NCAA Final: Cabrini 16, Amherst 12

Amherst Men's Lacrosse

Courtesy of Amherst Sports Information

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – In front of a crowd of nearly 19,000 fans, the Amherst men's lacrosse team was unable to match a five-goal fourth quarter by the Cabrini Cavaliers as the Mammoths fell to Cabrini, 16-12 in the 2019 NCAA Championship game on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Returning to the NCAA Championships for the sixth straight year, and seventh time overall, Sunday's matchup was the first-ever appearance in the National Championship game for the Mammoths.

Forcing a shot clock violation on Cabrini's opening possession, Jackson Herrick took advantage of the Mammoths strong defensive opening and 21 seconds later powered a low bounce shot past the Cavaliers' keeper off a dish from Brogan Mahon at the 12:41 mark.

Doubling the lead with 10:27 on the clock, PJ Clementi connected with Jack Norton for a score before Bill Morgan got Cabrini on the board with an unassisted strike at the 8:34 mark.

Trading goals to close out the first quarter, Mahon picked up his 16th goal of the spring with an assist from Matt Solberg, while Sean Wagner set the score at 3-2 in favor of the Mammoths at the end of 15 minutes of action with a goal with 30 seconds on the clock.

Capitalizing on a Cavaliers' unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at end of the first quarter, the Mammoths bumped their lead to 4-2 at the 14:35 mark as Dylan Peabody scored a man-up goal off a feed from Evan Wolf

Countering just over a minute a later, Kevin Leyden found the back of the net to make it a one-goal game.

A sprawling save by Gib Versfeld on a bounce shot by Bill Morgan at the 11:16 mark kept the Mammoths out in front before Solberg got the edge on his defender and sent a shot under the bar to tally his 47th goal of the year. Finding the back of the net once again at the 8:55 mark, Jon Coffey sent a laser past the helmet of the Cabrini netminder to push the score to 6-3. 

Cabrini closed out the first half with a 3-0 run in a span of 1:02 to deadlock the sides at 6-6 at intermission. Tyler Kostack, Jake Huey and Jordan Krug were the Cabrini goal scorers during the run. 

Regaining a one-goal edge 1:05 into the third, Herrick drove down the left alley and powered a shot from 10 yards out waist high into the nylon. The goal was the junior's second of the day and 19th of the season.

Responding with back-to-back goals, Morgan and Krug beat the Versfeld keeper at the 12:14 and 11:36 marks, respectively, to give the home team their first lead of the contest, before a well-placed, high pass from Grant Chryssicas connected with Wolf on the back post for the quick redirect 18 seconds later.  

Following a Kyle Tucker goal for the Cavaliers, Versfeld set up a Solberg score, making a highlight reel save on a low to high shot seconds before Solberg roll dodged his defender to find the back of the net. 

Scores by Tucker and Kostack got Cabrini back out in front, 11-9, before Clementi gathered the ball right of the net, faked to the cage and found Wolf on the far post after the senior snuck behind his three marking defenders to set the score at 11-10 entering the final 15 minutes of action. 

Cabrini pulled away in the fourth to clinch its first NCAA title, outscoring the Mammoths 5-2 down the stretch to seal the 16-12 victory.

The first two minutes of the fourth quarter proved to be the difference, with the Cavaliers stringing together a 3-0 run, including two goals in 10 seconds, to extend their advantage to 14-10 behind goals from Tucker, Brooks (man-up) and Kyle Myers.

The teams went goal-for-goal in the final 11:56, with Coffey's conversion on the fast break at the 11:56 being countered by a Brooks goal 59 seconds later and a diving backhanded score by Minicus with 8:32 on the clock being offset by a what stood as the game's final score – a goal from Morgan at the 3:32 mark.

Versfeld (5-3) registered nine saves for Amherst in the losing effort, while Riley White (12-1) racked up 11 saves in the win.

Solberg, Herrick, Wolf, and Coffey led the Mammoths' attack with two goals each, while Clementi handed out a game-high three assists. With six ground balls, Jimmy McAfee led all players, while Coffey added five ground ball pickups. Dylan Finazzo and Juan Gonzalez finished 10-for-22 and 4-for-8 at the faceoff dot, respectively.

With the loss, Amherst closes out 2019 as the National Runner-Up and with an 18-4 overall record, matching the program mark for most wins in a season. 

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE

  • Amherst is 13-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Sunday's contest marked the first-ever matchup between the two institutions in men's lacrosse and just the second-ever contest between Amherst and Cabrini (men's basketball, 2013 Elite Eight).
  • The Mammoths avenged all three of their previous 2019 losses in their road to the championship game, downing Tufts in the quarterfinals and archrival Williams in the Final Four. The Mammoths also had to play past Elizabethtown (Second Round) and Wesleyan (Third Round) on their journey to Philadelphia.
  • Sunday's game marked the final game for 11 seniors, with Gab Goncalves, Jamie Smith, Austin Park, midfielder Jack Norton, midfielder and captain Trenton Shore, midfielder and captain Brogan Mahon, defender Kyle Petrillo, midfielder Jack Wolff, attackman and captain Evan Wolf, defender Brendan Routh and midfielder Andrew Ford.