Men's Soccer Downed By Amherst

September 18, 2011

Middlebury dropped its second straight NESCAC contest as they Panthers fell at seventh-ranked Amherst, 3-0 on Sunday afternoon. Jae Heo scored a pair of goals and Spencer Noon added another to lead the Jeffs to the win over the #18 Panthers at Hitchcock Field. 

Heo needed only six minutes and 45 seconds to put Amherst on the board, and Noon pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 28th minute. The visitors dominated the second half of play, only to have Heo seal the deal with his second tally in the 83rd minute of play.

Amherst improves to 4-0-0 overall and 2-0-0 in the NESCAC, while the Panthers drop to 1-2-1 (0-2-1). Both teams will return to action Saturday, Sept. 24, with the Jeffs traveling to take on Hamilton and Middlebury playing at Bowdoin.

The Lord Jeffs got on the board in the seventh minute when Heo lined up for a free kick from 25 yards out on the left side of the field. The ball made its way into a crowd of players but was untouched, as it got through the defense and past goalkeeper Tim Cahill, who was screened on the play.

Amherst’s second goal began to take form when Max Fikke played a ball from the center of the field ahead to Noon. Cahill came off his line to challenge Noon, but the Amherst junior snuck a shot by the Middlebury goalie to give the hosts a 2-0 lead 27:40 into the opening half.

The teams had nearly identical statistics in the first 45 minutes, but the second half saw the Panthers take charge. Martin Drolet pushed a diving header just wide of the goal with 31 minutes to play, and Robbie Redmond sent a free kick just over the crossbar one minute later.

Drolet had another chance shortly after when he placed a beautiful shot low and to the corner of the goal, but goalkeeper Lennard Kovacs made an outstanding diving stop to his left. The onslaught continued when a free kick attempt from just outside the box was blocked by an Amherst wall of defenders, and an ensuing rebound by Redmond was again blocked by the wall.

Jon Portman then nearly put one in for the Panthers on an attempt from 20 yards out, but Kovacs punched the ball over his net. The ensuing corner kick resulted in good shots by Alex Colucci and Redmond, with the second being smothered by Kovacs to end an impressive stretch of offense by the visitors.

The momentum Middlebury had built up throughout the second half was all for naught, as Heo carried the ball along the left sideline and dribbled himself into the 18-yard box. Cahill was forced off his line, and Heo calmly snuck a shot inside the far post to make it a 3-0 game with only 7:52 on the clock, which proved to be too much for the Panthers to overcome. 

Kovacs finished with six saves, five of which came in the second half, while Cahill stopped two shots for Middlebury. The Panthers held a 13-2 shot advantage in the final 45 minutes (17-7 overall) and attempted the only three corner kicks of the second half.

Saturday’s result snapped Middlebury’s three-game head-to-head winning streak, as the Lord Jeffs returned the favor after being shut out twice by their conference rival last year.