SWARTHMORE, Pa. – Sophomore Zach Seigelstein scored 74 seconds into overtime lifting the Tufts University men's soccer team into the NCAA Tournament "Elite 8" with a 2-1 victory over Washington and Lee University on Saturday afternoon at Swarthmore College.
The Jumbos (17-2-2) advance to an all-New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) NCAA quarterfinal on Sunday at Swarthmore against Connecticut College (3 pm). The Camels defeated host Swarthmore 1-0 also in overtime in Saturday's other third-round game at the site. Sunday's winner goes to the "Final Four."
Tufts trailed 1-0 in today's game after a first-half goal by freshman Tyler Smith of Washington and Lee (17-3-3). The Jumbos tied the game in the 62nd minute on a goal by sophomore Ian Daly and then won it dramatically with Seigelstein's tally 1:14 into overtime.
It's the second straight game in which Tufts has advanced with drama. Last Sunday at home they knocked out WPI 2-1 in the second round on the first-ever collegiate goal by senior co-captain Tanner Jameson with 34 seconds left in regulation.
On today's game-winner, senior Drew Stern took the ball from outside of the box and maneuvered past a pair of Generals' defenders on the left side. He tapped a pass through a sliver of space to Seigelstein whose shot from the top corner of the goalie box rolled into the cage.
For Seigelstein, today's winner seemed appropriate after he narrowly missed scoring on a pair of great chances in the first half. Nine minutes into the action he hit the far post and saw a Generals defender clear the ball away after it ricocheted off the goalkeeper and was heading into the net. Later in the half, Seigelstein's rocket was deflected over the crossbar on a great save by Washington and Lee sophomore goalkeeper Michael Nyc.
The Generals, who had a wide-open drive by junior Harris Salom go wide right in the 22nd minute, scored first. During a free kick in the 29th minute, the ball deflected out to Smith who sent a laser into the top left corner of the net from 10 yards outside the box.
Tufts had a final chance of the half by senior Zach Lane, who ran up on a ball after a Washington and Lee misplay, but his drive from the inside the box on the right side sailed high.
The Jumbos continued to earn more of the dangerous chances into the second half. That included a save by Nyc on a close opportunity by senior co-captain Gavin Tasker in the 59th minute, as well as numerous early corners.
Tufts would finally capitalize on a corner with Daly's goal. Junior Travis Van Brewer's kick went into the goal area where a header by sophomore Will Raphael was saved by Nyc. However, Daly was on the goal line to knock in the rebound and tie the score at 1-1.
The Generals earned some momentum in the middle of the second half, with a run down the middle by senior Oliver Dolberg resulting in a wide shot and another attempt by freshman Samuel Bass on the ricochet of a free kick saved by Jumbo sophomore goalkeeper Erich Kindermann scrambling to his left.
Nyc was strong in goal for the Generals. Perhaps his best save came in the 79th minute when Lane got free in the middle of the box, but Nyc got a hand on his drive. Moments later on a corner kick, Jumbo senior Joe Braun's header rolled over the crossbar.
With all of the chances they were creating, Tufts seemed destined to score and they did quickly in overtime to end it.
The Jumbos finished with advantages of 18-12 in shots and 8-2 in corners. Nyc made six saves in the Generals' net while Kindermann had three stops for Tufts.
Playing in its sixth straight Sweet 16 and the program's seventh overall, Tufts has now won eight games in a row in the NCAA Tournament. The Jumbos won the national championship in 2018 with five victories.
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