MEDFORD – Senior co-captain Tanner Jameson scored his first collegiate goal with 34 seconds left in regulation to send the Tufts University men's soccer team through to the NCAA "Sweet 16" with a 2-1 victory against WPI at Bello Field on Sunday.
With the second-round win, Tufts advances to its sixth straight "Sweet 16" and the program's seventh overall.
The Jumbos (16-2-2) will travel to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania this weekend for the NCAA Sectionals. Tufts will take on Washington and Lee University (17-2-3) in a third-round game on Saturday at 3:30 pm. Host Swarthmore College (11-3-5) plays Connecticut College (12-3-3) in the other Sectional semifinal at the site with a 1 pm start time. Sunday's "Elite 8" game with a berth into the "Final Four" on the line will start at 3 pm.
At home on Bello Field this past weekend, the Jumbos defeated SUNY Maritime College 5-1 in the first round on Saturday. Against the Engineers on Sunday, Tufts trailed 1-0 before a goal by junior Calvin Aroh in the 55th-minute and then the late game-winner by Jameson on a corner kick from sophomore Zach Seigelstein.
"The character to come back from 1-0 down against an outstanding defensive team like WPI was a great tribute to our guys," Tufts head coach Josh Shapiro said after the game. "The heart and belief that we showed today is going to be required this next weekend. We can't wait for the next challenge."
Tufts is the defending NCAA champion and winners of three of the last five national titles under Coach Shapiro. The two victories over the weekend gave Tufts a 23-5-2 NCAA mark overall. Including five wins en route to last year's championship, Tufts has won seven straight overall in the tournament. The Jumbos are making their ninth tournament appearance overall.
Washington and Lee is on a five-year run of tournament appearances and has a 5-4-3 record in their sixth NCAA Tournament overall. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament champions this year, the Generals went to the Sectional semifinals in 2017. They advanced to the "Sweet 16" with a 3-2 victory against Gettysburg on Sunday.
Host Swarthmore was the runner-up in the very first NCAA Division III Championship that was contested in 1974 and has a12-5-3 record in their eighth NCAA berth. The Garnet advanced past Christopher Newport on penalty kicks in the second round yesterday. Connecticut College tripled its NCAA win total over the weekend and is now 3-3 in their fourth appearance. They defeated a Johns Hopkins team that was at the top of this quadrant of the bracket 1-0 on Sunday.
Three of the top 25 defensive teams in the nation will be at the site this weekend. As of November 13, Tufts was 16th (0.64 goals against average), Connecticut College was 20th (0.66) and Washington and Lee was 21st (0.66). Offensively, only Washington and Lee are in the NCAA top 40 with 2.60 goals per game. Tufts scores 2.27 goals per game, the Camels 1.92 and Swarthmore has a 1.78 average.