NESCAC Quarterfinals: #4 Tufts 3, #5 Bowdoin 0
Courtesy of Tufts University Sports Information
SOMERVILLE, Mass. - The Tufts men's soccer team advanced to the NESCAC semi-finals for the first time since 2001 after eliminating Bowdoin, 3-0, in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Kraft Field. The Jumbos (9-3-3) will play host and #1 seed Williams in the semis next Saturday.
Midway through the first half, both teams found their legs, as well as the rest of their bodies, when the physicality picked up. And it stayed up, as three players received yellow cards, and both teams had a slew of warnings from the referee.
With around 16 minutes remaining in the first, Bowdoin had its biggest chance of the half. Defender Ben Brewster caused a crafty turnover at midfield and led a nice counter pass up to Zach Danssaert in the Tufts box, who missed a chance to put the Polar Bears up.
About 10 minutes later (40th minute), Tufts' Monil Patel sent a gorgeous free kick from around 40 yards out to the head of junior Scott Blumenthal, who buried the rock in the far side of the cage to put the Jumbos up 1-0. The score stood until halftime.
The physical play did not let up in the least during the second half. The game continued its back-and-forth momentum as freshman Connor Schaible and the Tufts defense stood strong, especially in its own box. The Jumbos had numerous blocks in the game, most on point-blank chances from Bowdoin.
Sophomore defender Peter Lee Kramer put the Jumbos up 2-0 with 31:49 left in the second on another stellar header. Patel again sent the ball to the far post, and Kramer had an athletic head attempt that bounced its way around Polar Bear keeper Will Wise and in for a 2-0 advantage.
Blumenthal made it 3-0 Tufts on an outstanding individual play. He beat three Bowdoin defenders in succession along the edge of the box and brought it slightly up the end line before drilling the ball home at full speed.
Down three goals late in the game, the Polar Bears did not go away. The final minutes were the most physical of the game and were where junior keeper Wyatt Zeller shined for Tufts. He punched-out three late corner kicks and made several stops in the box before Tufts sealed his clean sheet.
Zeller made five second-half saves (none in the first half) to help propel Tufts. The Jumbos were hosting their first conference tournament game since 2001 as well.
Wise had two saves in 84:15 of action, and senior Eric Edelman stopped a shot while finishing up for Bowdoin, who finished their season at 8-5-2.