Tufts wins NCAA DIII men's soccer championship: Recap from Salem, Virginia
It was a hard-fought two days at Donald J. Kerr Stadium at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. At the end of the weekend, the Tufts Jumbos raised the trophy for the second time since 2014.
Three matches in two days, all decided by a mere one goal. Day 1 saw the Jumbos defeat semifinal newcomer St. Thomas (Minn.) 2-1. Stephen McMillian broke the ice with the first goal of his career for Tufts and Kevin Halliday found his brother Zach for the game winner. On the other side of the bracket, Calvin and Brandeis fought for nearly 80 scoreless minutes until Micah Beard scored the game winner.
The stage was set. Two teams with championship game experience, one looking for its first title, the other looking for its second in in three years.
It was another hard-fought battle between two of the top defenses in the country. Calvin entered the tournament allowing a paltry 0.50 goals-against average, while Tufts senior keeper Scott Greenwood was seventh in the nation behind a 0.46 goals-against average. Calvin's keeper Nate Van Ryn and Greenwood would make amazing save after amazing save, making goals hard to come by. At the end of 90 minutes, there were none on the board.
Nor was their one after the first 10-minute sudden-victory overtime. The Jumbos came out in the second overtime, relentless on the offensive side. Kevin Halliday, who assisted on the game-winner the day before, found Tyler Kulcsar on the corner for Tufts who put it in net. It was his first goal of the season and the timing couldn't have been better.
The Jumbos had prevailed. Tufts is your 2016 DIII men's soccer national champion.
"To get five shutouts in the NCAA tournament, three of them 1-0, there's no margins at this level," Tufts head coach Josh Shapiro said. "The kind of bravery, resilience and grittiness, it's just a really special group in terms on that mentality. I didn't expect to be in this chair today when I looked at this group, especially sitting at 0-2-1 at the beginning of the season. The way they've fought together, and fought for each other, and me, and the shirt, I could not be prouder of this group of Jumbos."
Read on below for a recap of the championship and the rest of the action live from Salem, Virginia.