BRUNSWICK, Maine - Second-ranked Tufts men's soccer prevailed 4-3 in overtime over Bowdoin in an electric NESCAC match in the regular-season finale Tuesday.
|Weatherbie buried game-winning goal vs. Bowdoin|
Sophomore midfielder Travis Van Brewer booted a corner kick in the 97th minute that found the foot of senior back Sterling Weatherbie who was able to put the ball past Bowdoin freshman goaltender Chris Kingston to give the Jumbos the 4-3 win.
Tufts (13-0-2, 8-0-2 NESCAC) earned the #1 seed in the upcoming NESCAC Championship with the win against Bowdoin (9-4-2, 5-3-2 NESCAC). It's the second straight year and third time in five seasons that Tufts secured the #1 spot.
The Polar Bears collected the first shot of the game when freshman midfielder Harry Cooper fired in at Tufts senior goalie Conner Mieth who recorded a save in the third minute of action. Tufts midfielder Zach Lane had a great chance in the seventh minute that was saved by Kingston.
In the 15th minute, the Jumbos earned a free kick that was taken by junior midfielder Jack Delaney. He lobbed a ball into the zone that found the head of junior forward Joe Braun to give Tufts a 1-0 edge. The goal was Braun's eighth and Delaney recorded his second assist of the year.
After the goal, the action continued to be fast-paced and Weatherbie had an opportunity to extend the lead, but Kingston made another save in the 19th minute. Bowdoin sophomore midfielder Drake Byrd got a header shot on goal in the 22nd minute, but Mieth was able to stop it from going in the goal. Seven minutes later Lane came back up the right side of the field and sent a shot just wide of the net.
Bowdoin struck in the 42nd minute when senior midfielder Moctar Niang outfought everyone for the ball in front of the net and was able to score to make it a 1-1 game. Niang's goal was his seventh of the season.
In the first half, the Jumbos outshot the Polar Bears seven (four on goal) to five (four on goal). Kingston and Mieth each recorded three saves in the first 45 minutes of action. Bowdoin attempted the lone corner of the first half.
The Jumbos came out pushing the ball early in the second half as Braun had a shot in the middle of the box that was stopped by Kingston. In the 53rd minute, Van Brewer had his left-footed boot saved, but Daly followed the play as the ball was in front and put one on goal that was saved again as Kingston sat on the ball. Braun came back four minutes later as he found the ball in a scrum, but again Kingston made a great stop to keep the score even.
Tufts' aggressiveness paid off in the 60th minute when junior midfielder Gavin Tasker received a pass from fellow junior midfielder Brett Rojas on left side and put it into the goal to give Tufts a 2-1 lead. Tasker recorded his fourth goal and Rojas tallied his seventh assist this year.
The Polar Bears didn't take long to answer in this back and forth contest as 22 seconds later Byrd lofted a shot from the left side of the field that landed in the top right corner of the goal past Mieth to tie the game back up at 2-2. The Byrd goal was his fifth this season.
The defenses stepped up for the next 20 minutes as neither team was able to muster a shot on goal as each team tried to get that third goal. In the 80th minute, Tufts sophomore midfielder Calvin Aroh had a good shot on goal, but freshman defender Dylan Reid made a phenomenal defensive save.
The defensive save seemed to give the Polar Bears momentum as senior back Matty McColl put a shot on goal in the 82nd minute from the right side of the field that beat Mieth to give Bowdoin their first lead of the day 3-2. McColl's goal was his fourth of the year.
The Jumbos were in an unfamiliar territory as this was only the second time this season they had trailed in a game. Tufts however was able to get the equalizer in the 89th minute as Lane fired a left-footed shot on net that would deflect off the foot of Rojas and find the back of the goal to make it 3-3. The Rojas goal was his first while Lane recorded his second assist of the season.
Tufts seemed to take the momentum into overtime as they attempted three corners within the first six minutes of action. The third corner came from Van Brewer as he found Weatherbie to win the game in the 97th minute. The goal was Weatherbie's fourth of the year and his second game-winner of the year. Van Brewer's assist was his fifth this season.
For the game, Tufts outshot Bowdoin 20 (13 on goal) to eight (six on goal). Kingston recorded a game-high eight saves and Mieth stopped three shots. The brown and blue generated six corners to the Polar Bears three. Aroh led the game with four shots on goal.
Tufts will next play on Saturday as they host a NESCAC Quarterfinal contest at Bello Field. Bowdoin will have a NESCAC Quarterfinal game on Saturday as well, but they will have to await the result of Amherst's contest tomorrow before knowing where it will be held.
Written By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello