WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — No. 25 Williams tied No. 4 Amherst 2-2 on Sunday afternoon at Cole Field. The Ephs opened up a 2-0 lead with less than 25 minutes to play in the game, but a two-goal burst from the Lord Jeffs in the 79th and 80th minutes leveled the game, and neither team could find the back of the net in overtime.
Williams moved to 4-2-2 overall and 4-1-2 in the NESCAC, and currently sits tied for third with Trinity. The Lord Jeffs remain undefeated, with a 8-0-1 overall record and a 4-0-1 mark in the NESCAC, good for second place behind Wesleyan.
The game began as a back-and-forth, physical battle. The Ephs had more of the possession at the start of the match, and it almost led to a goal in the 8th minute. Co-captain Nick Pugliese tested Amherst goalkeeper Lenard Kovacs with a rocket from the 30 yards out torwards the right upper corner. Kovacs was up to the task, though, sliding to his left before diving up and parrying the ball away.
Amherst, meanwhile, looked particularly threatening off of set pieces in the early going. The Lord Jeffs looked particularly dangerous on a free kick in the 21st minute off a foul by Ephs right back Michael Madding at the top left of the Williams box. Jae Heo’s free kick led to a header from Alejandro Sucre, forcing Eph goalkeeper Than Finan into a kick save on the line. Amherst’s Thebe Tsatsimpe picked up the first yellow card of the match off the ensuing restart when his high foot hit Patrick Ebobisse in the face.
Williams broke the deadlock less than three minutes later. Amherst right back Chris Lerner fouled Williams midfielder Zach Grady in the right corner of the Amherst defensive third in the 24th minute. Eph left back Andres Burbank-Krump’s free kick led to a loose ball in the box, and Peter Christman was there to take advantage, hammering the ball past Kovacs for his first goal of the year to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead.
|Amherst at Williams|
Amherst took control of possession immediately following the goal. The Lord Jeffs’ restarts continued to threaten the Ephs, as the home team committed seven fouls in the next 21 minutes, and midfield tandem Angus Kennedy and Christman both picked up yellow cards for dangerous slide tackles. The fouls created several opportunities for the Jeffs, but the visitors were not able to capitalize, and Williams entered the break with a 1-0 advantage.
The Ephs ramped up the pressure early in the second half. Christman took a shot from distance in the 51st minute that Kovacs parried away, and Jeff centerback Sam Kaplan was given a yellow card after pulling down Eph striker Matt Kastner on a breakaway in the 57th minute. In the 59th minute, Grady found himself in space off of a counter attack on the right side of Kovacs’ penalty box; he beat the keeper with his strike, but Julian Aoyama was there to clear the ball off the line for the Lord Jeffs.
The Ephs’ continual attack paid off in the 66th minute. Pugliese received a ball in the center of midfield off a clearance from Madding. Pugliese took his open space before beating his defender 25 yards from the net at the top left of the penalty box. Pugliese ripped it with his left foot into the top left of the net and the Ephs went up 2-0.
Amherst refused to give Williams the victory, however, and upped the defensive intensity following Pugliese’s strike. The Ephs didn’t have a shot through the rest of the second half. Amherst, meanwhile, increased its pressure, switching its formation from a 4-4-2 to a 2-4-2-4, and it paid off in the 79th minute. Aoyama served the ball from the right flank, 35 yards from net, and the attempted clearance was only deflected. Casey McNamara found the ball at the top left of the Ephs’ box, and served it in to Heo eight yards out in the left-center of the box who finished the ball into the corner of the net to cut the Lord Jeffs deficit to 2-1.
Amherst built on its momentum, drawing even less than a minute later. Heo was pulled down in the box by Eph center-back Phil Vestergaard, and the Jeffs were awarded a penalty kick. Spencer Noon stepped up to the spot for the Jeffs. Finan turned the first shot away on a diving save to his left, but the rebound came to the middle, and Noon put it away to even the game 2-2.
Amherst continued to press Williams after the second goal and almost won the game in the final seconds. Heo had a shot from the top the Eph box that hit the post; the rebound came back into play and at the feet of a Lord Jeff, but Amherst ran out of time, as the clock stopped before they were able to put the rebound into the net.
Although the overtimes were a back-and-forth affair, neither team generated a substantial chance. The rivals walked off the field without either team claiming victory.