Courtesy of Williams Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. - The Williams College men's lacrosse team (15-2) advanced to the NESCAC Championship game with an 11-8 win over archrival Amherst College (14-3) in a NESCAC Semifinal game played on the campus of Tufts University. The win was the second this season by the Ephs over the Mammoths.
The Eph defense held NESCAC Player of the Year Evan Wolf in check limiting him to two goals and one assist. Amherst entered the contest averaging 19 goals a game.
The Ephs opened up a 5-1 first quarter lead taking advantage of two man-up opportunities and two goals off the stick of Brendan Hoffman. Hoffman tallied three scores in the quarter and his last was an unassisted tally with eight seconds left in the frame. Kevin Stump netted the other two Eph goals. NESCAC Rookie of the Year Jake Haase had two assists with one on a Hoffman goal and one on a Stump score.
The Ephs held Amherst scoreless for 16 minutes over the course of the end of the first quarter and the early minutes of the second quarter.
Amherst re-grouped and blanked the Ephs in the second quarter while getting goals from Wolf, on a nifty rebound conversion and Matt Solberg.
Williams held a 5-4 lead at the intermission.
Amherst outscored Williams 4-2 in the third quarter taking an 8-7 lead on an unassisted goal by Colin Minicus with eight seconds remaining in the quarter.
Down 8-7 with 15 minutes to play the Eph defense rose up again and blanked the Mammoths in the fourth quarter.
At 12:59 Hoffman overpowered his defender and bounced in a shot to knot the score at eight all. The go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner came from John Hincks who leaped into the air to snare a rebound off a shot, caught the ball, and slipped it past Amherst goalie Gib Versfeld and then landed near, but not in the crease.
Stump then set up Haase from four yards out in and Haase converted over the goalie's right shoulder to make it 10-8 Williams.
The final goal of the day came from Cory Lund who was set up for the tally by a pass from Haase.
The Ephs scored three man-up goals in a game that saw Amherst penalized nine times for eight minutes. Eph goalie Harry Gahagan stopped 20 shots by the Mammoths and allowed eight goals, while the Mammoths' Versfeld made 18 saves and allowed 11 goals.
Hoffman led all scorers with four goals, Stump added three, and assisted on two, while Haase scored two goals and had a game-high three assists. Wolf was the lone Mammoth player to score more than one goal on the day (2) and Minicus added a goal and registered two assists.
The win puts the Ephs into the NESCAC Championship game for the first time since 2008. The win by the Ephs sets a record for the most wins in one season for a program that began in 1928 and ties the Ephs' record for most lacrosse wins in a season set by the Williams women's team that went 15-0 in 1996.
Williams will face host Tufts on Sunday at 12 p.m. at Tufts to determine the 2019 NESCAC Champion and the winner will earn the conference's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.