MEDFORD – The No.5 Tufts University men's soccer team struck twice in the second half, including one in the final minute, to advance to the NCAA "Sweet 16" following a 2-1 victory over Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Sunday afternoon at Bello Field.
|Co-captain Tanner Jameson's first collegiate goal was the game-winner.|
The Jumbos improve to 16-2-2 on the season while WPI sees their season close at 13-4-4.
Tufts is slated to play the Washington & Lee University Generals on Saturday, November 23 in the NCAA third round at Swarthmore College.
After a physical first 15 minutes, WPI scored first. On a strong pass through the Jumbo backline for Jackson Conroy, he sent a cross from the right side of the box to the middle for Jivan Purutyan. All he had to do was chip the pass in for the first goal of the contest.
The Jumbos quickly applied pressure as junior Travis Van Brewer, senior Joe Braun, and senior Brett Rojas all attempted shots within 10 minutes of the Engineer goal. In the 28th minute, Tufts earned a pair of corner kicks, however no strong attempts came from the opportunities. WPI pushed back in the closing minutes of the half as Conroy and David Lapointe fired shots that went high.
The Jumbos jumped on the attack in the second half and it paid off. Rojas won a through-ball down near the end line. He chipped a pass across the box to Van Brewer. The Engineer defense cleared the ball from the junior, but it found classmate Calvin Aroh who fired home the equalizer into the right side of the goal in the 55th minute.
Soon after, the Engineers earned a corner kick and a strong shot by Conroy forced Tufts sophomore goalkeeper Erich Kindermann to make a leaping save to keep the score knotted at one.
In the 66th minute, Jumbo junior Max Jacobs had possessed the ball strongly while attacking the Engineer goal. He beat one defender and then kept possession from another while entering the box. He fired a right-footed shot that forced WPI goalkeeper Rufus Adams to make a sprawling kick save.
The Engineers jumped on the attack after the Adams save. Purutyan fired a laser of a shot that was headed for the top half of the goal. Kindermann made a leaping one-handed save. That led to two WPI corners, but the Jumbos cleared away the opportunities.
Down the stretch, the Jumbos pushed the pace after getting their starting unit back in with about 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
With less than one minute on the clock, Rojas fired a shot that was blocked by the Engineers and went out the endline to earn Tufts a corner kick. Sophomore Zach Seigelstein took the corner, sending the ball to the middle of the box where senior Tanner Jameson headed home the game-winner with 34 seconds remaining on the clock. That is Jameson's first collegiate goal.
The Jumbos forced a WPI turnover and were able to close out the time remaining in the contest to advance to their seventh "Sweet 16" in program history.
Tufts outshot the Engineers, 16-8. The teams had seven corner kicks each. WPI was called for 11 fouls while the Jumbos were called for 10 in the physical affair.
Kindermann earned his sixth win of the season after making two saves on three shots on goal. Adams made four saves on six shots on goal for WPI.
Tufts improves their NCAA mark to 23-5-2 with the win and will face the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) champions Washington & Lee on Saturday.
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