NCAA Division III

Rutgers-Camden and Messiah advance to NCAA Div III Final Four

Photo: Courtesy of Messiah Athletics

Before the sectional rounds concluded on Sunday, several local teams remained in the NCAA Division III men’s soccer tournament. After Sunday’s games, only two remain. Here’s a review of the conclusion of the sectional rounds and a look ahead to the semifinals in San Antonio.

Franklin and Marshall

Leading goal scorer Ben Beaver continued an impressive senior season with a brace in the Diplomats 3-0 defeat of Rose-Hulman in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament on Saturday. With the victory, F&M reached their first Elite 8 appearance in the modern era and took on Messiah College. On Sunday, the Diplomats historic season came to an end with a 4-1 defeat to the Falcons. Chase TenBrook scored the lone goal on a Messiah defensive mishap.

Messiah

With Ohio Weselyan falling victim to Rose-Hulman’s upset victory, the Falcons hosted a pod for the sectional rounds. In their Sweet 16 match against Kenyon, cold temperatures and a high wind factored into the game. In the opening minutes, Sheldon Myer’s hard strike three minutes in unbelievably found the upper right corner side netting thanks in part to the strong winds. Right before the half, Keynon scored the equalizer after a miscommunication between the Falcon defense and the goalie left a wide open net for a shot 25 yards out. It looked like Messiah and Kenyon would be heading for overtime until Brian Ramirez scored the the 89th minute game-winner, sending Shoemaker Field into jubilation with the 2-1 win.

On Sunday, Messiah met up with Franklin and Marshall for the first time since Sept. 11, 2002 when Messiah won 5-0. In the early going, both teams battled back and forth. In the 37th minute, Messiah’s Josh Wood’s struck for his 21st goal of the season. The score remained 1-0 heading into half, but Messiah’s offensive prowess and pressure paid of in the second half when clearly dominated play to score goals in the 47th, 66th, and 79th minute. Franklin and Marshall prevented the shut-out when the Falcon defense failed to successfully clear out a ball in the 83rd minute.

With the 4-1 win, Messiah advance to their 13th Final Four appearance in 14 years. Their lone absence occurred in 2011 when they were upset by Neumann University.

Rutgers-Camden

Rutgers’ undefeated season continued through another weekend of soccer. Like Messiah, Rutgers hosted one of the four sectional rounds pods. In their first match, they dispatched York (Pa.) 3-1, who end the season with a 19-3-1 record.¬†Keegan Balle scored in the 40th, and Joe Auleta in the 44th minute to put Rutgers up 2-0 before the half. In the second half, Balle added his second of the match in the 51st minute. Brendan Saberton scored York’s lone goal in the 58th minute.

On Sunday, Rutgers matched up with familiar conference foe Montclair State for the third time this season. In earlier season action, Rutgers first tied 0-0 with Montclair before winning 4-1 in NJAC Championships Semifinal action. In the sectionals, Connor Hurff put the hosts up 1-0 just 3:47 into the match before Mike Ryan scored the eventual game-winner for the Scarlet Raptors three minutes later.  The Red Hawks battled hard and found a goal of their own with 25:20 left in the game when Lucas Terci scored off a penalty kick. In the end, Rutgers held on for the 2-1 victory.

With the win, Rutgers advances to their first Final Four and extend their two-year unbeaten streak to 36 games (31-0-5). With Amherst losing over the weekend, their unbeaten streak of 40 games was snapped. The 36-game unbeaten streak is now the longest in Division III soccer after Amherst’s 40 game streak ended with Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Williams College.

Looking Ahead

The final games of the Division III championship will take place in San Antonio at Toyota Field, home of the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions, on Dec. 6 and 7. Rutgers-Camden will face Loras at 7 pm ET in the semifinals, followed by Messiah taking on Williams at 9:30pm ET.

While a championship final featuring local teams is possible, another possible match-up is Messiah taking on Loras. That would be a rematch of last year’s semifinal match in which Mike Kovach’s overtime winner advanced Messiah past Loras 1-0.

Be on the look out for a Final Four preview coming Thursday, Dec. 5. Additionally, game recaps involving local teams will be published following the matches.

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. Quite amazing that 2 local teams are in the final 4!

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