Connecticut College wins NCAA Division III National Championship
Update: Men’s Soccer outlasts Amherst in penalty kicks To capture program’s first title. For more on this developing story, visit camelatheltics.com.
Victory is always sweet, but an NCAA Division III Elite Eight victory over NESCAC rival and two-time defending national champion Tufts—the same team that knocked the Camels out of the tournament in 2019 and bested them in the NESCAC championship game just a few weeks back—is even sweeter, Coach Reuben Burk told The Day.
“If there was a game to get them, it was definitely this game. Definitely a sweet one to get,” he said. “It was almost meant to be, right? The guys were joking (Saturday) that they didn’t want to play in the Elite Eight unless it was Tufts.”
In an exhilarating and sometimes wild contest Sunday at Tuft’s homefield, four different Camels found the back of the net and the No. 6-ranked Camels held on to a second half lead to beat the No. 7 Jumbos 5-4.
Tufts got on the board first in the high-scoring contest, scoring in the 19th minute. But the Camels responded just 1:07 later, when MT Tshuma ’22 tallied the first of his two goals on a header set up by midfielder Rye Jaran ’24. The Jumbos took the lead back in 28th minute, but the Camels were able to net the equalizer and shift the momentum heading into halftime when Matt Scoffone ’24 volleyed a shot that hit off the crossbar and was ruled in with just 19 seconds left.
Conn came out firing in the second half. Forward Jake Creus ’24 took a loose ball off a blocked shot and found the back of the net to give the Camels their first lead of the game. Conn then scored twice more—with midfielder Augie Djerdjaj ’23 scoring off a well-placed pass by Creus and then Tshuma notching his second goal of the game—to give the Camels a sizable 5-2 lead in the 67th minute.
The Jumbos, whose only other loss all year was to the Camels in a regular season matchup, fought back, scoring twice more. But the Camels held on, with goalie Sam Maidenberg ’23 making six saves for Conn, which was outshot 19-14 in the high-scoring match.
In Sweet 16 action on Saturday, Conn’s Alessandro Horvath Diano ’24 scored his second goal of the season in the 89th minute of play to propel the Camels to a 1-0 victory over Redlands.
The Camels will now make their first appearance in the Final Four round, and the team becomes just the second Conn team to compete in a national semifinal match in any sport. Men’s basketball was the first in 1999.
The team will travel to Greensboro, N.C., to face Washington & Lee University in the first semifinal matchup at the UNCG Soccer Stadium on Friday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. Amherst College and the University of Chicago will compete in the second semifinal, and the two winners will play for the national title on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. Watch the livestream.
“Although it’s great that we made history, we’ve come too far not to give it our very best to win it all,” Burk said.
“Now that we can see it, let’s be the national champs.”