After two years without formal competition, the men’s lacrosse team took the field on Saturday, March 5, for their season-opener against the Hamilton Continentals. The Mammoths rallied back from an early 4-1 deficit to win 11-9. It was the first career win for first-year head coach Sean Woods.
Hamilton started the game off strong with an unassisted goal in the first minute of play from Christian Byrne, silencing the Amherst home crowd. The scoring would not stop there, as Rowan Brumbaugh added another goal for the Continentals four minutes later off an assist from Torben Wunderle to give the Continentals a 2-0 lead with 10:15 left in the first quarter. The Mammoths responded only 30 seconds later with a goal of their own, as Brock Gonzalez ’23 scored his first of the season off an assist from Carter Tate ’22 to make the score 2-1. But Hamilton would respond once again, with a goal from Brumbaugh off an assist from Britt Defeo, and another from Charlie Ratner, unassisted, to widen the gap to 4-1 with seven minutes left in the quarter. Amherst got back on the board with a minute to go in the first, though, when Ethan Opdahl ’23 set up PJ Clementi ’22 for his first of four goals on the day to make the score 4-2 entering the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Amherst came out hot, with a goal from Tanyr Krummenacher ’23 in the first minute narrowing the Continentals’ lead to 4-3. Hamilton responded four minutes later with a goal from Wunderle to move the score to 5-3 with 11:33 to go in the quarter. Just 18 seconds later, however, a goal from Brodie Rayment ’23 cut the deficit to one. The defenses then settled in and ended the quarter with no more goals scored; Hamilton went into halftime with a 5-4 edge over the Mammoths, led by 12 first-half saves from goalie Seamus Fagan, who ended with 20 on the day.
Coming out of halftime with energy, Amherst dominated the third quarter. They saw another goal from Krummenacher, assisted by Bayard DeMallie ’23, to tie up the game at five goals apiece with 14 minutes to play in the third. And the goals would not stop there, as DeMallie set up another Clementi goal to give the Mammoths their first lead of the game at 6-5 with two minutes left in the quarter. With time seeming to be running out at the end of the quarter, Clementi went one on one with a defender and scored his third goal of the day, giving Amherst a 7-5 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
But the Continentals didn’t go down without a fight, coming out strong in the final period. Tim Sommer scored off another assist from Wunderle to cut the Amherst lead to one with 14 minutes left. From that point until about the six-minute mark of the fourth, it was the Gonzalez show, as he scored three straight goals in that eight-minute span. Two came from passes from Clementi, and one from DeMallie. Amherst was up 10-6 with 11 minutes to go in the game. However, Hamilton once again launched a furious comeback. It started with a goal from Troy Pollack to make the score 10-7 with six minutes left. Three minutes later, Hamilton’s Jayme Wilde scored a goal to make it 10-8. The run kept going as the Continentals got another goal from Wunderle to come back within one, the score now at 10-9 with 2:44 left.
However, Amherst was able to make some great defensive plays down the stretch and got another goal from Clementi to make the score 11-9 with 24 seconds left. That would be the final score. Gonzalez and Clementi both notched four goals in the contest, while Krummenacher recorded two and Rayment had one. Clementi and DeMallie both dished out three assists. For his performance, Clementi was awarded the first NESCAC Player of the Week award of the 2022 season.
Amherst will be heading to Medford, Mass., on March 12 for a NESCAC tilt against No.3-ranked Tufts in a rematch of one of the only games they played during the shortened 2020 season, in which Tufts emerged victorious by a score of 25-15.