Amherst vs. Skidmore
March 25, 2008
The Game Story:
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men's lacrosse team found itself in an early 3-0 hole against visiting Skidmore College but stormed back to lead late in the fourth quarter. The Lord Jeffs could not hang on, however, as the Thoroughbreds regained the lead and held on for an 11-10 victory to defeat Amherst for the second consecutive season. The Jeffs fall to 5-2 on the season, while Skidmore improves to 5-1.

Sophomore Matt Levesque netted the first two goals of the game before big brother Tom Levesque beat two Amherst defenders to a loose ball, turned and took three steps toward the net and fired a high shot that gave Skidmore a 3-0 advantage. The Thoroughbreds held the Jeffs scoreless for the first 13 minutes and 54 seconds of the opening quarter, but sophomore Tom McDonnell (Manhasset, NY) finally got Amherst on the board when senior tri-captain T.J. Jackson (Haverford, PA) carried the ball the length of the field and found senior Chris Mottau (Holliston, MA), who picked up the assist on McDonnell’s goal.

The Jeffs got to work much quicker in the second quarter as Jackson scored the first of his six goals after just 58 seconds of action. Matt Levesque responded just eight seconds later with his third tally to give Skidmore a 4-2 lead, as the Thoroughbreds took the face-off and headed right for the goal.

Skidmore started to play sloppy and commit unnecessary penalties in the second quarter, allowing Jackson to take advantage by scoring on a man-up opportunity. The visitors bumped their lead back to two goals but Jackson kept his team rolling by assisting on a goal from fellow senior tri-captain Will Ferrer (Greenwich, CT) before scoring another to notch things up at 5-5 as the Skidmore flags kept coming.

Sophomore Cory Barkoff’s second goal of the game with 4:41 remaining in the half increased Skidmore’s lead to 6-5, which is where the score stood when the teams headed into halftime. The Thoroughbreds held a 17-14 advantage in shots at the break, as junior Matt Pietroforte (Brooklyn, NY) had seven saves for the Jeffs and sophomore John Capitani made six stops for Skidmore.

Tom Levesque opened up the scoring in the third quarter to give his team a 7-5 lead, but the next two goals would be scored by Jackson before sophomore J.T. Milone (Manhasset, NY) gave Amherst its first lead of the game with 8:45 remaining in the period. Milone’s shot hit the back of the net just a split second after a man-up opportunity expired, as the T-Breds continued to pay for their penalties.

Senior Kevin Robar found himself wide open with the ball just two minutes later and had a 1-on-1 situation with Pietroforte, who could not do much after the defensive lapse and surrendered his eighth goal of the game. The final six minutes of the third quarter were extremely heated and physical, with the intensity increasing when the teams headed into fourth quarter notched at 8-8.

Milone once again scored a go-ahead goal, with junior Tim Thornton (Garden City, NY) picking up one of his four assists on the day, and Amherst held its one-goal lead for nearly six minutes of the final frame. The scoreless drought ended when first-year Jacques Ward picked up a crucial steal in the Amherst zone and carried the ball 80 yards before beating a pair of Lord Jeff defenders and scoring the game-tying goal with 6:56 remaining.

Tom Levesque gave Skidmore a 10-9 lead just 94 seconds later before junior quad-captain Nick Coppola delivered a big blow with an unassisted goal coming out of a timeout, as the Jeffs found themselves trailing by two with 2:22 remaining in regulation. Jackson was able to chalk up one last goal with 58.6 ticks on the clock, but Amherst’s final shots all sailed wide. Ferrer had one last look at the goal and let a hard shot loose as the final horn sounded, but the ball sailed high and the Thoroughbreds stormed the field with the dramatic 11-10 victory

Pietroforte and Capitani finished the game with 12 saves and 10 saves, respectively, while the Levesque brothers each scored three goals and Coppola tallied a goal and three assists to lead Skidmore to victory. The two teams were even in several categories, but the Jeffs held a slim 36-29 advantage in shots.

Amherst returns to action Saturday to resume its NESCAC schedule with a 1 p.m. game at Connecticut College.