AMHERST, Mass. – A goal by senior tri-captain Luke Nguyen in the 34th minute proved to be all that was needed to seal the win for the Mammoths, as the Amherst College men's soccer team shut out Hamilton College, 1-0 Saturday afternoon at Hitchcock Field.
"Hamilton is a very good team and seven of their last eight games were 1-0 one way or the other," noted head coach Justin Serpone. "We knew it would be a battle and it was."
With the win, Amherst improves to 6-3-0 on the season and to 3-3-0 in league play, while Hamilton drops to 6-5-0 overall (3-4-0 NESCAC). Amherst returns to action this Tuesday, Oct. 9 when they travel to Connecticut College for a 4 p.m. conference clash.
Following a high energy back-and-forth start to the matchup, the Continentals looked to break the scoreless draw at the 17:59 mark. In nearly identical plays a minute apart, Greg Milnarik and Jefri Schmidt each fired point-blank shots on the Amherst keeper from the penalty hash, however Bernie White '22 stood strong in between the pipes to make diving stops on both attempts.
"Bernie White came up huge at the end of the first half today with two great saves," said Serpone. "We have four really good goalkeepers on our roster and I'm really happy with how they have been playing and practicing."
Tallying what stood as the lone marker of the contest in the first half, Nguyen posted the game-winner with 10:13 on the clock with an assist from Bryce Johnson '21. Capitalizing on a long throw in from the left sideline, Nguyen snuck a volley past the Hamilton keeper to make it 1-0 Amherst.
Nearly doubling the home team's lead, Amherst's best chance of the second half came at the 24:25 mark as a well placed through ball gave the Mammoths a 3-on-2 rush. Darting towards frame, Sebastian Derby's '21 earned space at the top of the box but his shot sailed inches wide of goal.
Drawing a corner kick with 40 seconds remaining in regulation, Hamilton made one final push to even the score late, however the Mammoths' defense was able to send the ball out of the box to safety to clinch the 1-0 victory.
In goal, White (4-1-0) finished the day with six saves for Amherst in the winning effort, while Thomas Benson (3-4-0) made seven stops for Hamilton in the loss.
The Mammoths owned the advantage in shots, 22-13, and were whistled for 17 fouls, while the Continentals held the edge in corner kicks, 4-3, were called for 16 infractions.
This is going to be an important week ahead," commented Serpone. "We know it's going to be hard to get any points on the road at Connecticut College on Tuesday, so we need to be focused on Colby next Saturday here at Hitchcock Field."