Men's Soccer

2017 RECORD: 7-2-2; NESCAC: 4-2-2; NR:15 NCAA NATIONAL TITLES: 1 (2015) NESCAC TITLES: 5 (2008, '11, '12, '13, '16)

Derby Nets Game-Winner in 97th Minute as Amherst Edges Rutgers-Newark, 2-1

Derby Nets Game-Winner in 97th Minute as Amherst Edges Rutgers-Newark, 2-1

AMHERST, Mass. – Sebastian Derby '21 tallied his first collegiate goal in the 97th minute as the Amherst College men's soccer team edged No. 9 Rutgers University-Newark, 2-1 in overtime Sunday afternoon at Hitchcock Field.  

"I couldn't be more proud of our guys. It's funny, two weeks ago the narrative was that "Amherst was down this year", etc.  We've got a long way to go but two top-10 wins in 48 hours should calm people down," said head coach Justin Serpone. "We started five first-years each day this weekend and we lost 7 starters from a year ago – it was always going to take some time. The goal is to be better in October than we were in September and I firmly believe this team has its best soccer ahead of them." 

With the win, Amherst improves to 4-1-1 and hands Rutgers-Newark its first loss of the season as the Scarlet Raiders fall to 12-1-0 on the year. Amherst returns to action on Wednesday, Oct. 4, when they host New England College in a non-conference matchup at 4 p.m.

The Mammoths took a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the contest. Dishing a pass, Aziz Khan '18 connected with Fikayo Ajayi '19 near the end line to the left of the goal. Cutting back on a defender and powering a point blank shot on target, Andres Medina proved up to the task, but Ajayi followed his own rebound and beat the netminder high to log his second goal of the fall.

"It was great to see Fikayo score the first goal today," said Serpone. "Good things happen to good people. He's such an important part of our team and someone who deserves to be recognized."

Racing into Amherst territory on the ensuing kickoff, Rutgers-Newark attempted to find Chigozie Atubi on a through pass behind the Mammoths' defense, but Kyle Kelly '21 made a great slide tackle to deflect the ball to safety.

Kofi Hope Gund '21 notched his first big save of the day with 5:51 remaining before halftime, as he knocked down a hard shot by Fabio De Sousa from 15 yards out and smothered the rebound to preserve the Mammoths one-goal lead.

Jimmy McMillian '20 looked to double Amherst's advantage at the 55:54 mark, as he ran onto a leading pass and drove a hard shot on target, but Medina dove to his right to come up with the stop.  

Breaking through in the 61st minute, De Sousa evened the contest at 1-1 with 28:26 to play in regulation. Streaking down the left side, De Sousa made the most of the opportunity after an Amherst defender lost his footing, chipping a shot over the keeper and into the top left corner of the goal.

Ajayi made a final bid to break the deadlock with 1:17 on the clock, as Sean Fitzgerald '19 split the defense to find Ajayi open 8 yards from net, but his shot went just wide.

The Mammoths capped off the victory at the 97:55 mark, with Bryce Johnson '21 and Felix Wu '21 being credited with the assists as Derby volleyed a shot into the nylon to direct Amherst to the 2-1 overtime win.

GAME NOTES

  • In between the pipes, Hope Gund (3-0-1) recorded eight stops for Amherst in the winning effort, while Medina (12-1-0) made five saves for the Scarlet Raiders.
  • Amherst owned a 19-14 edge in shots in the matchup, including a 4-0 advantage in overtime, and a 9-6 edge in corner kicks.
  • Ajayi and Kelly each took four shots to lead the Mammoths' offensive effort, while De Sousa posted a team-high four shots for Rutgers-Newark.