Men’s Soccer Advances, Field Hockey Falls in NCAA Final
The Tufts University men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Final Four after defeating Montclair State University 4-0 on November 18 at Bello Field on the strength of four first half-goals. This will be the third time in the program’s history that the Jumbos will appear in the Final Four.
Tufts will take on the University of Rochester in the national semifinals on November 30 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Head coach Josh Shapiro’s Jumbos will be competing for their third NCAA championship, after earning national titles in 2014 and 2016.
Also this weekend, the field hockey Jumbos made it to the NCAA championship game, but fell short against Middlebury College 2-0 on November 18 at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, Pennsylvania. Middlebury has now won back-to-back NCAA titles, three of the last four and four overall.
This was the third time these two teams have met this season, and the fourth time that the Jumbos have made the NCAA title game. With the loss, the Jumbos finished the season with a 19-3 record.
On the Soccer Field
Tufts (16-0-3) came out aggressive early pushing the ball down the field against a Montclair State (18-2-4) team that was averaging nearly four goals per contest. The Jumbos started their first-half onslaught in the eighth minute when junior Brett Rojas won a ball from a Montclair defender and dished it nicely over to junior forward Joe Braun on the right. He put a low shot past Red Hawk senior goalie Mike Saalfrank to put Tufts up 1-0. The goal was Braun’s team-leading ninth this year while Rojas picked up his eighth assist.
That was followed by goas by junior midfielder Gavin Tasker from aRojas assist; a third by sophomore midfielder Travis Van Brewer; and the capper by sophomore Derek Enge, his first career goal.
The four goals today were the most for Tufts in NCAA play since their 4-2 victory against Wheaton (Ill.) in the 2014 NCAA Championship game. This was the Jumbos’ fourth consecutive shutout and 12th this season. In the NCAA Tournament this fall they have now outscored three opponents 8-0.
A Very Tight Field Hockey Game
While the Jumbos earned advantages of 8-3 in shots and 7-2 in corners for the first thirty-five minutes, a goal by Middlebury left them with a 1-0 lead.
During the middle of the second half, Middlebury held most of the possession. Tufts couldn’t create any separation, and they had no shots in the first twenty-seven minutes of second-half action. In the fifty-ninth minute, the Panthers scored a second goal.
The Jumbos would get a penalty corner toward the end of the half, but were unable to capitalize, and took their third loss against the Panthers this season.
The Jumbos had twelve total shots while Middlebury had nine. Tufts had nine penalty corners while Middlebury had five.
Tufts has now been the national runner-up three times, including 2016 and 2008.