On Sept. 11, the men’s soccer team lost to Bowdoin in their opening match of NESCAC league play. Though the Mammoths rank second in the Division III, and well ahead of Bowdoin, the loss prompts a reassessment of their game plan for what could still be a strong season.
The two teams were even by nearly every measure in the first half, as the Mammoths finished the opening 45 minutes with a narrow 5-4 advantage in shots. Neither side, however, came close to scoring within the half.
Only late in the match did the Polar Bears manage to increase their offensive pressure. With 17 minutes left, a well-placed Bowdoin corner kick forced Amherst goalkeeper Bernie White ’22 to make a one-handed, full extension save on a header to the far post. The Polar Bears carried over this momentum and soon had yet another corner kick opportunity.
With the second Bowdoin corner kick, the Mammoths were less fortunate. A cross to the far side of the Amherst penalty area provided Bowdoin forward Charlie Ward with a golden opportunity to head the ball into the back of the net — an opportunity he seized to put the Polar Bears ahead 1-0.
The Mammoths quickly regrouped and undertook a powerful late-game offensive push, led by chances from German Giammattei ’23 and Joe Raymond ’24. Raymond, for one, struck the crossbar in his first attempt on goal, and gave the Mammoths a follow-up opportunity after threading his way behind the Bowdoin defense. With just a minute and a half left, Raymond’s second shot was narrowly blocked by Bowdoin goalkeeper Michael Webber.
Saturday’s match marked Amherst’s first loss to Bowdoin in regular season play since 2008, but fans can expect many opportunities for the Mammoths to show their strength as the season progresses. The outlook remains promising as the team seeks Division III National Championship redemption.
Head Coach Justin Serpone commented, “We don’t have much time to feel sorry for ourselves. We’re playing a good team on Wednesday night. No one feels bad for us. We need to regroup and get back to basics.”
The Mammoths will return to play this Wednesday, Sept. 15 when they face Manhattanville College at 7:00 p.m. for a non-conference match.