CLICK HERE to read original release, written by John Swasey, Special to the Telegram
STANDISH — The top-seeded Saint Joseph's College men's soccer team extended its NCAA record for consecutive shutouts to 19, beating third-seeded Norwich 1-0 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship game Saturday.
The Monks (18-0-1), who have outscored opponents 65-0 this season, earned an automatic bid in the NCAA Division III tournament. Pairings will be announced Monday.
"It is really incredible. It is unbelievable at this point," said Saint Joseph's Coach Adrian Dubois.
"We decided early on (in the season) that we were going to make defense our primary objective and make people earn their goals, no easy goals," said Saint Joseph's sophomore Jackson Taylor. "It's been working out well."
"We capitalized early and I think that's what helped us get the win," said Elliott.
The Monks continued their defensive dominance, allowing just one Norwich shot, which wasn't on goal. The Monks, on the other hand, took 26 shots.
"I have to thank all 10 players in front of me that I don't see a shot," said Saint Joseph's goalie Blake Mullen. "I love it. As soon as one comes, I'll definitely have their back. They've had my back all year so I'll definitely save it, no doubt."
Added Dubois: "It's been like that all year. We have an incredible team. Every guy is tough and every guy does his job to a maximum ability. We have a lot of good pieces, and heart and passion."
Saint Joseph's nearly added a goal with 26:37 remaining. Trevor Lopes fired a shot that beat Germano, but defender Greg Zydanowicz was there for the defensive save.
"I was nervous," said Dubois. "You go up early, you hope your guys don't take a back seat. You want them to still be aggressive and hungry, and we were. We played some very good soccer."
The Monks had a few more quality chances turned back by Germano, who finished with 10 saves. With just under 12 minutes left, Mitchell Duncan had a quality scoring chance stopped by Germano. Duncan followed on the rebound, but Germano was there to make the save again.
"At the end of the day today, (Saint Joseph's was) more committed, they were tougher, they were all those things that you hope your team gives you on a daily basis," said Norwich Coach Adam Pfeifer.
Norwich was the only team Saint Joseph's hadn't beaten this season. The teams played to a scoreless tie on Sept. 16. It's also the second straight season Saint Joseph's defeated Norwich in the conference championship game. Last season, after a scoreless tie, the Monks won a penalty-kick shootout, 4-2.
The win was also the 49th as coach of the Monks for Dubois.
"(Saint Joseph's) consistency is just remarkable," said Pfeifer. "It's every game for them. For us, we need to have the bodies to be able to compete with them but our consistency needs to be able to match their consistency. Otherwise this is going to be the result."
Now Saint Joseph's prepares for the NCAA tournament that kicks off Nov. 11.
"Our confidence right now is sky high," said Mullen. "We'll enjoy today and tomorrow is a new day."
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.