AMHERST, Mass. – One of just eight teams left dancing, the top-ranked Amherst College men's soccer team is set to appear in the NCAA Championship Quarterfinals for the sixth time in program history as the Mammoths used a two-goal second half to down Rowan University, 2-0, Saturday afternoon at Hitchcock Field.
First-Year Ada Okorogheye and Head Coach Justin Serpone Talk About Saturday's Third Round Win.
The first Sectionals matchup at Hitchcock Field since 2016, the Mammoths picked up their 10th shutout of the fall to improve their season record to 17-1-2 overall, while Rowan closed out 2019 with a 12-6-3 ledger. Advancing to the National Quarterfinals for the first time since their national title run in 2015, the Mammoths are right back at it again tomorrow when they face off against No. 12 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a spot in the Final Four on the line. Opening kickoff is slated for 1:00PM.
NCAA INTERACTIVE BRACKET | AMHERST NCAA HISTORY
Getting off to a quick start in the second half after a tightly contested first stanza, Ada Okorogheye '23 tallied what stood as his third game-winner of the season on an unassisted strike 1:14 after intermission. While not credited with the helper, Dane Lind '20 assisted on the scoring play as his pressure on the Profs' keeper forced a bad pass that was easily intercepted by Okorogheye 20 yards from the top of the box. From there on it was all Okorogheye, as the first-year used fancy footwork to split two defenders and get into the box on the right side before ripping a low shot into the opposite corner.
Doubling the home team's advantage 14 minutes later, Lind added an insurance tally in the 60th minute off a stellar leading pass from Ignacio Cubeddu '23. Upping his season goal total to 10 and finding the back of the net for the third time in as many games, Lind one-touched Cubeddu's cross field dish from just inside Rowan territory to the top right of the goalie box off the far post and over the goal line.
Looking to get in striking distance down the stretch, the Profs' had several close calls in the final 20 minutes of action, with Bernie White '22 making a great read on a waist high blast by Matt Hendrickson at the 19:20 mark to keep the Mammoths' lead at 2-0.
Although not on the scoresheet, junior defender Gabe Gitler made his impact known with 12:15 to play, as Hendrickson sidestepped his defender on the left side and sent a cross looking for Wilby Alfred alone on the far post. Quickly reacting to the play in the corner, Gitler shifted his weight and made a move back towards the line to deflect the ball to safety.
Holding the Profs to just one more shot in the final 10 minutes, the Mammoths clinched their second consecutive shutout win and improved their all-time NCAA Tournament ledger to 32-11-11.
Lowering his goals against average to 0.47, White (15-1-1) turned away all four shots that he faced to earn the win for Amherst, while James Weinberg (12-6-3) took the loss for the Profs, making seven saves on the day.
Holding momentum across several long stretches, the Mammoths owned the edge in shots and shots on frame, 15-11 and 10-4, respectively, while Rowan held a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Sunday's contest will be the first time Amherst and RPI have met on the field since back-to-back bouts in 1927 and 1928, with the Mammoths owning a 2-0 all-time mark against the Engineers after playing RPI to a 6-1 victory 91 years ago.