AMHERST, Mass. – Opening their October slate with a three-goal second half, the No. 2 Amherst College men's soccer team picked up their fourth home victory of the fall as the Mammoths powered past New England College, 4-1 Wednesday afternoon at Hitchcock Field.
With the win, Amherst improves to 7-0-2 on the season, while New England College falls to 5-6-0 overall. Amherst returns to the field on Saturday, Oct. 5 when they host Little III rival Wesleyan University in a 12:30PM conference bout at Hitchcock Field.
Getting on the board with 31:24 on the clock, a Pilgrims own goal set up by Andrew Barkidjija '22 gave the home team a 1-0 edge. Collecting the ball 40 yards out near the left sideline, Barkidjija lofted a pass towards the penalty dot looking for Declan Sung '23 streaking towards frame. Wide open for the volley, Sung's services proved not to be needed as the ball deflected off the head of a NEC defender and into the bottom left corner.
Holding the visitors' deficit at one at the 20:03 mark, Ryder Valinski came up with a clutch defensive save on the goal line after first-year Ignacio Cubeddu '23 collected ball at the top left of the box, dodged his defender and slid a shot between the keeper and the near post.
The Pilgrims lone shot attempt of the first half came with 20 seconds remaining before the break, however Chris Morse's blast from the top right of the box sailed just wide.
Doubling the Mammoths' advantage in the 53rd minute, Jack O'Brien '21 connected with Nico Kenary '22 at the top left of the goalie box who chipped a waist high shot past the sliding keeper.
Cubbedu kept things rolling 10 minutes later, chesting down a header from Dylan Steele '21 in the middle of the box and ripping a left-footed shot inside the right post.
Responding just over a minute later, NEC's second shot on target got the visitors on the board as Tucker Stenger chased down an Amherst defender, forced a turnover and snuck a shot from the right side past the Amherst keeper as he slid to the grass.
Adding a final insurance tally with 18:29 to play, Cubbedu logged his second score of the day and third of the season behind an unassisted strike to lift the Mammoths to the 4-1 victory.
The Mammoths owned a dominate advantage in shots (37-5), shots on goal (17-2) and corner kicks (13-2) and were called for nine fouls, while the Pilgrims were whistled for 15 infractions.
In between the pipes, Will Dunne '20 (1-0) registered one save for Amherst in 62:42 to earn the win, while Kofi Hope-Gund '21 played 27:18 in relief. Robbie Ferguson (4-6) took the loss for New England College, making 13 stops.