MIDDLEBURY, VT – The 8h-seeded Amherst College men's lacrosse team took to the road this afternoon to open the 2009 NESCAC Championship Tournament at top-seed Middlebury College. Amherst trailed just 1-0 after the first period, before getting out-scored 12-4 in the second and third quarters en route to a 16-7 loss.
With the defeat, Amherst's season comes to an end with a 6-8 (3-6 NESCAC) record, while the Panthers improve to 13-1 (8-1). Middlebury advances to next weekend's NESCAC semifinals, where they will host play and face the lowest remaining seed.
Middlebury's Mike Stone scored the only goal of the first period, with Amherst senior quad-captain Matt Pietroforte (Brooklyn, NY) making five saves to keep the Lord Jeffs in the game. Stone scored the first of two early second-quarter Middlebury goals, to open up a 3-0 lead.
Amherst responded with a score at the 8:58 mark of the second frame from rookie Alex Fox (Garden City, NY) off a feed from sophomore Luke Arnold (Lincoln, MA). Middlebury's offense exploded over the next six minutes, scoring four straight goals to open up a 7-1 lead. With 15 seconds to play in the second, Amherst junior J.T. Milone (Manhasset, NY) scored off a Fox assist to close the margin to five goals heading into the half.
After a trio of Panther scores to start the third quarter, Amherst and Middlebury traded scores with the Jeffs getting tallies from senior Thomas Foote (Newtonville, MA) and Fox. The Lord Jeffs were unable to close the score any further, as Middlebury rolled off five consecutive goals to take a 16-4 lead.
Amherst refused to give up despite trailing by insurmountable odds, and played well in the final minutes of the game. The Lord Jeffs finished out their season scoring a trio of even-strength goals. Senior Brett Miller (Wantagh, NY) scored two of the goals, with Luke Arnold scoring the third and assisting on one of Miller's goals.
The Lord Jeffs played the Panthers to a 3-3 fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late, as the Panthers cruised to a 16-7 win. Fox led the Jeffs with two goals and an assist, while Miller added two goals, and Arnold had a goal and two assists. Miller ends his career with 117 points on 39 goals and 78 assists.
Miller will graduate next month alongside eight classmates in the class of 2009. Pietroforte had 15 assists in the loss today, and ends his career with 469 saves in four seasons. Also graduating are seniors Foote, Nick Gilligan (The Woodlands, TX), Evan O'Roark (S. Hadley, MA), Jelani Lundy-Harris (Oakland, CA), Tim Thornton (Garden City, NY), Clint Marchese (Waltham, MA) and Chris Fitzpatrick (Fort Salonga, NY). The class of 2009 made numerous contributions to the program, and will be missed both on and off the field next season.