Men's Soccer Advances to NESCAC Title Match With 1-0 Win Over Amherst

Ben Potter scored the game's only goal 15:25 into the game.
Ben Potter scored the game's only goal 15:25 into the game.

Middlebury advanced to the NESCAC Championship match for the 10th time, as the sixth-seeded Panthers (8-2-7) knocked off top-seeded and top-ranked Amherst (14-1-2) 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. Middlebury will take part in the championship match on Sunday against the winner of the Williams/Tufts game played later today.

The hosts had a good chance in the second minute when a left-footed shot from Dane Lind went just wide right. The Panthers got on the scoreboard with 15:25 elapsed when Brandon Reid dribbled down the left side of the field. He sent a cross into the box that was batted around by a few players, before Middlebury's Ben Potter ripped a right-footed volley from 25 yards that caromed off the left post and into the net. The tally was Potter's third of the season. The Panthers nearly doubled their lead in the 19th minute, but a rising shot from 15 yards away by Brendan Barry sailed just over the crossbar.

The Mammoths had a good scoring chance in the 22nd minute when Cutler Coleman headed a ball on a set piece from eight yards that was saved by Panther goalie Ryan Grady for his lone save of the stanza. In the waning seconds of the frame after a Middlebury foul just outside the box, the hosts restarted quickly, but a shot by Coleman hit the outside of the netting, sending the Panthers into the break with a 1-0 advantage.

In the second half, Amherst had some good chances to knot the score. An attempt in the 56th minute by German Giammattei, the NESCAC's leading goal scorer, was high on a header, while a turnaround blast from Ignacio Cubbedu was bodied down by Grady and corralled. In the 75th minute, a tough-angled shot from the left by Lind was stopped by Grady.

The Panthers had a good opportunity in the 76th minute when Henry Wilhelm headed an attempt on a free kick that Mammoth goalie Bernie White saved on the left post. Amherst had one last chance late in the game, but a lengthy throw in was punched out by Grady, before Gabe Gitler's shot sailed over the crossbar.

Amherst held a 19-5 shots advantage in the game and a slim 4-2 edge in corner kicks. Grady made four saves in goal to pick up his seventh shutout of the season. White made two saves for the Mammoths.

Middlebury and Amherst battled to a 1-1 tie back on September 29, as the Panthers now claim two of three blemishes on the Mammoth's schedule. The shutout was the ninth of the season for the Middlebury defense, as the unit lowers its goals against average to 0.48 (fourth nationally).