Williams vs. Amherst
April 14, 2007
The Game Story:
Williamstown, MA- The Williams men's lacrosse team fell to Amherst 10-9 in overtime this afternoon on Renzie Lamb Field. Thomas McDonnell scored an unassisted goal with 1:37 remaining in the first overtime period to secure the win for the Lord Jeffs. Williams falls to 5-3 on the season, while Amherst improves to 5-6.

This was an extremely close game for all 60 minutes. Neither team led by more than 2 goals at any point in the game. To say the least, this match now has its place within the long, illustrious history of great sports contests between Williams and Amherst.

Derek Cherney scored the first of his 5 goals on the day with 6:16 in the 1st quarter to get Amherst on the scoreboard first. Mike Vrla scored for Williams just 9 seconds later, winning the ensuing face-off and firing a shot past goalie Andrew Harrison all by himself. This outstanding sequence of play from Vrla was indicative of his performance for the entire game, as he would score five more times in the contest.

T.J. Jackson gave Amherst a 2-1 lead going into the 2nd quarter. Williams would outscore the Lord Jeffs 4-3 in that period to tie the game at 5-5 at halftime. Vrla scored three times during the quarter, while T.J. Jackson scored his 2nd and 3rd goals of the game. The most bizarre play of the match happened in the very last seconds of the half. Billy Kelly of Williams had the ball outside the offensive box and looked to pass the ball to a teammate in front of the goal. The pass was deflected and bounced past a screened Andrew Harrison with 1 second left to tie the game. Harrison played very well in the goal for Amherst, making 12 saves.

Tim White scored an unassisted goal early in the 3rd quarter to give Williams its first lead of the contest. John-Thomas Milone scored for Amherst to tie it again, but Vrla would then score his 5th and 6th goals of the game. At the end of three quarters, Williams led 8-6.

Derek Cherney of Amherst dominated the 4th quarter, scoring all three Lord Jeff goals in that period. Cherney beat the Williams defense twice in the first three minutes of the period to tie the game. Then Tim White and Cherney traded tallies to bring the contest to its 9-9 score at the end of regulation.

Both teams had their chances on offense in overtime. Williams won the opening face-off and called a timeout to draw up an offensive play. Andrew Harrison made a save on a Williams shot and then cleared the ball for Amherst, after which they took a timeout of their own.

However, it would be the most chaotic, unsettled of plays that decided this thrilling game. As both teams fought for a ground ball in front of the Williams goal, the loose ball bounced fortuitously for Amherst right to Thomas McDonnell. McDonnell quickly fired a shot past Williams goalie Michael Gerbush for the victory. Gerbush made 10 saves in the cage for Williams.

"This was a great Williams-Amherst game," said Williams coach George McCormack. "It's a shame anyone had to lose it, because both teams played their hearts out. Even though it was a loss for us, it's still something we can build on."

Despite losing, Williams maintained an advantage on ground balls, face-offs, and shots. Chris Merwin and Mike Vrla dominated face-offs for Williams, combining for 14 wins on 22 draws. Williams converted on both extra-man opportunities.

Williams will next host Tufts Monday evening.