STANDISH, Maine – GNAC Champion Saint Joseph's College (18-0-1, 9-0-1 GNAC) will face Mitchell College (9-8-1, 6-1-0 NECC) in the opening round of the NCAA DIII Men's Soccer Tournament at 1:00 PM Saturday at Bello Field on the campus of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. DIRECTIONS
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Saint Joseph's earned an automatic berth into the NCAA DIII Tournament after tipping Norwich University, 1-0, in the GNAC Championship last Saturday. For the Monks, the GNAC title was the program's second-consecutive and fourth overall.
Mitchell edged Elms College, 1-0, in the New England Collegiate Conference Championship on Saturday. The conference title was a first for the Mariners' men's soccer program.
The winner of the Saint Joseph's / Mitchell match will face two-time defending NCAA DIII Champion Tufts in a second-round contest at Bello Field on Sunday at 1:00 PM. The Jumbos (15-1-2), ranked third nationally, earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament after defeating Middlebury College, 1-0, in the NESCAC Championship last Sunday.
WHAT WE KNOW:
- Saint Joseph's defeated Babson College – on their home turf – in PK's last fall to claim the program's first NCAA Tournament victory, but fell to Brandeis University, which advanced all the way to the Final Four, the following day
- The Monks are ranked 17th in the latest D3Soccer.com national poll and sixth in the United Soccer Coaches Regional rankings
- Through 19 contests, the Monks have outscored their foes by an impressive 65-0 margin with 1,730 minutes of shutout play in goal. Saint Joseph's currently ranks as the NCAA DIII leader in save percentage (1.000), goals against average (0.00), shutout percentage (1.000), shots per game (23.84), and shots on goal per game (12.11).
- The Monks also rank third nationally in won-lost-tied percentage (.974), fifth in assists per game (3.16), points per game (10.00) and total assists (60), eighth in total goals (65) and total points (190), and 10th in corner kicks per game (7.26).
- With 19-consecutive shutouts, Saint Joseph's now owns the NCAA Men's Soccer (all three levels) record, which was previously held by Drew University as the Rangers posted 17 straight blank sheets during the 2003 campaign.
- Saint Joseph's is the only NCAA program - men's or women's, levels DI, DII, and DIII - to have not yet allowed a goal. The Monks are also one of just three NCAA DIII men's programs to have not yet suffered a setback.
- The Mariners will be making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance on Saturday
- Mitchell enters the national tourney riding a five-game winning streak with eight wins in their last 11 outings
- The Mariners rank second in the NECC in goals (37), shots per game (15.3), shots on goal (136), assists (25), and corner kicks (91) – they also lead their conference with a 6-6 effort on penalty kicks
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Junior forward Brett Mattos (Mahopac, N.Y.) is in the midst of the best offensive season in SJC men's soccer history with Monks' single-season records in goals (19) and points (48) in just 18 games - the 2017 GNAC Offensive Player of the Year ranks third in the nation in points, fourth in points per game (2.53), and seventh in goals per game (1.00) and total goals
- Sophomore midfielder Mitchell Duncan (Sanford, Maine) is enjoying a breakout year with seven goals – including three winners – and six assists for 19 points
- Senior forward Trevor Lopes (Cumberland, R.I.) complements Mattos perfectly up top and has netted eight goals (three clinchers) with two assists for 18 total points
- Sophomore Cody Elliott (Gorham, Maine) has emerged as one of the Monks' top playmakers with a program-record 13 assists (SJC record) and 19 total points
- Junior midfielder Andrew Storton (Oxford, England) leads the Mariners in goals (11) and points (22) with three PK markers
- Senior midfielder Jose Roman III (New London, Conn.) has scored five goals with a pair of game-winners
- Senior defender Brayan Mora (New London, Conn.) has contributed three goals and a pair of assists for eight total points
- Junior defender TJ Condon (North Stonington, Conn.) and sophomore defender William Ferguson (Old Lyme, Conn.) earned First Team All-Conference accolades
Saint Joseph's: Sophomore Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.), the two-time GNAC Goalkeeper of the Year and First Team All-GNAC honoree, has turned away all 42 shots he has faced with an unblemished 0.00 goals against average and a perfect 1.000 save percentage so far this fall. The junior netminder ranks as the career leader in goals against average (0.29) and is second in save percentage (.896) and third in shutouts (26) among all active NCAA DIII keepers.
In the championship win over Norwich, Mullen extended his consecutive shutout minutes streak to 1,595 minutes and 36 seconds, the longest stretch without yielding a goal in the history of NCAA Men's Soccer (all levels).
Mitchell: Sophomore goalie Seth Strader has started 17 of the Mariners' 18 games this fall and owns a 1.77 goals against average with a .721 save percentage and three shutouts. He has posted 80 saves and allowed 31 goals in 1,576 minutes of play.
ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:
Saint Joseph's Head Coach Adrian Dubois, now in his fourth season at the helm, is 49-24-8 (.671) overall with a 28-9-2 (.757) record in conference play on the college sideline. The Monks have shown dramatic improvement since his first year (2014), when an injury-maligned club went 5-15 overall (3-6 GNAC). In his second season, St. Joe's went 11-7-1, and last fall, the Monks went 15-2-6 last fall en route to clinching a GNAC Championship and the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory – a PK triumph over pod-host Babson College. Dubois earned 2016 GNAC Coach of the Year honors for his efforts.
Dubois played collegiately at University of New Hampshire, where he was a four-year starting midfielder.
Mitchell Head Coach Damian Houlden – the 2017 NECC Coach of the Year - is in his third season at the helm of the Mariners' men's soccer program after serving as head coach of the women's soccer program at Mitchell for nine years.
Since taking over the men's program in 2015, Houlden has kept the Mariners competitive in New England Collegiate Conference play. Mitchell has posted a 38-24-3 record in league action over the past nine years and has qualified for the NECC Championship in each season. The Mariners have produced a total of 46 all-conference selections during that time span, including 13 during Houlden's tenure.
Houlden, who hails from Louth, England, played for Mitchell College and was a letter winner on the men's soccer team. He was honored as a New England All-Conference First Team selection for his efforts from his central defense position.
LAST TIME WE MET:
Mitchell defeated Saint Joseph's, 3-0, on November 5th, 2006 and owns a 2-1 all-time record versus the Monks.
The Monks and Mariners share one common opponent this season: Albertus Magnus College. Both teams defeated the Falcons, albeit in completely different fashions, as the Monks toppled their conference counterparts by a 7-0 score on September 23rd and the Mariners edged AMC by a 2-1 margin, in double-overtime, four days prior.