AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men's lacrosse team played host to NESCAC rival Middlebury College this afternoon at Gooding Field in a rare mid-week conference game. Amherst went punch-for-punch with the perennial powerhouse, but dropped a 13-11 result.
Amherst junior Tom McDonnell (Manhasset, NY) scored the first goal of the game less than two minutes into the first quarter, finishing off a feed from Brett Miller (Wantagh, NY). Middlebury's Tom Petty responded to score a pair of goals with 12:47, and 10:39, to play in the first quarter, putting the Panthers on top 2-1.
After over seven scoreless minutes, Miller scored to spark the Lord Jeff offense. Teammates Luke Arnold (Lincoln, MA) and Dan Routh (Allendale, NY) followed suit, putting Amherst up 4-2 with less than a minute to play in the frame. Middlebury's Pete Smith scored with just one second to play in the first, cutting Amherst's lead down to 4-3.
The second quarter saw Middlebury out-score the Lord Jeffs 3-1, as Skyler Hopkins put home all three of the Panthers' scores in the period. Hopkins finished with four goals on the day to match Petty's four scores for Middlebury.
Coming out of the half, Amherst quickly tied the game as Miller found rookie Evan Redwood (Lutherville, MD) for a no-look score on the doorstep. The score started a back-and-forth period that three times saw the Panthers answer Amherst scores. The highlight of the third quarter came from Amherst sophomore defender Gabe Mann (Denver, CO). Mann split a pair of Middlebury defenders at half-field, before carrying the ball 40 yards for a laser to tie the game 8-8.
Middlebury closed the third with a goal from Chris Teves, with just 12 seconds remaining on the clock, but Amherst's Tim Thornton (Garden City, NY) and Miller scored back-to-back goals to give the Jeffs a 10-9 lead with 11:14 to play in the fourth.
The Amherst defense played tough, and held Middlebury off the board for nearly four minutes, before Petty put home a Pete Smith feed to tie the game 10-10. The Panthers scored three more goals over the next three minutes, as Petty, Matt Ferrer and Hopkins put Amherst in a 13-10 hole. McDonnell added a score with 2:42 to play, but Amherst was unable to get possession again and close the gap any further.
The Lord Jeffs put forward a stellar effort, winning the ground ball battle 33-28, while going 19-for-20 on clears. Middlebury held a 37-35 edge in shots, but Amherst goalie Matt Pietroforte (Brooklyn, NY) was sensational with 12 saves. Middlebury's Peter Britt made 11 saves for the win, moving his record to 6-1. Miller finished with two goals, and four assists to lead Amherst with six points in the loss. Smith dished out four goals to go along with one goal to lead Middlebury with five points.
Amherst falls to 4-4 (2-3 NESCAC) on the year with the loss, while Middlebury improves to 6-1 (4-1 NESCAC) with the victory. The Lord Jeffs will head to Williams on Saturday afternoon, before taking a much-needed week off to prepare for Wesleyan.