MEDFORD – For the third year in a row, Tufts University's Bello Field will be the site of NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship "Sweet 16" and "Elite Eight" games this weekend (Nov. 17-18).
Following its 1-0 victory over Stevens Institute of Technology in the NCAA second round on Sunday at Bello Field, the Jumbo men's soccer team (14-0-3) was announced as host of the upcoming NCAA Tournament Sectionals on Sunday night. Tufts is one of four sites in the nation hosting Sectional round games, joining Chicago, Case Western and Messiah.
The weekend will feature a pair of games between inter-conference rivals in the Sweet 16. Tufts will play New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foe Amherst College in the round of 16 on Saturday at 11 am. The game is between three of the last four national championship teams as Tufts won in 2014 and 2016, and Amherst was the 2015 chammpion. That will be followed by Ramapo College playing New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) rival Montclair State University in the other Sweet 16 match-up at 1:30 pm. Saturday's winners will move on to the national quarterfinals on Sunday at 1 pm, with a berth into the "Final Four" on the line.
Tickets for this weekend's games will be $7 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens. Gates will open at 10:00 am on Saturday and 12 noon on Sunday. Webcasts of all three contests will be provided at http://www.packnetwork.com/tufts/.
Junior Gavin Tasker scored in the 81st minute as Tufts eliminated Stevens on Sunday. Head coach Josh Shapiro's Jumbos received one of two first-round byes into the NCAA Tournament this year. Gaining at-large entry into the tournament field, Tufts is playing in its eighth NCAA Tournament and last Sunday's victory improved their record in those games to 17-5-2.
Amherst (14-4-1) hosted and advanced out of the Regional round with a 1-0 win against Bridgewater State on Saturday and then a 4-2 victory against St. Joseph's College (Maine) on Sunday. Also an at-large team, the Mammoths were led by senior Fikayo Ajayi's two goals with two assists to give St. Joseph's its first loss of the season on Sunday. Amherst is playing in its 18th NCAA Tournament with a 28-12-9 record after last weekend's two wins.
Ramapo (17-3-2) won the Regional hosted by Connecticut College over the weekend. After defeating Springfield 2-0 in their NCAA opener on Saturday, the Roadrunners knocked out the host Camels 1-0 in Sunday's second round. Junior Joseph Fala scored his 27th goal of the season early in the game to make the difference against Connecticut College. Ramapo is in just its second NCAA Tournament and their win over Bridgewater State was their first in tournament history (1-2 record).
Montclair State (17-1-4) is the lone conference champion in this weekend's field as the Red Hawks defeated Ramapo 5-0 to win the NJAC title. They lived dangerously in the Regional they hosted, advancing twice on penalty kicks against both Colby College (1-1 tie, 4-3 in PKs) and NYU (1-1 tie, 5-4 in PKs). Montclair is making its 17th overall appearance in the Division III Tournament with a 17-16-1 mark in those berths.
All four teams will be playing to advance to the national semi-finals on November 30 at UNCG Soccer Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina.