Courtesy Amherst Sports Information
SWARTHMORE, Pa. – The Amherst College men’s soccer team faced off against Trinity University (Texas) this evening on the campus of Swarthmore College in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. Amherst came away with a 1-0 upset win over the previously-undefeated Tigers on an 87th minute goal by Jake Duker (Newton, Mass.) to advance to the national semifinals, where they will face Stevens.
Play got under way at 6 p.m. in the cold confines of Clothier Field, with temperatures in the mid-20s. Early in the first half of play, Trinity dominated control of the ball, but the Amherst defense refused to budge. Trinity’ had a shot blocked from the left wing in the 12th minute, which turned into a trend as the half played out.
Amherst had a pair of shots in the middle of the half from Duker and James Mooney (Princeton, N.J.) that sailed past the Trinity frame.
Neither team created a serious scoring threat in the half, while Trinity held a 6-2 edge in shots on goal at the break. Amherst blocked a handful of the Tiger shots in the first half, as only one got to Jeff goalie Lennard Kovacs (Wolfersdorf, Germany).
Early in the second half, Amherst had a pair of corner kicks, with senior Grayson Holland (Sudbury, Mass.) getting a header on the second one. His bid went wide left, as Amherst was unable to put a shot on frame.
Trinity returned the favor with a pair of chances in the 59th minute, as Cameron Hogsett and Patrick Floeck each put shots off target. In the 70th minute, Trinity drew a penalty kick, with Tyrone Petrakis stepping up for the attempt. As Kovacs guessed to his left, Petrakis went down the middle, but the Amherst rookie made the momentous save with his legs to keep the Tigers off the board. The save was his third stopped penalty kick during the NCAA Tournament, as he blocked a pair in a first round shootout against WNEC.
Starting in the 74th minute, the Lord Jeffs went on an onslaught of offense. First-year Jae Heo (ChangWon, South Korea) put the first shot wide left, before the Jeffs earned a pair of corner kicks. Off the second one, Holland put a header on frame, forcing Patrick Johnson to make his first save in net for Trinity.
Amherst continued to push forward, and in the 87th minute, was rewarded for its persistence. After a corner, Trinity failed to get a solid clearance, and Duker put in a one-touch shot off a feed from Heo, for his 15th score of the year.
The Lord Jeffs made a pair of defensive substitutions, and held on over the final minutes to pick up the win. Trinity finished with a 14-9 advantage in shots, but Amherst got the one that counted. Amherst improves to 15-3-3 with the win, while Trinity’s season ends with their first loss at 20-2-1.
Kovacs also posted his seventh consecutive shutout of the post-season with the win in net for Amherst, with none being more important that the most recent.
Amherst returns to the national semifinals for the second time in program history, with the first occasion occurring in 1997.