Contact: Ben Badua
HENNIKER, N.H. - Christopher Martin '17 finished with two goals and an assist to lead the eighth-ranked Amherst men's soccer team to a 4-1 season opening victory over New England College.
First-years factored into the scoring on all four Jeff markers, with Elliot Cassutt '17 finding the back of the net just before the half and Andrew Orozco '17 assisting on Martin's second tally. Sophomore standout Nico Pascual-Leone also got into the act with a goal and an assist.
Going all of last season without having trailed in a match, it took just 8:30 for Amherst to find itself behind in 2013. Playing a corner in the ninth minute, Rob Lucas '13 found the foot of Zak Harris '13, who one-timed a shot past sophomore Thomas Bull '16 to put the home team on the board.
Moving into the attacking third, Amherst found its equalizer at 25:07, as Martin sent Pascual-Leone in with a pass down the center of the Pilgrim defense. Outshooting New England 6-0 for the remainder of the half, the Jeffs pulled ahead in the 44th minute when Cassutt corralled a loose ball in front before tucking away his first collegiate score.
Hoping to change the momentum, NEC won three corners over the first 15 minutes of the second stanza, but could only produce one shot against a stout Amherst backline. Looking for an insurance goal, Pascual-Leone found Martin with a nicely placed through-ball down the middle of the pitch, sending the first-year in on a breakaway that made it 3-1.
Continuing to push forward, Martin wasted no time tallying his second marker, striking again just 1:56 later with a header off an Orozco cross.
Amherst finished with a decisive 16-4 shot advantage, as both teams earning six corners apiece. Bull, who led the nation in both goals-against average (0.15) and save percentage (.917) as a rookie, needed to make just one save to up his career mark to 16-0-2. Senior counterpart Robert Millard logged the majority of the minutes in net for New England, making all four of the team's saves.
The Jeffs return to action on Saturday, Sept. 7 with its home opener against NESCAC rival Middlebury College.