AMHERST, Mass. – The top-seeded Amherst College men's lacrosse team used a six-goal effort from Chris Albanese '17, and a six-assist outing from Quinn Moroney '16, and the Jeffs fended off a late rally to advance past No. 8 Colby College, 12-9 in Saturday afternoon's NESCAC quarterfinal game at Pratt Field.
With the win, Amherst improves to 15-1 on the season and advances to its second straight NESCAC semifinal contest and will host fifth-seeded Bates College Saturday, May 2 at Pratt Field at 12 p.m. The Bobcats topped No. 4 Wesleyan University, 14-11 in other quarterfinal action. Next Saturday's other semifinal contest will feature No. 2 Tufts University against No. 3 Middlebury College at Pratt Field at 3 p.m. Tufts edged No. 7 Hamilton, 15-12, while Middlebury outlasted No. 6 Williams College, 14-13.
The win for the fifth-ranked Jeffs ties the program's single-season record which was also achieved in 2011 and 2014. Amherst improves its winning streak to seven games, while Colby concludes its campaign 8-7 overall.
In the first quarter, Amherst struck first as Moroney netted his lone goal of the game at the 13:14 mark, before Austin Sayre answered with a marker for Colby just over a minute later following a feed from Sam Wasserman to even the score at 1-1. Moroney, the league's leading assist man, then found Albanese on three consecutive goals in a span of just under five minutes to set the score at 4-1 with 5:58 to play in the stanza. Moroney then delivered his fourth helper of the period to Michael Litner '16 who found the back of the net with eight ticks left to give the Purple & White a 5-1 lead after 15 minutes of play.
Just one minute into the second frame, Sayre notched his second goal of the game, but Amherst answered as Moroney found Albanese 15 seconds later to set the score at 6-2. A goal with 11 minutes remaining in the half by Matt Killian '17 lifted the Jeffs' advantage to 7-2. The Mules then received a goal by Jeff Vaz following a pass from Kevin Seiler. Charlie Gill '16 and Seiler then exchanged scores, and Albanese fired in his fifth, before Mark Philipps scored on an extra-man opportunity to set the score at 9-5 in favor of Amherst at intermission. Derek Youngman provided the assist on Philipps's goal.
Purple & White sophomore goalie Cody Tranbarger made 10 of his 26 saves in the second stanza as Colby outshot Amherst, 18-11 in the period. The Jeffs held a 30-25 edge in shots over the first two quarters and finished with a 62-45 advantage for the game.
In a third quarter that featured a surge of Amherst pressure, Colby net-minder Tyler Will kept the Mules within reach as he made 15 of his 30 saves in the third quarter. The Jeffs added two more goals in the frame, one each from Connor Sheehan '18 and Litner, to increase the advantage to 11-5. Albanese assisted on Litner's goal, before White Harwood closed out the scoring for the stanza at the 4:47 mark to make it 11-6.
After a back-and-forth start to the fourth session, Albanese delivered his final marker with 7:57 on the clock following a dish from Moroney to extend the Jeffs' lead to 12-6. The Mules orchestrated a late rally as Peter Willauer fired in an unassisted goal at the 6:01 mark, before Grimaldi scored on a pass from Sayre less than a minute later to pull Colby to within four at 12-8 with 5:09 to play in the contest. Youngman then connected on a goal with 2:16 to play in the game following a feed from Tanner Holifield, and the Mules won the ensuing faceoff to gain possession down by three (12-9). A turnover caused by Amherst's Kevin Curry '15, coupled with a pair of late saves by Tranbarger, allowed the Purple & White to seal the win and advance to next week's semifinal round.
Ryan Cassidy '16 and Rob Butko '16 led Amherst's defensive efforts with eight groundballs and four caused turnovers respectively. Patrick Routh '15 was stellar in midfield play for the Jeffs and finished with five groundball pickups, while Tranbarger, Moroney, Corey Schwab '15, and Ian Kadish '18 added four each. Killian chipped in three caused turnovers in the winning effort.
Colby's Austin Frank was 16-for-24 on faceoffs and picked up a game-high nine groundballs, while Will and Alex Rutan finished with five each. Kenny Jacobson caused a trio of opponent turnovers in the loss.