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NCAA Div. 3 Soccer: Amherst College falls to Conn College in PKs for national title


Staff Reports
Monday, December 13, 2021

For the second time in as many tournaments, the Amherst College men’s soccer team fell one win shy of a national title.

NESCAC foe Connecticut College dominated a penalty kick shootout in Saturday night’s NCAA Division 3 title game, outscoring the Mammoths by a 4-1 margin in PKs to capture the national championship in Greensboro, N.C.

Amherst (17-3-2) also fell in the 2019 title game to Tufts. There was no 2020 tournament due to COVID-19. The Mammoths were looking for their second-ever national title, the other coming in 2015.

Amherst battled back from a 1-0 deficit thanks to a miraculous goal with just 87 seconds remaining in regulation. Ignacio Cubeddu, who scored the game-winning goal in double OT in the semifinal win over the University of Chicago, laced a long free kick that started just inside midfield and landed it near the six-yard box. In a scrum of players, Amherst’s Kyle Kelly managed to steer the ball into the net using his back, pulling the Mammoths level and forcing OT in the process.

Conn. College had taken a 1-0 lead in the 60th minute when Augie Djerdjaj netted a goal with an assist from Rye Jaran.

After two scoreless 10-minute overtime periods, the national title was decided via penalty kicks. The Camels turned to a freshman goalkeeper off the bench for the shootout, and Peter Silvester delivered. He stopped the first two Amherst shots from Felix Wu and Bryce Johnson, diving to his right both times to keep the ball out of the net.

The Camels (19-4-1) cashed in on their first two attempts against Amherst goalie Kofi Hope-Gund, and the club made it 3-0 when Djerdjaj buried a shot.

Amherst stayed alive thanks to a Gabe Gitler successful PK, but Connecticut sealed the deal in the fourth round when Lorenzo Bocchetti made it a perfect 4-for-4 to deliver the national title.

Both teams won their semifinal games via double-overtime results. Amherst had won the regular season meeting with the Camels, 2-0, back on Sept. 25.

Hope-Gund finished with four saves.