The men’s soccer team headed up to Maine this past weekend for a full slate of NESCAC soccer, first facing off against Bates on Saturday, Sept. 24, and then taking on Colby on Sunday, Sept. 25.
At Bates, the Mammoths were the first to strike. Their first goal came from a free kick taken by Ada Okorogheye ’24E, who sent a cross into the box that found junior Declan Sung ’24E for a header back into traffic. Fynn Hayton-Ruffner ’25 got his head on the second ball to finish off the play, giving Amherst a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Bates answered back off a scramble in front of the net just before the whistle blew for halftime, which left the teams tied 1-1 heading into the half.
The Mammoths came out of their halftime huddle with intensity, firing a shot straight into the back of the net less than five minutes into the second half to give them a 2-1 lead. Despite an initial save from the Bates goaltender off a shot from Niall Murphy ’25, Hayton-Ruffner capitalized on the rebound with ease to put the Mammoths back in front. They didn’t stop there, as sophomore Ben Clark-Eden ’25 took advantage of a penalty kick in the 52nd minute, less than three minutes after the goal from Hayton-Ruffner, with a perfect strike into the bottom right corner. Now holding a 3-1 lead, the Mammoths seemingly got too comfortable, as Bates added one back in the 67th minute off a penalty kick of their own. But it was too late, as the Mammoth defense held them scoreless for the remaining 23 minutes for a final score of 3-2.
With the momentum from this win, the Mammoths moved on to their Sunday matinee matchup with Colby. A strong Colby team proved to be a tough opponent, as the Mules found the back of the net just 12 minutes into the game and extended their lead to 2-0 early in the second half. The Mammoths fought back, though, showing their fight and determination late in the game. An own goal in the 77th minute proved to be just what Amherst needed to turn the game around. With the run of play now on their side, Sung sank the team’s second goal off a cross from sophomore Micah Valadez Bush ’25 a mere six minutes later, tying the score at 2-2. The Mammoth defense showcased their poise and grit in the second half, holding Colby scoreless in the last 40-plus minutes to conclude the game in a 2-2 draw. Sung spoke on the resiliency of his team, adding that “this season has had its challenges” and that they will “spend this week working on what we need to work on.”
All focus now shifts to the upcoming rivalry game at Williams. In speaking on what this rivalry means to the team, junior Ben King ’24 shared that “beating Williams became our only focus when the [last] whistle blew today.”
The group is already hard at work preparing for their oldest rivalry game. Kickoff against the Ephs is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct.1, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The Mammoths conclude the week with an away game against Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.