The season couldn’t have started any better for Amherst. The Purple & White racked up a perfect 14-0-0 record, clinched the rugged New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and were the top-ranked team, according to BennettRank.
But, even the best seasons tend to have a little adversity thrown into them and Amherst’s season hit that roadblock right before the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament kicked off late last month. Amherst’s struggles started with a double-overtime, 1-1 tie against Trinity (Conn.) in their final NESCAC game of the season.
The sluggish play by the Purple & White continued into their opening-round game in the NESCAC Tournament when they were bounced out by eighth-seeded Wesleyan, 1-0. The loss came just a week after Amherst dominated Wesleyan with a 5-0 win at home in NESCAC action.
Amherst, however, was awarded an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament, along with a first-round bye and the rest is history. The Purple & White outscored their three opponents, 5-0, in their three games, beating Morrisville State, 2-0, downing Lycoming, 2-0, and winning a dramatic, 1-0, double-overtime game over Trinity (Tex.) to earn the trip to Kansas City. Forward Nico Pascual-Leone tallied the game-winner in the 105th minute to send Amherst through.
Amherst, from Massachusetts, will take on SUNY Oneonta in the semfinals on Friday with a berth into Saturday’s national championship game on the line.
Here is a closer look at how Amherst got to the Final Four: