Top 10 Roundup
No. 4 Amherst, No. 6 Pacific Lutheran remain unbeaten
No. 4 Amherst 3, Bates 1
LEWISTON, Maine -- Fourth-ranked Amherst defeated Bates 3-1 on Sunday. The Jeffs improved to 7-0-1 overall and 5-0-1 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. They are now unbeaten in 28 consecutive contests dating to last season while Bates dropped to 1-3-2 and 0-3-2 in league play.
It only took 15 minutes for the Jeffs to get on the board. Following several scoring opportunities with three shots on goal, Amherst goalkeeper Thomas Bull launched a free kick from midfield that hit the back left side of the net, giving the Jeffs an early 1-0 lead at the 15:19 mark.
Amherst put the pressure on toward the end of the first half after 20 minutes of strong defensive performances from both teams. Brendan Caslin and Andrew Orozco put shots on net at the 36th and 40th minutes, respectively, but came away scoreless. However, just two minutes after Orozco’s attempt, Elliot Cassutt received a throw-in from Bubba Van Wie and placed one in between the posts to give the Jeffs a 2-0 lead at the break.
Neither team could get much going in the early minutes of the second half. Amherst registered two shots in that period and both were blocked, while Bates failed to tally any until the 64th minute. The Bobcats cut the deficit to one at the 64:35 mark on a goal from Peabo Knoth, who was assisted by Aaron Nickelsberg.
The Jeffs retaliated quickly, however, and added an insurance goal in the 72nd minute. Christopher Martin fired one at the Bates goalkeeper and the rebound went to Orozco, who finished off the scoring opportunity to give Amherst a 3-1 win.
Amherst dominated the game offensively and held a 21-4 advantage in shots with 10 on net compared to the Bobcats’ two. They also led in corner kicks 6-2.
No. 6 Pacific Lutheran 2, Willamette 1 (2OT)
PARKLAND, Wash. -- A scoreless match for nearly 88 minutes headed for overtime after both teams scored in the last 123 seconds of regulation, but Derek Johnson's second goal of the day clinched the 2-1 double-overtime victory for sixth-ranked Pacific Lutheran against Willamette on Sunday afternoon.
Pacific Lutheran improved to 8-0-2 overall and 3-0-1 in Northwest Conference play, while Willamette fell to 5-3-1 overall and 1-2-1 in the NWC.
The Lutes' second consecutive double-overtime contest ended on a more positive note than Saturday's match, as Johnson took the ball from point-blank range in the middle of the box off Rigoberto Loreto's corner kick and sent it in for the match-winner in the 108th minute of play. Combined with Saturday's scoreless tie, the weekend extended Pacific Lutheran's undefeated stretch to the midpoint of the 20-match regular-season schedule.
"It was a good weekend," senior goalkeeper Joe Rayburn said. "We're just continuing to build, basically. We haven't really hit our stride at all, and in a way that's a good thing because we shouldn't be playing our best soccer right now."
The Lutes had numerous scoring opportunities throughout the match, outshooting Willamette in every period for a total of 16-7. Eight saves by the Bearcats' Braydon Calder kept the match scoreless into the final minutes of regulation.
It looked like Pacific Lutheran would claim the late victory when Loreto passed to Johnson on the left side of the goal, who shot it across and into the net from 10 yards out to put the hosts on the board with a little more than 2 minutes to play. But the match was destined for overtime, as Adan Vazquez found Jesse Thompson all alone on the left side of the goal, where Thompson knocked it past Rayburn from 8 yards out with only 11 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Pacific Lutheran offense was aggressive in the first overtime period, totaling four shots while not allowing Willamette a single attempt. But it was not until the final minutes of the second overtime that Loreto and Johnson hooked up for the second time of the afternoon to clinch the win.
With the regular season now halfway completed, the Lutes believe there are still many improvements they can make.
"We'll get better as the season goes on; that's our intention," Rayburn said. "If we want to contend to win this conference, we've just got to keep pushing ourselves to win these games."