Hartford, Conn. – The Trinity College Bantams battled until the final whistle in its season-ending, 2-1 setback against the visiting Amherst College Mammoths in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men's soccer action in steady rain at Trinity Soccer Field this evening. Trinity closes the 2017 season with a 4-10-1 record, including a 3-2 mark over its last five games, and a 1-9-1 mark in the league. The No. 10-ranked Mammoths escaped with their fifth consecutive victory thanks to a game-winner by freshman midfielder Sebastian Derby (San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico) in the 79th minute. Amherst completes its regular season at 11-2-2 overall and a 6-2-2 mark in the league and will play Hamilton in the NESCAC Quarterfinals on Saturday, October 29 at 12:30 p.m.
The game was scoreless at halftime despite a 9-to-3 shooting edge for the visitors, as Bantam senior tri-captain Mateo Zabala (Medellin, Colombia) made all six of his saves in the opening 45 minutes. Amherst senior midfielder Aidan Von Ziegesar (Brooklyn, N.Y.) made Zabala leap high for one of those in the 20th minute, and rookie teammate Gabe Gitler (San Diego, Calif.) was stopped by Zabala trying to curl in a corner kick in the last minute before intermission. Junior midfielder William Baker (Los Angeles, Calif.) got off Trinity's first shot-on-goal in the 29th minute but was denied by Mammoth freshman goalie Kofi Hope-Gund (New York, N.Y.), while Bantam senior tri-captain forward Cody Savonen (Orleans, Mass.) missed just wide left with a shot in transition for Trinity's closest chance of the first half.
Amherst broke the scoreless tie when streaking sophomore forward Jim McMillan (Kensington, Md.) converted on a cross from deep in the left corner by Gitler 8:38 into the second frame. Trinity broke through just 21 seconds later on a rebound into the net by senior forward Scott Brazina (Concord, Mass.), after Savonen's initial hard shot dribbled away from Hope-Gund. Brazina nearly gave the Bantams a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute with a sliding shot off a loose ball from close, but the ball caromed off the cross bar. The Mammoths continued to pressure the Trinity defense but shot wide on several attempts before Derby one-timed in a Gitler pass for the clincher off a direct kick from just outside the right corner of the box after a Bantam foul.
Trinity came close to tying it back up on two occasions late. Brazina was called offsides before he could convert on a quick pass from the middle by Savonen in the 84th minute, and Trinity first-year back James Marden (Marblehead, Mass.) had a clear look blocked by a Mammoth defender before it could reach the goal while the Bantams played two players down in the final minute of play. Amherst finished with an 18-to-10 shooting advantage and Hope-Gund improved to 6-0 with four saves. The Mammoths were awarded all three corner kicks of the first half and Trinity had the only two corner kicks of the final 45 minutes.