1995 Statistics and Record
Culminating in the team's second ever NCAA appearance, the 1995 campaign for men's soccer came filled with both successes and surprises.
While the Jeffs may have gained former captain Laya Clark as an assistant coach, the team lost his presence in the net, which he had protected for his four years at Amherst. Stepping up to this mighty task were two freshmen, Kevin Larner and Dustin Sarnoski, both playing key roles in the advancement of the season. Larner compiled an 85.8% save percentage, allowing only 17 goals along with 120 saves in 16 games. Sarnoski was the man of the Middlebury re-match in the first round of the NCAA tournament: donning his gloves for the penalty kick shootout, Sarnoski pounced on the first of three missed Panther shots to advance the Jeffs for another faceoff against Williams in the Sweet Sixteen.
Prior to their tournament meeting, Amherst faced the Ephs on a cold day in Williamstown. Pumped up by the 2-0 defeat of then No. 2 ranked Wheaton, the Jeffs hit the field with a confidence that shone through their play. Less than five minutes after Williams put a goal on the board, Amherst retaliated on a second-touch by All-American Mario Watts '97. The two teams battled through 120 grueling minutes. When the final buzzer sounded, Amherst drove away from the Purple Valley with a 1-1 OT tie, their best showing against the Ephs in five years.
But the path to the Big Dance had not been easy for the Jeffs. Despite their solid defense and wealth of talented players, the team concluded the regular season play with an 8-3-3 record after frustrating losses and ties against the elements as well as opposing teams. Yet strength of schedule and impressive wins over the top three teams in New England earned the Jeffs a berth as the No. 3 seed in the NCAA New England Region.
Their first tournament game pitted the Jeffs against Middlebury, the first team to hand them a loss in 1995. The Panthers fought for a 1-1 tie, sending the match into overtime and penalty kicks before Amherst could get a second chance at Williams. Already drained from the intensity of the previous day's game and without injured halfback Steve Carr '97, Amherst bowed 3-0 to the eventual national champions.