AMHERST, Mass. – Teaming up with Dane Lind '20 twice on the day, German Giammattei '22 netted the game-winner nine seconds into overtime as the No. 2 Amherst College men's soccer team handed top-ranked Tufts University their first conference loss of the year, 2-1, Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at Hitchcock Field.
"I thought today was as a high level a game as I have been a part of since I got to Amherst," said Amherst head coach Justin Serpone. "Two great teams playing their hearts out. There were so many chances both ways. Tufts is a great team which everyone already knows."
With the win, Amherst improves to 9-0-2 on the season and to 5-0-2 in league play, while Tufts falls to 8-2-1 overall (4-1-1 NESCAC). Amherst returns to action on Monday, Oct. 14, when they kick off a four-game road trip to close out the regular season with a 7PM bout at William Paterson.
First on the board, Gavin Tasker gave the visitors and early edge 15:52 into the battle with an assist from Joseph Braun. Working the ball around on the right side following a throw in, Zach Lane set the scoring play in motion, juking around a defender just inside the box before dishing a pass to Braun. One touching the ball over to the hash, Braun found Tasker who dropped his shoulder and quickly turned and chipped a shot past the Amherst keeper.
Responding eight minutes later, Giammattei netted his NESCAC-leading 13th goal of the fall at the 22:35 mark to pull the sides into a 1-1 deadlock. Stealing the ball from a Jumbos defender at midfield, Lind sprinted 20 yards before sending a perfect leading pass to the feet of Giammattei at the top right of the box who one-timed a low right-footed shot past the sliding goalie and into the far left corner.
Looking to break the stalemate with 25:05 remaining in regulation, a highlight reel stop by Will Harned kept Tufts in contention following an impressively executed free kick by the Mammoths. Corralling a short pass at the top of the box before the Jumbos' defense had time to set, Cutler Coleman '20 blasted a shot towards frame looking for the top right corner that was turned away by a full extension save by Harned.
Not to be outdone, Bernie White '22 recorded a sensational stop in his own right at the 18:20 mark to keep fans on the edge of their seats with time winding down. Heading a shot on target from point-blank range, Calvin Aroh's attempt was shut down by White who dove to his left and punched the ball over the crossbar to safety.
Taking the field for overtime, Amherst needed just nine seconds to secure the victory, with Giammattei once again teaming up with Lind to find the back of the net. Never losing possession of the ball following the kick off, Lind connected with Giammattei racing down the middle before the sophomore split two defenders and drove a shot into the bottom left corner to play hero for the Mammoths.
"I'm not sure what to say about German," continued Serpone. "He's really good at soccer but more importantly an awesome leader and an amazing teammate. I'm grateful to coach him."
Amherst owned a slight edge in shots on target, 9-8, and were whistled for 14 infractions, while the Jumbos held the advantage in corner kicks, 4-3, and were called for 19 fouls. Both sides had 18 total shot attempts in the battle.
Registering seven stops in between the pipes for the Mammoths, White (7-0-1) earned the win for the home team, while Harned (6-2-1) made seven saves for Tufts in the losing effort.
"It's still early but I absolutely love coaching this team," Serpone finished. "Today was the fourth time we've been down a goal and came back to get a result. They are a resilient group."
Today's game marked Senior Day for the Mammoths who will graduate four seniors following the 2019 season, including: goalkeeper Will Dunne, forward Jimmy McMillian, midfielder Dane Lind, and midfielder and captain Cutler Coleman. As a class, this year's seniors have outscored opponents 162 to 58 to compile a 52-10-8 overall record, including a 25-6-6 mark in NESCAC play and a 33-4-4 ledger at Hitchcock Field, and currently boast a .740 overall winning percentage. The Mammoths won the league crown in 2016, have qualified for three NESCAC Championship Tournaments and have made three trips to the Sweet Sixteen in the national postseason. Congratulations seniors!