MEDFORD – Senior co-captain Sterling Weatherbie, junior forward Joe Braun and junior midfielder Gavin Tasker of the "Final Four" Tufts University men's soccer team have been named 2018 United Soccer Coaches First Team All-New England Region.
|Sterling Weatherbie||Joe Braun||Gavin Tasker|
These three Jumbos have been crucial parts to this Jumbo team that is headed to Greensboro, North Carolina this week for the NCAA Final Four. Tufts has ramped up their offense this season as they average 2.16 goals per contest after last season's 1.90 goals a game. Defensively, the Jumbos have only allowed nine goals this year to this point, good for 0.45 goals against average which is the sixth-best in the country.
This is the second straight season in which Weatherbie has earned All-New England Region honors after receiving third team last year. Weatherbie also was named to the 2018 New England Small Athletic Conference (NESCAC) first team for his efforts. In 40 games over the past two seasons, the brown and blue have only allowed 11 goals with Weatherbie playing major minutes along the back line. He has brought toughness, physicality and knowledge to the Jumbo defense throughout his career. Weatherbie has also contributed on the offensive end this fall netting four goals, which includes two conference game-winners against Colby and Bowdoin.
Braun has had a breakout junior season in which he leads the team in goals with nine and points with 22. He earned 2018 first team All-NESCAC honors and was NESCAC Player of the Week on October 1. The junior has started 15 games for the brown and blue this season. In two games he has scored multiple goals including wins against Williams and Trinity. Braun plays physical and has drawn the attention of defenses for his success as well as aggressiveness this season. He has a knack for being in the right place with 20 shots on goal and is always a threat to head in goals off corner kicks with his 6'5" frame. The junior scored the first goal in the NCAA Elite Eight against Montclair State to help guide the Jumbos to a 4-0 victory.
Tasker has earned his first All-Region honors with his play this season. The midfielder has netted six goals and dished out three assists in 19 games played. He also was named to the 2018 NESCAC All-Conference first team for the first time in his career. The gritty midfielder often starts the Jumbo offense as he uses his speed to get the ball up the field. In the Jumbos' win against Brandeis, who knocked Tufts out of NCAA's last fall, he scored one of the team's goals in the redemptive 2-1 victory. Tasker has been clutch in post-season play as he scored the game-winning goal in the 81st minute against Stevens Institute of Technology in the round of 32 1-0 win. He also buried a goal and tallied an assist in the Elite Eight victory against Montclair State.
Over the past three years with these three on the roster, head coach Josh Shapiro's Jumbos have compiled a record of 46-12-12, 11 NCAA Tournament wins, the program's first NESCAC Championship in 2017, and an NCAA Championship in 2016.
The Jumbos will be competing in the Final Four against Rochester on Friday at 1:45 pm. Thus far in the NCAA Tournament, Tufts has outscored their opponents 8-0.
Three All-New England teams were selected overall by United Soccer Coaches.
Written by Athletic Communciations Intern Bryan Costello