Men’s Soccer advances to NCAA tournament

By Aidan Larned

Photo courtesy of Colby College

This weekend brought a huge accomplishment for Colby soccer. The weekend started out with a game on Saturday afternoon at 20th-ranked Amherst’s pitch. The Mules were seeded eighth heading into the tournament and had already made Colby soccer history by making the Final Four after a thrilling PK victory against Tufts last weekend.

The Mules took control quickly, with a goal from Jeff Rosenberg ’19 in the ninth minute. After an even second half, the Mules headed into the second half holding their 1–0 lead.

The Mules came out of the half with force and struck quickly. First, Rosenberg got his second goal of the game in the 46th minute. This was followed 10 minutes later by a goal from Asa Berolzheimer ’20 after a free kick. The Mules defense would prove very effective throughout the game, only conceding one goal in the 59th minute.

Colby was efficient with three goals in seven shots while Amherst could barely net one with 27 shots.

The Mules cruised to a 3–1 victory, becoming just the second eight-seed in NESCAC history to head to the Men’s Soccer final. The championship would take place the next day at Williams.

The NESCAC title game was a thriller. The game was tied the whole time, and while there were several scoring attempts, neither team could convert in regulation. Following two halves of overtime, the game was still knotted up 0–0.

Williams didn’t convert on any of their 21 shots, and Colby didn’t convert on any of their 10. Dan Carlson ’19 racked up nine saves, helping carry the Mules to overtime when the Williams defense stymied Colby’s scoring efforts. At the end of regulation, however, the Mules made the decision to substitute in Matt Johnson ’20, which they also did against Tufts due to his skill in goalkeeping in penalty kick situations. When Colby missed their first PK, Johnson quickly helped the Mules bounce back by countering with a save. Colby was fortunate in having gained confidence in PK situations last week during the Tufts quarterfinal. This confidence showed immediately, as the Mules netted their next three penalties. Unfortunately, Williams did the same. The round then turned into sudden death.

Ethan Fabricant ’22, whose brother plays for the Williams team, strode up to the spot in the sudden death situation, and in a show of veins brimming with ice, netted his penalty, putting all of the pressure on Williams’ next taker. On the next penalty, Johnson predicted correctly and made a save diving left on Jules Oberg’s shot for Williams. In a gut-wrenching finale, the Mules pulled off their first-ever NESCAC tournament win, as well as became the first ever eight seed to win the tournament. They arrived on Sunday night to a cheering crowd.

The Mules have now earned themselves a bid into the Division III tournament and will play Montclair State University on November 11.