Men’s Lacrosse Stifles Williams, Advances to NESCAC Semifinals

The men’s lacrosse team is through the semifinals of the NESCAC playoffs after beating rival Williams at home. The Mammoths have now won five straight. They advance to face Bowdoin on Saturday, May 7.

PJ Clementi ’22 celebrates a goal against Hamilton in the team's home opener. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios.

The men’s lacrosse team continued their great play as they headed into the NESCAC playoffs with a win in their regular-season finale against Trinity in resounding fashion, 16-10. With the victory over the Bantams, the Mammoths headed into their quarterfinal matchup versus Williams with their win streak at five games.

The last time these teams met was on April 16, when a 6-1 second quarter allowed Amherst to take command of the momentum and win the game by a score of 14-10. On Saturday, Amherst was able to repeat this dominating performance and keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive as they bested the Ephs 11-7.

Williams started off strong, opening the game with a quick goal, which gave them a 1-0 advantage. However, Amherst responded right away behind a right-handed goal from Carter Tate ’22 to even the score at one apiece. Williams responded, though, with a goal to retake the lead 2-1. But again, Amherst was up to the task, as Brock Gonzalez ’23 scored an unassisted goal to even the score at 2-2. After a beautiful save from goalie Mitch Likins ’25, Nicholas Kopp ’25 fed PJ Clementi ’22, who converted to make it a 3-2 game. Williams did not quit, though, as they would score the next two goals to give the Ephs a 4-3 advantage at the beginning of the second quarter.

From then on, it was all Amherst, as they scored four straight goals going into halftime. The offensive push started with another great save from Likins, who cleared it ahead to Ben Bruno ’25. He dished it up the field to long-stick midfielder Robinson Armour ’22, who scored his second goal of the season to tie up the score at 4-4. That goal would prove to be the momentum-swinging tally, as Amherst would continue to pour it on through the end of the half. Gonzalez scored two straight goals to give himself a first-half hat trick, widening the margin to 6-4 Amherst. Then, with 1.5 seconds left in the half, a beautiful pass from Tanyr Krummenacher ’23 to John Fitzhenry ’24 ended in a highlight-worthy buzzer-beating goal that gave Amherst a three-goal lead going into the locker room.

After the half, Amherst continued their dominance, holding Williams to only three goals in the second half, including just one in the third quarter. The Mammoths started off the third with a goal from Connor Guest ’24 to make it 8-4 Amherst. Williams responded with their only goal of the quarter, a man-up goal making it 8-5. However, Amherst stifled the Ephs from then on, and got two goals from Krummenacher to extend their lead to five heading into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, Clementi tacked on a goal while Williams scored two late goals to bring  the score to 11-7, where it remained until the final whistle.

Amherst had impressive offensive production in the contest; they benefited from three goals from Gonzalez and two goals each from Krummenacher and Clementi to pace the team on that end of the field. On the other end, Likins’ stalwart goalkeeping, paired with the team’s defensive play overall, was responsible for holding Williams to only seven goals, five below their season average. Likins, who made 19 saves and was named NESCAC Player of the Week for his performance, exalted this stellar play, emphasizing: “We have been working all season to become more and more consistent [on defense], and that work seems to finally be paying off.” Defensive midfielder Brodie Rayment ’23 expanded on his goalkeeper’s sentiments, acknowledging the role of coaching their resolute defense in the win. “I have to credit [Assistant] Coach [Richard] Carrington for his relentless game planning and preparation. The close defense won their matchups all day, and Mitch [Likins] was a brick wall in net,” he said.

The players realize the importance of playing well on both sides of the ball and the role it will play in extending their season. But they aren’t downplaying the impact of the win either. Defensemen Ryan Rahbany ’24 articulated this point, saying: “To beat Williams twice in one season is awesome. We’re playing our best at the right time of year, and we’ll need another strong performance to beat a tough Bowdoin team on Saturday. This will be a big week of preparation for us.”

With the win, the Mammoths advance to the NESCAC semifinals this weekend at Tufts University. Amherst will play No. 2 seed Bowdoin in Medford, Massachusetts, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 7. The last meeting between the two teams, which took place on April 2, ended in a 15-12 victory for the Polar Bears. The Mammoths started the game slow but ended on a high note despite the loss, winning the second half by three goals. The loss came just before the Mammoths began to turn their season around; they have won five of six games since the Bowdoin loss.