Men's Soccer Wins NESCAC Championship
November 4, 2007
Middlebury won its second NESCAC Championship and its first since the inaugural tourney in '00 as the Panthers defeated Amherst, 1-0. The victory avenges a mid-season 3-1 loss to Amherst, as the Panthers improve to 14-2-1. Middlebury earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will find out their fate when the pairings are announced on Monday.
The win is the 14th of the season for the team, a new school record. The Panthers have also earned a school-record 12 shutouts this season.
In the 16th minute, the first great scoring opportunity of the game presented itself in Amherst's favor. Ian Rothkopf chipped a ball to Nick Lynch at the corner of the 18-yard box. Lynch brought the ball down with a crafty touch, and hit a screaming shot low, just outside the far post for a goal kick.
Middlebury almost broke the scoreless tie with eight minutes remaining until halftime when Corey Moffat poked a loose ball on frame. The shot beat Amherst goaltender Jeff Grover, but not the frame as it hit the far post, before flying across the goal and off the near post for a Jeff defender to clear.
At halftime, Amherst held a 7-5 edge in shots, while each side had put just three shots on goal.
Middlebury looked fresh after halftime, and had the first four shots of the second half. Despite playing a double overtime match just 24 hours earlier, the Panthers were seemingly unfazed by fatigue.
The Panthers struck first in the 60th minute when Casey Ftorek knocked home his own rebound after an Amherst defender stopped his initial try on the goal line. The goal was his team-leading 12th of the season.
Trailing by a score, Amherst changed formations to push numbers forward into the Middlebury box. The Jeffs created a number of scoring chances with the more offensively minded line-up, but with 10 minutes showing in regulation, Middlebury still held the lead.
Amherst continued pressure, but was unable to find the equalizer. The Jeffs were shutout for the first time in 2007, while Middlebury earned its 12th shutout in 17 games this fall.