AMHERST, Mass. – Nico Pascual-Leone '16 struck from 25 yards out in the top left hand corner in the 106th minute of action to lead the No. 4 Amherst College men's soccer team to a thrilling, 1-0 double overtime victory over No. 12 Tufts University Saturday afternoon at Hitchcock Field.
Tufts (5-2-1, 3-1-1 NESCAC)
Amherst (8-0-0, 4-0-0 NESCAC)
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS
- Amherst controlled the pace of play to start the contest, outshooting Tufts, 6-1 in the frame.
- In the 23rd minute of play, Greg Singer '16 ripped a low shot from the right side of the 18-yard box that drifted just wide of the post.
- In the 29th minute, Pascual-Leone had a chance from just inside the six-yard box after he received a cross in from Rohan Sood '17, but Tufts' goalie Scott Greenwood turned away the close range shot to keep the match level.
- Greenwood finished with three saves in the first half, while Purple & White goalkeeper Thomas Bull '16 stopped a Kevin Halliday shot and notched one save in the half.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS
- The second stanza saw Amherst hold a 10-6 edge in shots, with Luke Nguyen '19 testing Greenwood early in the 51st minute.
- The Jumbos had a chance to take the lead at the 71:51 mark when Matt Zinner fired on target, but Amherst defender Justin Aoyama '17 made a sliding block to keep the score set at 0-0.
- In the 80th minute, Christopher Martin '17 found space down the left wing and beat a defender at the top of the box and drilled a curling shot that went just inches wide of the far post past the outstretched arms of Greenwood.
- Pascual-Leone continued to pressure the Tufts defensive third of the field as he had two attempts – including a header with just 30 seconds remaining in regulation – cleared off the line by defenders, and a free kick sail just inches above the crossbar.
- After the first 10 minutes of overtime saw neither team able to claim victory, the Jumbos had a pair of shots go wide of the post as neither Rui Pinheiro or Tyler Kulcsar could find the back of the net.
- With 4:13 left in regulation, Andrew Orozco won a header and directed the ball to the foot of Pascual-Leone who curled a shot into the upper left hand corner from 25 yards out to give Amherst a thrilling victory.
- Bull finished with four saves in the shutout win, while Greenwood made eight saves in the losing effort.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Saturday's win marked the third straight double overtime victories for the Purple & White.
- The contest also marked the first annual Moe Zeidan Cup which is awarded annually to the winner of the regular season match between the men's soccer teams of Amherst and Tufts. Moe attended Amherst where he earned his undergraduate degree in neuroscience, played four years as a goalkeeper for the soccer team, and served as student body president during his senior year. Later, he enrolled as a doctoral candidate at the Tufts School of Medicine, where he successfully completed three years of the program before being involved in a fatal bicycle accident days after beginning his fourth and final year.
QUOTES FROM AMHERST HEAD COACH JUSTIN SERPONE
- "College soccer games don't get better than that. It's unfortunate someone had to win and lose because Tufts battled so hard today."
- "We're pleased with our start, but it's still early. We need to focus on improving and being prepared for every game."
- Amherst travels to Newburgh, N.Y. Wednesday, Oct. 7 for an 8 p.m. contest with non-conference foe Mt. St. Mary College.
- Tufts returns to the pitch Sunday afternoon for a NESCAC contest at Hamilton College at 1:30 p.m.