By Matt Noonan
CAMBRIDGE, MA – Before Endicott College commenced their non-conference match against Amherst College on Wednesday evening, the Gulls endured two back-to-back losses to St. John Fisher and RIT, two of Division III’s stronger units. And even though Sean Quirk’s squad saw its three-game winning streak conclude, he certainly believed both setbacks prepared his team for the Lord Jeff.
“The thing we just told our team is that loss against Fisher, who’s a great team, and RIT, (who’s fourth in the nation), helped us prepare for tonight,” said Quirk.
Endicott jumped out to an early lead, which Amherst erased, and then rallied to retain it by netting four strikes in the second session as the Gulls defeated the Lord Jeffs, 13-9, at Harvard University’s Soldiers Field.
The win marks the first time Endicott has defeated Amherst since the 2006 season.
“(It’s) great to get back in the win column, especially (against) a good team like Amherst. We came out and gave it our best and got the (win),” said Endicott’s Nick Pinciaro, who finished with three points (two goals, one assist).
The Gulls jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but the Lord Jeffs responded with strikes from Patrick Moroney, Devin Acton, Quinn Moroney and Connor Crump, which provided the visitors with a two-goal cushion.
Ryan Sutherland, who netted his first goal of the season, sparked a four-goal rally for Endicott after he deposited his shot past Amherst’s starting goaltender Rob Dickinson (nine saves) at 11:00 in the second quarter. Connor McCormack and Pinciaro each registered back-to-back man-up goals in a span of 22 seconds.
Pinciaro doubled his goal total with a strike at 2:35, which provided the Gulls with an 8-6 lead at intermission.
“(We) were basically just running our sets,” Pinciaro said of his team’s second quarter rally. “(We) just ran the sets well and everything went our way.”
Chris Murphy increased the Gulls lead on an unassisted strike before Amherst answered with Acton, who whipped the ball past Cameron Bell (13 saves) to bring the Lord Jeffs within two.
Following Acton’s goal, Endicott make sure Amherst wouldn’t get any closer as Harrison Cotter and Murphy pushed the hosts ahead by five before Kyle Weber sealed the win by wrapping around the left post and rifling his shot past Thomas Gilligan (10 saves), who replaced Dickinson in the second frame.
“Our guys came out strong tonight, we told them in the locker room that our game plan coming into it was we’ve got to jump on these guys early. Amherst is a very well coached team by Jon Thompson, they’re disciplined, they’ve got a lot of horses out there, so we knew we had to come out strong right away and our guys did that,” said Quirk.
“When Amherst came back, they responded with a few back-to-back goals, but our guys just got right back up and kept punching, so it was a big win for us, I’m proud of our guys the way they played tonight.”
Both squads will return to the grass on Saturday as Endicott will host Springfield College in Beverley, while Amherst will travel to Albany to face-off against Nazareth.