AMHERST, Mass. – Now ranked tied-for-third in the nation in goals, sophomore German Giammattei posted his third multi-score game of fall to help lead the Mammoths to their sixth shutout victory as the second-ranked Amherst College men's soccer team downed Little III rival Wesleyan University, 2-0 to claim the programs' 27th Little Three Championship Title Saturday afternoon at Hitchcock Field.
"We always have great games with Wesleyan and today was no different," commented head coach Justin Serpone. "It took a total team effort today."
With the win, Amherst improves to 8-0-2 on the season and to 4-0-2 in league play, while Wesleyan falls to 4-2-3 overall (1-2-3 NESCAC). Amherst next takes the field in their regular season home finale, hosting fellow undefeated program and top-ranked Tufts University (8-0-1, 4-0-1) on Saturday, October 12. Opening kickoff following Senior Day celebrations is slated for 2:30PM.
"I was most happy with our entire defensive effort today," continued Serpone. "Kyle, Felix, Bryce, Gabe and Jack played well throughout and that's what it takes to get NESCAC shutouts."
Looking to strike first, a Cardinals free kick near the end line nearly got the visitors on the board with 18:10 on the clock as a hard drive across the box landed at the feet of Lucas Kimball on the far right post, however the Amherst keeper read the play well and was able to get across the line in time to smother Kimball's one-timer and preserve the deadlock.
Opening scoring with 4:24 remaining in the first half, a throw in from the left sideline directly to Giammattei inside the box led to a penalty kick opportunity for the Mammoths. Lining up for the ensuing penalty shot, Giammattei buried the attempt to put the home team ahead, 1-0.
Adding an insurance tally in the 53rd minute, Giammattei netted his NESCAC-leading 12th score of the year with assists from Nico Kenary '22 and Ada Okorogheye '23. Sending a short dish, Okorogheye found Kenary at midfield who lofted a pass to the streaking Giammattei behind the Cardinals' defense. Connecting with the ball after one bounce near the hash, Giammattei headed a shot over the Wesleyan goaltender who came off the line in a bid to contest the attempt.
The visitors' closest chance to thwart the Mammoths' shut out came with 13:56 remaining in regulation, with Ben Tardiff nearly capitalizing on an Amherst's defender's misstep inside the box. Collecting the free ball eight-yards out, Tardiff cut left and sent a point-blank shot towards target, however Cutler Coleman '20 recovered well for the home team and was able to get his foot on the shot enough to deflect the attempt inches high of frame.
Owning the advantage in shots (20-7), shots on target (9-2) and corner kicks (6-3), the Mammoths were whistled for 12 fouls and held momentum for the majority of the matchup, while the Cardinals were called for 15 infractions.
Bernie White '22 (6-0-1) registered two saves for Amherst to earn the win in between the pipes, while Liam Devanny (3-2-3) made seven stops for Wesleyan in the losing effort.
"We haven't thought about Tufts at all yet. Our league is too good to look forward at all," Serpone finished. "I'm sure next Saturday will be a great day for college soccer but right now we're going to enjoy today's victory and we'll start to prepare for a top-ranked Tufts team this week."