GREENSBORO, N.C. – The top-ranked Amherst College men's soccer team is heading back to the National Final for the second time in program history as the Mammoths struck inside the first 10 minutes of each half to become the second team to shut out Centre College this fall and down the Colonels, 3-0, Friday evening at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
Recording the hat trick, his fourth of the season, newly minted United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American German Giammattei '22 continued to make his case for National Player of the Year in the victory, while head coach Justin Serpone heads into the final game of the Division III soccer season with 200 wins under his belt since taking over the helm of the men's soccer program in 2007.
NCAA INTERACTIVE BRACKET | AMHERST NCAA HISTORY | FULL REPLAY | GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Junior Sebastian Derby, Head Coach Justin Serpone, and Sophomore German Giammattei Talk the Mammoths' 3-0 Shut Out Final Four Win Over Centre.
With the Mammoths recording two-or-more goals in every contest during the national postseason while logging three shut outs, Amherst has outscored opponents in the first five rounds of the NCAA Tournament by a 16-2 margin and will look to keep momentum rolling heading into the National Title bout.
Getting on the board inside the first nine minutes for the second consecutive game, Giammattei picked up his first of three goals on the night at the 8:59 mark to give Amherst an early 1-0 edge. Bernie White '22 got the scoring play going, sending a free kick from just beyond midfield into the box before a contested header by Felix Wu '21 sent the ball back to Giammattei at the top of the penalty arc. Chesting down the ball and one-touching it past a defender, the Pinecrest, Fla. native volleyed a laser past the Colonel's keeper and into the right side of the net in a contender for highlight of the year.
Looking to counter with 22:20 on the clock, a short corner kick from the right side and drive into the box set up a scoring chance for the Colonels as Dylan Barth headed a last-minute redirect on target on a cross that was headed for the far post. Reading the play from start to finish, White resisted the temptation to shuffle towards the left post early and stood his ground on the right side to smother the attempt.
White's soccer IQ was on display once again with 13:25 to go in the first, with Will Newton lofting a near perfect ball over the heads of the Mammoths' defensive four and in front of the speedy, First Team All-American Alexander Garuba. Not wanting to give up the breakaway, White sprinted off his line and 10 yards past the end of the box and headed the ball back towards midfield before Garuba could get a touch on it.
Striking once again 13 minutes before the half, Giammattei gave the Mammoths a 2-0 cushion heading into intermission behind an unassisted score. Controlling possession on the right side, Ada Okorogheye '23 sent a cross towards Giammattei in the box whose header was knocked down by Haydon Korfhage before banging off the left post. Staying with the play, Giammattei gathered his rebound and juked two defenders before chipping his second attempt over the diving netminder.
The start of the second half proved much like the start of the first, with the Mammoths needing just 5:39 to find the back of the net. Covering 60 yards with three passes, Alex Shahmirzadi's '22 header from inside Amherst territory after a Colonel goal kick landed at the foot of Bryce Johnson '21 who volleyed a leading pass to Giammattei racing down the left side. Running onto the ball just inside the box, the forward struck a low, well-placed, left-footed shot past the keeper and inside the far post to cap off the hat trick.
With the score, Giammattei moves into a tie for first in the New England Small College Athletic Conference record books in single-season goals – matching Alex Blake of Williams (2001) long held benchmark for NESCAC single-season goals with 26.
One of Centre's final chances to avoid the shut out came with 8:10 on the clock, as Newton ripped a shot towards frame from the top of the box, however his attempt rang off the crossbar and Nathan Wilcox's bicycle kick on the rebound sailed high.
With three stops in 62:55 in between the pipes for Amherst, White (17-1-1) earned the win for the Mammoths, while Kofi Hope-Gund stood strong in frame in 27:05 in relief. Haydon Korfhage (4-3-0) took the loss for Centre, making three saves in 53:15, while Tate Johnson registered three stops in the final 36:45.
THE NATIONAL FINAL
Ending Centre's record-breaking year for the program with the 3-0 win, the Colonels wrap 2019 at 20-4-1, while the Mammoths head into the final contest of the season with a 19-1-2 overall ledger.
Joining Amherst in Division III men's soccer final chapter is familiar foe and defending national champion Tufts University (19-2-2), with the NESCAC rival and fifth-ranked Jumbos downing No. 2 Calvin University, 4-0, in the second National Semifinal bout to set up an all New England Small College Athletic Conference National Final.
Amherst and Tufts will play for the right to hoist the national championship trophy tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 7 when they take the field at UNCG Soccer Stadium in Greensboro, N.C. at 7:00PM.
QUICK TAKE – MAMMOTH MILESTONES
- Mammoths Head Coach Justin Serpone recorded his 200th career win with Amherst. 2019 is his 13th season in the Pioneer Valley since taking the reins of the men's soccer program in 2007.
- With three goals tonight, sophomore forward German Giammattei ties Alex Blake of Williams (2001) for the NESCAC single-season goal record with 26. He currently sits in third in single-season points (57) with the record standing at 63 (Alex Blake, 2002). Amherst assistant coach Jeff Huffman adds to the story as he was one of Blake's coaches for the Ephs during his record year.
- With their 19th victory this fall, the Mammoths set a new program single-season benchmark for wins. The previous high of 18 wins was set in 2013 (18-1-2) and matched in 2015 (18-1-2).
- The Mammoths now stand at 34-11-11 all-time in the NCAA Tournament dating back to the program's first appearance in the Championships in 1993.