AMHERST, Mass. – Leading 2-0 early in the second half of their New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) quarterfinals match, the Amherst men's soccer team looked ready to take the next step to defending their conference title.
In a frantic final thirty-five minutes, however, the No. 10 Mammoths saw Hamilton College score four goals, and the seventh seeded Continentals left Hitchcock Field with a 4-3 victory over #2 seed Amherst, knocking them out of the tournament.
Aidan Wood scored a hat trick, including the game-winner with just over five minutes to play in regulation, breaking the hearts of the Mammoths who had equalized at 3-3 through Cutler Coleman '20 after Hamilton had grabbed a 3-2 lead in a matter of twenty minutes.
"We have got to give a lot of credit to Hamilton," said Amherst head coach Justin Serpone. "They played great and to come from behind and then get the game-winner after we tie it shows a lot of heart."
Wood's game-winner was the benefit of a pushed up Amherst back-line, and the striker got in behind goalie Kofi Hope-Gund '21, who made six saves on ten shots against.
Jimmy McMillian '20 doubled the advantage eight and a half minutes after halftime, ripping a shot past Cadwell, who had six stops as well, after beating his defender one on one.
Matt Kastilahn got the Continentals on the board just thirty seconds later with an unassisted goal, and Wood scored in the 62nd and 75th minute to give the visitors a lead.
"The bottom line is, you can't give up four goals in a match, especially in a playoff match," said Serpone. "This conference is too competitive to overcome that."
Amherst was the number two seed and the defending NESCAC champions entering the tournament. Two years ago, Serpone's team was also knocked out in the quarterfinals round, but went on to win the NCAA championship as an At-Large selection.