AMHERST, Mass. – The 12th-ranked Amherst College men's lacrosse team received a seven-goal effort from Jack Norton and the Purple & White scored eight times in the first quarter to help seal a convincing, 20-11 victory over No. 20 Middlebury College in Saturday afternoon's NESCAC tilt at Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium.
With the win, Amherst has now won five straight to improve to 7-2 overall, 3-1 in league play, while Middlebury moves to 3-6 on the season, 1-4 in NESCAC action. Amherst returns to the field Wednesday, April 5 when it hosts league rival No. 14 Wesleyan University at 6 p.m.
After Middlebury struck first through Henry Riehl's goal at the 12:56 mark (assisted by Jake Schneider), Amherst answered with six consecutive goals to give the Purple & White a 6-1 advantage less than halfway through the first quarter. Brett Inglesby '18 scored on a feed from Max Keeley '18 to get the run started before Norton fired in the first of his string of tallies on a feed from Matt Killian '17. Dylan Finazzo '20 then won back-to-back faceoffs and aided Trenton Shore '19 in finding the back of the net as the duo struck twice to give the hosts a 4-1 lead. Brogan Mahon '19 then scored with help from Jackson Herrick '20 before Norton scored his second marker at the 8:57 mark (assisted by Andrew Ford '19) to make it 6-1. Jack Gould broke the rally for the Panthers with an unassisted goal at the 6:12 mark, but Ford and Norton closed out the period with back-to-back scoring strikes to make it 8-2 after 15 minutes of play. Colin Minicus '20 dished out the assist on Ford's goal.
In the second quarter, Middlebury quickly closed the gap with consecutive unassisted scores by Riehl, and one from John Simms with 9:20 to play in the first half, to help cut the Panthers' deficit to 8-5. The Purple & White extended their lead back to five as Norton scored with help from Ford, before Jimmy McAfee '20 found the back of the net with an unassisted goal to set the halftime score at 10-5.
Amherst pushed its lead to 12-5 early in the third quarter when Killian scored on a pass from Minicus, before Jamie Smith '19 went coast-to-coast and fired in an impressive shot to give the hosts a seven-goal cushion. A.J. Kucinski answered for Middlebury at the 8:53 mark and then assisted a Schneider goal 21 seconds later to make it 12-7. Amherst responded back with two more strikes and Norton and Minicus found the nylon with Shore aiding Minicus's score to make it 14-7 with 4:23 to play in the stanza. The Panthers fired the final salvo in the quarter as Riehl collected his fourth tally of the contest to make it 14-8.
Amherst pulled away early in the fourth frame scoring six straight in a span of 6:15. Minicus, Killian, and Herrick each scored a goal, while Norton provided two markers, including one on the extra-man opportunity, to make it 20-8. Minicus and Shore each added an assist during the run, while McAfee dished out two helpers. Middlebury closed out the contest with three goals as Parker Lawlor scored once, while Riehl netted twice more to set the final score at 20-11.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Finazzo was stellar at the faceoff stripe once again, collecting 16 ground balls and going 25-for-32 in the draw, while Sam Chen '17, Killian, Shore, McAfee, and Ford picked up four ground ball each.
- Smith and Chen each caused a pair of Middlebury turnovers, while Cody Tranbarger '17 preserved the win making 18 saves in the winning effort.
- Will Ernst suffered the loss for Middlebury, making 12 stops in goal, while also leading the team in ground balls with seven. Riehl added four scoops, while Joseph Zelkowitz and Matthew O'Neal picked up three ground balls each.