Contact: Mike O'Brien
AMHERST, Mass. – For the second consecutive season, Williams advanced to the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Final Four as Chris Conder '15 scored the game winning goal at the 77th minute to give the Ephs a 1-0 win over second-ranked Amherst on Sunday at Hitchcock Field.
On a cold and windy day, Williams (15-6) walked away victorious, snapping the Jeffs (18-1-2) 40-game
unbeaten streak. Amherst claimed the previous two meetings against their NESCAC rival this season, earning a 1-0 double-overtime win on the road followed by a 1-0 win in the conference championship to claim its third-straight league title. However, in a rematch of the 2012 elite eight game, the Ephs won the third and final outing against the Jeffs this year. Last season, both teams played 110 scoreless minutes en route to a decisive penalty kick situation in which Williams advanced, 4-3.
Amherst posed the first strong scoring opportunity of the game today with just under 15 minutes of play when Nico Pascual-Leone '16 sent a cross to the front of the net. On his attempt to break up the play, Williams goalkeeper Peter Morrell '14 came out of net to punch the ball away. In doing so, he left the net wide open but a foul was called on Amherst as the Jeffs missed an opportunity to take an early lead.
Shortly after, Mohammed Rashid '16 showed off some great footwork while beating Jeff defenders in the process. Dribbling down the left side of the field, the sophomore dished it off to Matt Muralles '15 in the center of the field. Muralles connected on a one-timer but Amherst keeper Thomas Bull '16 made a spectacular diving save to keep the game scoreless.
With seven minutes remaining in the first half, Conder sent a shot from outside the 18-yard box directly through the Amherst defense. Heading towards the right post, Bull delivered again and dove to make another great stop for the Jeffs.
Midway through the second half, Julien Aoyama '14 sprinted with the ball past Eph defenders down the right side of the field. On his attempt on net, Morrell made a diving save as the ball bounced off his hands. With a loose ball directly in front of net, a Williams defender cleared it to disrupt any Jeffs scoring chance.
With 20 minutes remaining in regulation, Rashid received a cross and attempted a bicycle kick in front of the goal. A great look, the sophomore just missed high of the crossbar.
Several minutes later, following an Amherst foul, Conder lined up for a free kick and sent it over the heads of the Amherst defenders towards the left post, sneaking past the hands of Bull for the eventual game winner.
At the 85th minute, Rashid just missed on a chance for an insurance tally as he broke away from everyone with a loose ball heading towards net but Bull beat him to it to keep it a one goal game.
Williams maintained possession for the majority of the final minutes to keep it away from the Jeffs as they pulled away with the 1-0 win.
With a 6-5 advantage in shots after the first half, Williams added seven in the second period to Amherst's three as they claimed a 13-8 edge for the game. Both teams tallied four corner kicks as Morrell recorded his eighth shutout of the season. Bull made five stops between the posts for Amherst.
Amherst's season comes to an end after a terrific run in which they earned its first-ever No. 1 national ranking and its fourth NESCAC Championship. The team's 40-game unbeaten streak was an incredible feat, marking the sixth longest streak in NCAA Division III men's soccer history.