By Ryan Conti '11
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men's lacrosse team closed out the 2009 regular season this afternoon with a NESCAC match-up against Trinity College at Gooding Field. Amherst led the entire game, holding on for an 11-10 win. Prior to today's game, Amherst mathematically wrapped up the 8th seed in the upcoming NESCAC Championship, and will travel to face top-seed Middlebury College on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Today's game marked the final home appearance for the Amherst class of 2009. Seniors Nick Gilligan (The Woodlands, TX), Evan O'Roark (S. Hadley, MA), Jelani Lundy-Harris (Oakland, CA), Brett Miller (Wantagh, NY), and Thomas Foote (Newtonville, MA) join quad-captains Matt Pietroforte (Brooklyn, NY), Tim Thornton (Garden City, NY), Clint Marchese (Waltham, MA) and Chris Fitzpatrick (Fort Salonga, NY) as graduating players next month.
Amherst started off the scoring early with a first-year connection when Evan Redwood (Lutherville, MD) found Alex Fox (Garden City, NY) for an early goal. Trinity responded minutes later when Max Alderman beat an Amherst defender one-on-one, before finding the upper corner of the net.
The Amherst rookies continued to have success with another goal by Fox, this time assisted by Dan Routh (Allendale, NJ). Seconds later the Lord Jeff upperclassmen got in the scorebook when Thomas McDonnell(Manhasset, NY) found the back of the net. Each team tallied one more goal before the end of the first period, with goals coming from Foote for Amherst and Harper Cullen for Trinity.
McDonnell got his third point of the game when Luke Arnold (Lincoln, MA) found him on the crease in the second period. Shortly after, McDonnell returned the favor, finding Arnold on the crease this time, bringing the Amherst lead to 6-2.
Trinity closed the gap with two unanswered goals by Art Schweitzer and Cullen, his 45th of the year. Redwood answered with an unassisted goal of his own before the end of the half, to make the score 7-4 in Amherst's favor at the break.
Amherst opened the second half similar to the first, when Routh found Arnold for his second goal just one minute in. McDonnell, not wanting to be out-done, found a loose ball in front of the crease before beating Trinity goalie Graham Fadden to complete his hat-trick.
Trinity closed the gap with three unanswered goals, the first by offensive standout Cullen, completing a hat-trick of his own. With the score 10-8 in Amherst's favor, the familiar duo of Arnold to McDonnell struck once again to send Amherst into the fourth quarter up three.
Trinity brought the score to within one behind goals by Schweitzer and Cullen. However, the Amherst first-year class, appreciating the gravity of senior day, continued to make big plays. This time it was Redwood finding the back of the net, extending the lead to two with five minutes remaining.
Amherst's defense protected the two-goal lead nearly the rest of the way, giving up the game's final goal with just 30 seconds remaining. Trinity won the ensuing face-off before an errant shot went out of bounds with the Bantams backing up the shot. In the final seconds, Cullen was able to gain a half step on Fitzpatrick, but was unable to beat Pietroforte for the tying goal. Time ticked off with the Amherst defense playing keep-away, ending the game with an 11-10 win for the Lord Jeffs.
McDonnell was the high point man for Amherst with four goals and two assists for six points, while Arnold chipped in with two goals and two assists. Cullen finished the day with five goals for the Bantams. Pietroforte made 14 saves in his final home game for Amherst, while Fadden made 12 stops in net for Trinity.