Wesleyan Edges Amherst in Conference Battle

AMHERST, Mass. - Wesleyan's Mike Giambanco '14 netted four goals, including what proved to be the game winner with 4:51 left in regulation to lift the Cardinals to a 7-6 win over Amherst at Gooding Field.

Rallying from a 3-0 deficit, the Jeffs (2-5, 1-3 NESCAC) pulled even at 4-4 early in the third quarter, but Wesleyan did just enough to hold off the Amherst charge. Improving to 5-2 (3-2 NESCAC) on the season, Wesleyan picked up its 15th win in 16 meetings with their Little Three rival dating back to 2000.

Kane Haffey '16 had three goals to lead the Jeff attack, while Patrick Moroney '14 finished with a goal and two assists. Devin Acton '14 and Dylan Park '16 accounted for the other two scores, while Quinn Moroney '16 had an assist.

Remy Lieberman '14 recorded a goal and an assist for Wesleyan, while Niall Devaney '16 and Brendan Hanley '13 each scored. Aidan Daniell '14 notched an assist in the win.

Netting the game's first tally at 10:43, Giambanco upped the margin to 2-0 with another score just 42 seconds later. Capping off a flurry of goals, Lieberman extended the cushion with the Cardinals' third marker over a span of 1:16. Taking advantage of an Amherst penalty early in the second quarter, Daniell fed Devaney, who quickly made it a four-goal affair.

On the man advantage with less than eight minutes to go in the half, Quinn Moroney found Haffey on the right side. Turning to goal, the first-year attackman ripped a hard shot past goalkeeper Mark Simmons '14 at 7:44 to put the Jeffs on the board. With time running out in the frame, Haffey brought Amherst one step closer with his second tally of the afternoon, before Patrick Moroney assisted on Acton's goal with 18 seconds left that made it 4-3.

Picking up where they left off to start the second half, Haffey corralled a ground ball in front of the net before bouncing a low shot that tied it at the 12:49 mark of the third. Answering with a tally just 2:02 later, Hanley fired a long shot past Thomas Gilligan '16 to put the Cardinals back in front.

Dodging a defender to the right of goal early in the fourth, Giambanco recorded his third of the afternoon with a high shot tucked inside the near post. Moving to his right and spinning left back into the alley, Patrick Moroney kept pace, responding with a Jeff score just 1:24 later.

Forcing a pair of failed clears, Wesleyan kept Amherst pinned in its own defensive zone for a five minute stretch midway through the period. Keeping the pressure on, the Cardinals got a little insurance when Giambanco again beat Gilligan while ranging to his left. Finding space just above the crease, Park brought Amherst back within one with his seventh of the year.

Intercepting an errant pass, Kevin Coleman '14 gave the Purple & White the ball back inside of the two minute mark. Firing a pair of shots wide during the possession, the Jeffs turned the ball back over with just over 30 seconds left. Forcing the Cardinals into a failed clear, Amherst got one last chance with 14 seconds left. Coming out of a timeout, the Jeffs worked the ball to Acton, but Elliot Albert '14 cut off the charging attackman, knocking his stick away as time expired to seal the victory.

Outshooting Amherst 10-6 in the final 15 minutes, Wesleyan finished with a 35-30 shot advantage, while Amherst held a 35-33 edge in ground balls. Going 9 for 14 from the X, Duncan Morrissey '14 paced the Jeffs with seven ground balls, while Coleman and Ryan Cassidy '16 each had a pair of caused turnovers.

Wesleyan, which finished 17 for 18 on clears, helped force 20 Amherst turnovers, including five in the final period. Simmons finished with seven saves en route to his fifth win, while Gilligan made 11 stops.

Amherst will look to snap its three-game skid when it travels to Clinton, N.Y. to face Hamilton on Saturday, Mar. 30.


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