CLICK HERE to read original article - written by Portland Press Herald Staff Writer Glenn Jordan
The Monks, who have outscored opponents 65-0 this season, would have to face the defending national champs in the second round.
STANDISH — The unscored-upon Saint Joseph's College men's soccer team will face Mitchell College Saturday in suburban Boston in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
St. Joe's has outscored opponents 65-0 this season. Its 19 consecutive shutouts are a single-season record for men's soccer at any NCAA level.
The Monks (18-0-1) and Mitchell (9-8-1) – of New London, Connecticut – earned tournament berths in the field of 62 by winning their conference championships, the Great Northeast Atlantic and New England Collegiate.
Tufts, the defending national champion, will host Saturday's game in Medford, Massachusetts, and play the winner on Sunday in the second round. The Jumbos (15-1-2) have won two of the past three national titles and shut out every opponent this season except Amherst, a 1-0 winner in late September.
"They're a really good team but one thing we have going for us is that we're a consistent team," said Monks junior forward Robbie Small of Bowdoinham after watching the tournament selection show Monday afternoon with teammates inside the Alfond Center. "We're by no means the best team in the country but we can show up to play and we work hard. Yeah, it's pretty intimidating, but at the same time, (Tufts) tied Bowdoin and we beat Bowdoin."
Bowdoin also earned a tournament berth. The Polar Bears (10-4-3) will face Rutgers-Newark (20-2-0) at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. The winner advances to Sunday's game against either Brandeis or Western Connecticut State.
In mid-September, Saint Joseph's edged Bowdoin 1-0 in Standish. Bowdoin and Tufts played to a scoreless tie in late October before the Jumbos won the New England Small College Athletic Conference title.
The only common opponent between St. Joe's and Mitchell is Albertus Magnus, which lost 7-0 to the Monks and 2-1 in double overtime to Mitchell.
"I know they're solid," St. Joe's Coach Adrian Dubois said of Mitchell. "Any team that gets into the NCAA tournament is a tough team. So we can't look past them."
Despite the 19 consecutive shutouts, the Monks are not among the top 25 teams nationally or the top 12 in New England, according to NCAA rankings, which have Bowdoin fifth in the region.
Dubois, in his fourth season at St. Joe's, said NCAA rankings involve a mathematical formula that relies on strength of schedule as well as winning percentage and a few other factors.
"Our strength of schedule is lower," Dubois said. "I didn't schedule a lot of really tough teams to kind of jack it up because I didn't think we'd be where we're at right now."
This marks the fourth NCAA tournament appearance for St. Joe's and second straight under Dubois. The Monks beat Babson on penalty kicks last fall before dropping a 3-0 decision to host Brandeis.
"We've been through it now," Dubois said. "We know what to expect. We're ready to go."
Should St. Joe's win twice next weekend, the Monks would advance to a sectional site, to be determined, on Nov. 17-19. The national semifinals and finals are scheduled for Dec. 1-2 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
"The goal is to win the whole thing," Dubois said. "We've got a really special group here, from our coaching staff to athletic trainers to players. We've got the pieces to beat some big-time teams."
The 17 players gathered Monday – some could not attend because of class conflicts – in the Hall of Fame room on the second floor of the Alfond Center could not help but notice that not only was St. Joe's placed in a pod with one of the only two teams to receive a bye, the NCAA host announcing the draw made no mention of their record-setting shutout streak.
"They don't expect much from us," said Small, who played at Mt. Ararat. "I think it'll be cool to show them what we've got. All we have to do is keep winning through and we'll make a name."
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.