NESCAC Semifinal: No. 8 Colby 3, No. 4 Amherst 1

No. 8 Colby advanced to the NESCAC Championship game

Courtesy of Colby Sports Information

AMHERST, Mass. - The Colby College men's soccer team will try to make history Sunday after a thrilling 3-1 victory over 20th-ranked Amherst College in a New England Small College Athletic Conference semifinal game Saturday.

The eighth-seeded Mules already made team history by reaching the NESCAC Final Four for the first time. Colby can now make conference history by becoming the first eighth seed to win the league title. Wesleyan University is the only other eighth seed to advance to a NESCAC Final, but lost 1-0 in overtime in the title game. The Mules will play against either Williams College or Hamilton College in the championship game at noon Sunday. 

Game highlights

* The Mules (8-6-3 overall) had a breakout game offensively and another huge effort from the defense.

* The game was moved Saturday morning to Gooding Field, the turf field where the Amherst field hockey team plays during the fall. With rain having soaked the regular soccer field and more rain in the forecast, the game was switched to the artificial turf surface.

* Colby has good team speed and playing on the turf did not hurt the Mules. The speed showed when Asa Berolzheimer broke in from the right side in a sprint with a defender and made a nice pass across the penalty area to Jeff Rosenberg, who was sprinting in hard and one-timed the ball in the back of the net just 9:18 into the first half.

* After going into the halftime break up 1-0, the Mules tallied just 1:29 into the second half. Cam Clouse had a long throw-in deep in Amherst territory. The ball appeared to deflect off an Amherst defender and went to Rosenberg in front for the score. Rosenberg did a nice job of knifing down on the bouncing ball.

* Exactly 11 minutes later, Colby stunned the fourth-seeded home team by going up 3-0. The Mammoths took a 3-0 home win over the Mules during the regular season. The Mules scored off a free kick when both Clouse and Paul Hawkins gently touched the ball to Berolzheimer, who ripped a low shot off the wall and into the right corner of the goal.

* The Mammoths (12-4-1), who have five NESCAC titles in men's soccer (the last in 2016), made it interesting by scoring less than two minutes after Colby's third goal. Bryce Johnson scored his second of the season off an assist from Alex Shahmirzadi at 59:04. Johnson volleyed in a shot off a pass from deep in the left corner. 

By the numbers

* Colby goalkeeper Dan Carlson mad five saves. Clouse had a team save when Amherst nearly made it 3-2. Andres Pascual-Leone had a header shot off the left post with about 13 minutes remaining. The ball deflected to German Giammattei, who rifled a low shot by Carlson only to have Clouse clear the ball of the line.

* Mammoth keeper Bernie White was not credited with a save. Amherst had a 27-7 shot advantage, but Colby scored on its only three shots on goal.