MEDFORD – The No. 5 nationally-ranked and New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) second-seed Tufts University men's soccer team heads to Amherst College for a NESCAC semifinal matchup with fourth-seed Williams College on Saturday afternoon. Game time is 1:30 pm.
The other conference semifinal matchup features No. 1 nationally-ranked and the NESCAC's top-seed Amherst against the sixth-seed Middlebury College at 11 am.
Tufts improved to 12-2-2 on the season after downing the seventh-seed Hamilton College in last Saturday's NESCAC quarterfinal matchup. Junior Alex Ratzan tallied the lone first half goal, which eventually became the game-winner. Senior Brett Rojas added two tallies late in the second half.
Williams College earned a 3-0 victory over Bates College in their quarterfinal matchup. The win pushed Williams to 8-3-5 on the season and pushed their unbeaten streak to nine games. Bobby Fabricant, Demian Gass, and Nathan Song tallied goals for the Ephs.
The regular-season matchup between the Jumbos and Ephs was the NESCAC opener for both. The Jumbos earned a 3-2 victory over Williams in Williamstown, Mass. Junior Max Jacobs gave Tufts a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute. However, Gass responded with the equalizer in the 35th minute and Jake Saudek gave the hosts a 2-1 lead in the 40th minute. Two second-half goals by juniors Calvin Aroh and Travis Van Brewer gave the Jumbos the lead and earned them the win.
The Jumbos will be competing for their second confernece title this weekend. The program has made one appearance in the NESCAC Championship game, which came in 2017 when Tufts earned their only NESCAC title in a 1-0 victory over Middlebury College at home on Bello Field. With their quarterfinal win last Saturday, the Jumbos are 5-12-5 in their 18th tournament appearance.
The Ephs are making their 20th tournament appearance. They have been to the title game 10 times, bringing home a NESCAC-high six championships. Williams fell to Colby College in the championship game last season. Williams has not earned the NESCAC crown since the 2009 season, following at 2-1 victory over Middlebury. All-time the Ephs are 23-9-6 in tournament play.
The Jumbos are averaging 2.31 goals per game, which ranks second in NESCAC. Williams is tied for sixth, averaging 1.56 goals per game. Tufts is tied for third in the conference with a 0.66 goals against average. The Ephs are sixth with a goals against average of 0.81.
The winners of Saturday's semifinal matchups will compete for the NESCAC Championship on Sunday at noon in Amherst, Mass.