anthony El-Hachem (Vernon, Conn.) made a great run in the box, but his one-timer was blocked in front of the net by Amherst sophomore defender Ben Norton. Amherst's first scoring chance came in the 12th minute when Noon beat two Bantam defenders and was left in a one-on-one situation with Trinity senior captain goalkeeper Grant Schonberg (Mendham, N.J.). Noon tried to sneak a shot between the keeper's legs, but Schonberg knocked the ball away for his first of seven saves.
The Lord Jeffs got on the board when they took advantage of a free kick from 30 yards out. Senior defender Sam Kaplan delivered a perfect ball to Sucre, who rose over the Trinity defense and headed a pass to Noon in the middle of the box. With his back to the goal and no defender within five feet, Noon spun and hit a solid bicycle kick with his left foot. The ball ricocheted off the bottom of the crossbar and took a home-field bounce to give the Jeffs a 1-0 lead with 25:52 on the clock. Statistics were even at the half, with Amherst holding a slim 11-8 advantage in shots and the teams tied in corner kicks (3-3) and saves (4-4).
The hosts needed only two minutes and 23 seconds to add an insurance goal in the second half, again taking advantage of a set piece. Junior Chris Lerner sent in a free kick from the right side and Sucre once again got his head on the ball, deflected it on a high bounce that was enough to push ball by Schonberg and into the far post. Sucre's goal would be the highlight of an otherwise uneventful second half that featured only four shots on goal by the home squad. Trinity's last push came in the final six minutes , as sophomore back Zachary Packer (Mansfield, Mass.) came up from the back to one-time a shot from close but was denied by the fourth and last of Kovacs' saves. Mayernick's shot in the 89th minute from the right wing that rolled past Kovacs but just wide of the left post was the last scoring attempt of the day for the Bantams.