Amherst Tops Wesleyan to Reach NESCAC Title Game

MEDFORD - Sophomore Kane Haffey scored four goals and senior goalie Greg Majno stopped 12 shots as Amherst earned its first-ever berth into the NESCAC championship game with a 12-8 win over Wesleyan at Tufts University's Bello Field Saturday afternoon.

Third-seed Amherst (14-3) will face top seed and host Tufts (15-2) in the conference final on Sunday at noon. The Jumbos defeated four-seed Williams (10-7) by a 17-6 score in Saturday's other semifinal. Second-seed Wesleyan (12-5) will hope to receive an at-large berth into the NCAA Championship.

The Lord Jeffs scored the first four goals of the game today and never trailed. Two tallies among the opening run were netted by sophomore Charlie Gill. Wesleyan didn't score its first goal until 1:46 of the first quarter, a Lyle Mitchell strike. Cardinal junior goalie Justin Schick made six saves in the first period as the Amherst out-shot Wesleyan 16-6. The Lord Jeffs took a 4-1 advantage into the second.

Amherst would increase its lead to 6-2 at halftime with a pair of goals by Haffey and Devin Acton in the second quarter, sandwiched around Mike Giambanco's score for Wesleyan. Schick had 13 saves for the Cardinals at the half.

After only eight goals were scored in the first half, the teams combined for nine in the third quarter. Six were by Amherst as they began to pull away with a 12-5 advantage at the end of the period. Five different Lord Jeffs scored in the frame, including two by Haffey. Giambanco recorded a pair for the Caridnals, including a man-up goal.

Wesleyan stayed in the game with a pair of goals by Mitchell early in the fourth quarter making it 12-7 with 10 minutes remaining. Even though they would post a 15-4 advantage in shots for the period, Wesleyan would only add one more goal in the last minute to its total and the Jeffs took the win.

The statistics were close as Amherst finished with a 45-41 edge in shots and ground balls were tied at 26. Face-offs were also tied at 12 apiece and it was Wesleyan who scored twice on five man-up chances compared to 0 for 3 by Amherst. The Lord Jeffs turned the ball over 20 times compared to 14 by Wesleyan, but never relinquished control of the game.

Acton finished with three goals for Amherst, while Gill added an assist to his pair. Junior Matt Virgilio was stellar defensively with four caused turnovers.

Three goals each by Giambanco and Mitchell paced Wesleyan. Schick finished with 14 saves, while junior Kevin Campbell was strong defensively finishing with two caused turnovers and four ground balls. Sophomore Jared Jacobs came on to win eight of 14 face-offs after early dominance at the X by Amherst.


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