LEWISTON, Maine – The Mammoths held the Bobcats to just one shot in the first half while Bryce Johnson '21 and Ignacio Cubeddu '21 each found the back of the net in the first 34 minutes of action to lead the top-ranked Amherst College men's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Bates College Saturday afternoon at Russell Street Field.
"Bates battled hard, as was expected, today," commented head coach Justin Serpone. "Every ball was contested all afternoon. Winning on the road in this league isn't easy so we're grateful to be heading home with three points."
With the win, Amherst improves to 12-0-2 on the season and to 7-0-2 in league play, while Bates drops to 8-5-1 overall (4-4-1 NESCAC). Amherst looks to lock down the conference's top-seed in its regular season finale on Wednesday, Oct. 30, with the Mammoths traveling to Trinity College for a 7PM bout under the lights.
"We've got to get focused for Wednesday's regular season finale against Trinity," said Serpone. "It's amazing that we're already at the end of the regular season."
Opening scoring at the 17:08 mark, junior defender Bryce Johnson put his offensive prowess on display as he tallied his fourth career goal to give the Mammoths a 1-0 lead. Capitalizing on a corner kick, Kyle Kelly '21 headed the ball back to a wide-open Johnson at the top of the box who volleyed a waist-high shot past the Bobcats' keeper.
Doubling Amherst's edge 16 minutes later, first-year Ignacio Cubeddu potted his fifth goal of the fall and what proved to be the game-winner with an unassisted strike at the 33:33 mark to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the half. Gathering the ball near midfield, Cubeddu raced towards net before cutting back on three defenders to gain enough space to power a shot into the lower left corner.
"Our two goals came on amazing strikes by Bryce and Ignacio," continued Serpone. "The great part about this group is that we've had a lot of different players make huge plays at different parts of the season - today was Bryce and Ignacio's turn. Bryce has been a great player for us the past few years and Ignacio has a bright, bright future."
Avoiding the shut out in the 68th minute, Will Anastos teamed up with Ciaran Bardong to get Bates back within striking distance with 19:39 remaining in regulation. Controlling a bouncing ball that was chipped into the box from the right side, Anastos quickly turned an snuck his attempt inside the near post.
Not allowing the Bobcats to put another shot on target before the clock hit zero, Amherst clinched the 2-1 win to stay perfect in NESCAC play.
The Mammoths owned the advantage in shots and shots on frame, 12-7 and 4-2, respectively, and were whistled for 17 fouls, while Bates was called for eight infractions. Each side drew three corner kicks in the matchup.
Making one save, Bernie White '22 (11-0-1) earned the win for Amherst in between the pipes, while David Goodstein (7-5-1) registered two stops in the loss for Bates.
"Our only goal at the beginning of the season was to make the NESCAC tournament and then our next goal was to host a NESCAC quarterfinal match," Serpone concluded. "If we beat Trinity we'll head into the tournament as the top seed which is a good place to be in a league as competitive as ours."