Williams edges Amherst in 11-10 thriller

Khary Dennis ’16 scooped three groundballs in the men’s first game of the NESCAC tournament against Amherst last Saturday. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.
Khary Dennis ’16 scooped three groundballs in the men’s first game of the NESCAC tournament against Amherst last Saturday. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Down by two at the half, seventh-seeded men’s lacrosse (10-6, 5-5 in the NESCAC) outscored second-seeded Amherst 4-1 last Saturday in the third quarter and 7-4 in the second half to stun the hosts 11-10 and advance to the NESCAC Semifinals next Saturday at Tufts.

This win was the third in a row for the Ephs and their second straight victory over a nationally-ranked opponent. Last Wednesday, Williams topped No. 5 Middlebury in its final NESCAC regular season contest and continued to upset No. 6 Amherst on Saturday.

Tanner MacIvor ’16 scored the game-winner with 2:06 remaining after Amherst had netted three unanswered goals to tie the contest at 10. MacIvor’s shot from 11 yards out to the left of Amherst goalie Thomas Gilligan went through Gilligan’s legs on a bounce and into the net.

MacIvor was not the only hero of the day for the Ephs. Miles McCarthy ’16 was stellar in goal with 20 saves and Brian Bissell ’18 established himself as one of the finest faceoff specialists in the NESCAC with another extraordinary effort, winning 17 of 25 faceoffs on the day.

Amherst took the lead 2-1 when Brogan Mahon scored from up top off a pass from Evan Wolf, who was waiting even with the goal to the right of McCarthy. The Amherst lead went to 3-1 when Chris Albanese came up from behind McCarthy’s left side and drilled a shot back to the right of McCarthy into the net from 12 yards out.

Peter Crane ’16 got a goal back for the Ephs at 4:52 when he beat Gilligan with a low shot inside the left post, ending a three-goal run by Amherst as well as Gilligan’s string of four consecutive saves. Amherst then led by only one, 3-2.

Michael Fahey ’17 narrowed the Amherst lead when he beat Gilligan on the left side at 9:10. He scored again a few minutes later off a rush forward by Khary Dennis ’16, who fed the streaking Fahey. Fahey picked the right spot to make the score 5-4 in favor of Amherst with 1:36 left in the first half.

The Ephs controlled the ensuing faceoff and took the ball forward. MacIvor unleashed a big shot that Gilligan was able to steer to the side. Once Amherst entered the offensive zone, they called timeout with 14 seconds left in the half.

Fahey opened the third quarter with a quick sprint on goal and scored at 14:42 making it a 6-5 game. Bissell won the ensuing faceoff, and the Ephs were in on Gilligan again in search of the tying goal. However, Williams shot wide and Amherst took possession of the ball.

Fowler converted off a feed from Fahey out on Gilligan’s left side, blistering a shot into the right side of the goal at 8:06 to bring the Ephs back within one, down 7-6.

Williams outscored Amherst 4-1 in the third quarter and took an 8-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Just when it looked like Williams was gaining momentum, Amherst responded with three unanswered goals to tie the game.

With 4:19 remaining, the Ephs put the Purple and White in a man-up opportunity for 30 seconds when Bryson Gilbert-Bono ’16 was called for delay of game. Amherst capitalized on the man-up when Chris Albanese scored a behind-the-back goal at 4:02 to tie the game at 10 all.

MacIvor recaptured the lead when he netted an unassisted goal between the legs of Gilligan with just 2:06 left.

Off the ensuing faceoff, Amherst collected the loose ball. Then, with 1:54 left to play, Amherst received a one-minute man-up opportunity when Jake Schuckman ’19 was called for unnecessary roughness.

McCarthy made two saves in the man-down for the Ephs to preserve the lead. When the penalty to Schuckman was over, McCarthy carried the ball down the length of most of the field before he was dispossessed.

After a timeout, Amherst put the ball in Maroney’s hands. His last ditch attempt at a score may have been tipped on the way to the net, but McCarthy was able to push the ball out of the crease towards the corner to his left. Before McCarthy could gather in the ball, the clock expired.

“We are excited to be in the NESCAC Championship weekend and look forward to improving in preparation for next Saturday’s game,” Head Coach George McCormack said.

With the win, seventh-seeded Williams advances to the NESCAC Semifinals next Saturday at Tufts. The Ephs and Jumbos will play at noon. Middlebury and Bowdoin will meet at 3 p.m., and Saturday’s winners will meet on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Tufts.

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