Courtesy of Tufts Athletics
AMHERST, Mass. – An overtime goal by senior Zach Lane earned the No. 2-seeded Tufts a 1-0 victory over No. 4 Williams in the conference semifinals at Amherst College.
The Jumbos improve to 13-2-2 and will match up with the sixth-seed Middlebury College in the NESCAC Championship Game at Amherst on Sunday at noon. The Jumbos will be playing for their second NESCAC Championship in program history. The Ephs fall to 8-4-5 and await the NCAA tournament draw show, which airs on Monday afternoon at 1:30 pm.
Tufts senior Brett Rojas won a 50-50 ball down the right sideline early on, which allowed sophomore Ian Daly to send a long throw into the box. However, that was cleared away and resulted in a quick play by Daly. Williams got the first shot on goal as Damian Gass challenged Jumbo sophomore goalkeeper Erich Kindermann with a shot towards the bottom left of the goal. Kindermann made the save.
The Ephs earned a corner kick in the fifth minute, however the Jumbos cleared the opportunity away. In the 10th minute, a long Eph throw-in found Will Felitto who forced Kindermann to make another save. On the ensuing push, the Jumbos earned a corner kick taken by Rojas. Junior Calvin Aroh nearly gave Tufts the lead, but his header went just high.
Shots by Felitto and Nick Boardman earned the Ephs a corner kick. The kick went to the penalty spot and rolled out the left side of the box. The Ephs sent the ball back to Jules Oberg who chipped a pass into the box, but Kindermann came out to clear the opportunity.
Jumbo sophomore Zach Seigelstein took a corner in the 24th-minute that went from the left corner into the middle of the 18-yard box. Senior Joe Braun headed the service on goal, but it was saved by Eph goalkeeper Michael Davis.
A long throw by Daly with 10 minutes to play in the half was cleared away by the Ephs. The clear went straight to Gass who drove down the field and earned enough free space in a one-on-three. However, his shot went right at Kindermann who made the easy save.
The Jumbos came out of the half on the attack as senior Gavin Tasker and Rojas fired shots that were blocked by Eph defenders. After a throw-in, the ball found its way to the middle of the field for Aroh. His left-footed shot went just wide left.
Bobby Fabricant fired a shot on goal for Williams that was saved by Kindermann. He had got the play going forward with a quick throw. The Jumbos then applied pressure enough to allow senior Drew Stern to fire a shot that went wide left.
With 20 minutes to play in the second half, the Ephs earned a free-kick from about 30 yards out. A right-footed service by Oberg cut to the left of the goal, but Liam Bardong's header went just over the crossbar.
Williams had a corner kick in the 77th-minute. However, it was cleared away to Tufts junior Max Jacobs. He drove down the field but started to run out of room down the left sideline. He sent a cross to classmate Alex Ratzan who had an opportunity to shoot, but instead drew a foul. Seigelstein took the free-kick that forced Davis to challenge. His challenge deflected up into the air, but the Ephs cleared it away.
Jacobs found himself in a near break-away after a strong run and through-ball, but the Eph defense caught up to him and cleared the opportunity.
Tufts continued the attack as strong passing and defense paved the way for the offense. Seigelstein found himself just outside the 18-yard box with space to shoot. His right-footed shot went just wide on the left side of the goal.
Both teams had opportunities to score late in the contest, but neither resulted in a strong opportunity as the contest headed to overtime with the score at 0-0.
Tufts would need just one minute and 43 seconds to tally the game-winner. Jacobs was strong on the ball and drew a foul just outside the box. Junior Travis Van Brewer took the free-kick and sent it into the box. Senior Zach Lane corralled the free-kick and beat the Eph goalkeeper who attempted to dive back to make the save but could not.
Kindermann improves to 3-0-1 on the season after making six saves in the victory. Williams' Davis made three saves on four shots on goal and fell to 7-2-3 on the season.