Middlebury didn’t score any goals in its last two games of the season, but that didn’t stop the Panthers from winning the Division III Men’s Soccer Championship with a pair of shootouts in the semifinal and final.
After 110 minutes of scoreless soccer in the championship match, Middlebury was credited with a 1-0 victory over Trinity (Texas) after winning on penalty kicks, 4-3. Brandon Jackson knocked home the championship-winning kick for the Panthers.
as the Panthers had won in similar fashion the day before over Loras in the semifinal round. The Panthers advanced on penalty kicks, 3-1, in that contest.
Middlebury’s defense led the way through the NCAA tournament, holding opponents scoreless in five postseason games.
“The foundation of a good team is defense,” said Middlebury head coach David Saward. “It’s an incredible honor for us to do this, especially with the four teams that were here.”
Trinity outshot Middlebury, 23-12, but was unable to convert any of its nine shots on net.
“I felt that we played good enough soccer to create enough chances to win in the first half, and again in the second half and overtime,” said Trinity head coach Paul McGinlay. “When it comes to penalty kicks, there’s no more coaching.”
Panthers goalie Brian Bush was a force in net throughout the tournament, saving nine shots against Trinity in the title game and finishing the season with a 623-minute scoreless streak.
“It feels great; it’s a credit to our defense,” Bush said. “To even play to a tie against a team like Trinity is great. They’re a phenomenal team.”
The NCAA soccer championship is the first for Middlebury, which has now claimed 28 national titles in eight sports since 1994. The loss was the first of the season for Trinity, which finished 23-1.
Bush was named the tournament’s most valuable player for his outstanding play in goal. Joining Bush on the all-tournament team were fellow Panthers Andrew Germansky, Corey Moffat and Andrew Banadda, along with Trinity’s German Gomez, Patrick Ftorek and Robert C’deBaca. Loras’
Santiago Mejia and Mike Richter and Messiah’s J.D. Binger and Kai Kasiguran also earned accolades.
Middlebury’s victory marks the first time in four years that Messiah won’t end the season as the Division III national champion. Messiah, which outscored its opponents, 11-0, in its first three games of the tournament, lost to Trinity in the national semifinal, 1-0.
Middlebury .0 0 0 0 — 0
Loras .0 0 0 0 — 0
Shots: Middlebury 16, Loras 12. Goalkeeper saves: Middlebury 4 (Brian Bush), Loras 6 (Nate DuBois). Corner kicks: Middlebury 8, Loras 8.
Messiah 0 0 — 0
Trinity (Tex.) 0 1 — 1
Second half: T — Patrick Floeck (Ben Stewart), 45:15
Shots: Messiah 22, Trinity (Tex.) 22. Goalkeeper saves: Messiah 8 (Jared Clugston), Trinity (Tex.) 12 (David Steinberg 11, Team 1). Corner kicks: Messiah 7, Trinity (Tex.) 8.
Middlebury 0 0 0 0 1 — 1
Trinity (Tex.) 0 0 0 0 0 — 0
Overtime: Middlebury credited with 1-0 win after penalty-kick shootout.
Shots: Middlebury 12, Trinity (Tex.) 23. Goalkeeper saves: Middlebury 10 (Brian Bush 9, Team 1), Trinity (Tex.) 2 (David Steinberg). Corner kicks: Middlebury 2, Trinity (Tex.) 9.