|Bowdoin College||Amherst College|
AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College men’s soccer team scored twice in the final 9:44 to stun Bowdoin in a 2-1 comeback victory in the NESCAC semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
The top-seeded Purple & White (15-1-1) advance to Sunday’s NESCAC title match while seventh-seeded Bowdoin (9-4-4) loses a NESCAC Tournament contest for the first time since 2013, snapping its string of back-to-back conference championships.
In an evenly matched opening 45 minutes featuring staunch defense, each side was only able to put one shot on frame.
One of Amherst’s best offensive chances of the first half came with 9:57 on the clock. Bolting across the box in a bid to get a foot on Andrew Orozco’s header, Christopher Martin’s attempt went just wide left of the goal as he collided with a Bowdoin defender.
Noah Safian came up big for the Polar Bears with 33:56 on the clock in the second half. Safian jumped and reached behind himself to get his fingertips on a ball and record the save to preserve the deadlock.
Less than a minute later Amherst goalie Lee Owen returned the favor, making a diving save to thwart Moctar Niang header attempt after a corner kick by Matt Dias Costa in the 57th minute.
Will Herman gave the Polar Bears a 1-0 lead with 15:49 remaining in the matchup. Capitalizing on their second corner kick of the game, Herman one-touched a centering header by Dias Costa into the bottom right over of the goal.
Justin Aoyama launched a ball towards net from 40 yards out in the 80th minute. Misplaying the angle, a Bowdoin defender’s attempted clearing header in the box ricocheted behind him and tucked just inside the right post to even the score at 1-1.
Amherst notched what proved to be the game-winner two minutes later at the 82:21 mark. Gathering a pass from Martin at the top left of the box, Weller Hlinomaz cut across the field and ripped a low, hard shot past Safian and into the bottom left corner of the net.
Lee Owen recorded four saves for Amherst in the winning effort, while Safian made four saves in the loss.
Amherst owned a 14-10 edge in shot differential, while each side earned four corner kick opportunities.