FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia -- In its first-ever NCAA Final Four appearance, Amherst men's soccer fell to defending national champion The College of New Jersey in a semifinal matchup. Holding a 1-0 lead throughout most of the second half, the Lions notched two goals within 68 seconds of each other to propel them into their second-straight Chmapionship Game.
Andy Kay (North Easton, MA) took a feed from senior co-captain Tim Christian (Agawam, MA) for a lob over the keeper with just 39.4 seconds left in the first half for the sophomore's fifth goal of the tournament and 12th of the season. Despite being outshot 8-2, the Jeffs claimed a precious 1-0 lead at the break.
The College of New Jersey continued to pound shots on the Amherst goal, and the Lions were awarded a penalty kick in the 50th minute on a handball in the box. But keeper Kevin Larner (Short Hills, NJ) made one of his nine incredible saves to preserve the Lord Jeff lead.
But in the waning minutes of the match, junior Jack San Filippo (Shrewsbury, NJ) redirected a deflection of one of 14 New Jersey corner kicks into the upper left corner of the net for the equalizer with 6:54 left in regulation. Just 1:08 later, senior Jason Cairns (Brick, NJ) blasted in the game-winner.
Amherst concludes its finest season in the 77-year history of the varsity program. The Jeffs finish with a 12-5-2 record with the most wins in a single seasonwhere they peaked as the No. 4 team in the nation midway through the fall. The Jeffs are the first men's program to reach the NCAA Final Four after earning Amherst's first-ever NCAA berth in 1993.
The College of New Jersey (17-5) will face Wheaton (IL - 23-0-1) for the national title on Saturday at 1:00pm. The Crusaders defeated host Mary Washington (21-3-1) 2-1 in the second semifinal on Battleground Complex.
at Battleground Complex, Fredericksburg, Virginia Amherst (12-5-2) 1 0 -- 1 College of New Jersey (17-5) 0 2 -- 2Scoring: AC Andy Kay (Tim Christian) 44:20, TCNJ Jack San Filippo 83:06, TCNJ Jason Cairns (Albie Lobbato) 84:14.
# # # 11/28/97