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NCAA Soccer
The Jeffs hope to return to the NCAA Final Four for the first time since 1997

Jeffs to Face SUNY Cortland in NCAA Second Round Saturday at St. Lawrence

November 13, 2002

AMHERST, MA After advancing to the NESCAC title game with a 2-1 win at top-seeded Bowdoin College in the conference semifinals, the 12-4-1 Amherst College men's soccer team has earned an at-large bid and a first-round bye in the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament. The Jeffs will open against 15-5-1 SUNY Cortland, which also drew a first-round bye, Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at regional host St. Lawrence University.

Elsewhere in Amherst's region, Worcester State will play a first-round game at Ithaca College on Wednesday, November 13, with the winner facing St. Lawrence in the second round Saturday at 11 a.m. The two second-round winners will then square off in the regional finals on Sunday, November 17, also at St. Lawrence. That winner will advance to the national quarterfinals at a site to be determined by the NCAA.

Amherst, ranked second in New England, took a seven-game winning streak into the NESCAC Tournament, where it edged visiting Tufts University 2-1 in the quarterfinals and downed host Bowdoin in the semifinals before falling to Williams College 3-0 in the championship game. The Jeffs are paced offensively by first-year forward Joe Gannon (Hanson, MA), who leads the team with 27 points on nine goals and nine assists. Junior forward Jeff Cantwell (Randolph, NJ) has also been hot of late with seven goals and four assists.

Defense has become somewhat of a forte for Amherst, which boasts eight shutouts and an overall goals against average of just 0.93. First-year goalkeeper Greg Lockwood (Vancouver, WA) has allowed just 11 goals in 14 games (1,211 minutes), with the help of veteran defenders Tim Canon '04 (Easthampton, MA) and senior quad-captain Roger Boulay (Norfolk, MA).

The Jeffs last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1998, advancing to the regional semifinals, after making a dramatic run to the NCAA Final Four in 1997.

Saturday's opponent, SUNY Cortland, earned its NCAA berth by winning its second consecutive SUNYAC Tournament Championship. The second-seeded Red Dragons defeated third-seeded Plattsburgh 3-2 in the semifinals and top-seeded Brockport 4-2 in the championship game.

Cortland brings a nine-game winning streak into NCAA Tournament play. Senior forward Jesse Mankowski (Clarence, NY), the SUNYAC regular-season and tournament MVP, leads the Red Dragons with 17 goals and 44 total points. His 10 assists are second best on the team. Senior midfielder Kevin Russell (Delmar, NY) has 12 goals and a team-high 12 assists for 36 points. On defense, freshman goalie Ross Morelli (Rochester, NY) took over starting duties midway through the season and has posted a 9-1 record with four shutouts and a 1.19 goals against average in 11 games.

SUNY Cortland is making its 17th NCAA Tournament appearance.

NCAA Tournament Bracket