HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's soccer team won its fourth Centennial Conference Championship last weekend, the program's third title in four seasons, and will make its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance this coming weekend. The Fords open up against New York University Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on the campus of Montclair State. Haverford will need two wins this weekend to advance to the sectional round. Sunday's regional championship game is slated for 7 p.m. against the winner of Montclair State and Colby.
Weekend Schedule (all games at Montclair State):
First Round (Saturday, November 10)
#7 Montclair State (17-1-2) vs. Colby (8-6-4), 5 p.m.
#15 Haverford (14-4) vs. New York Univ. (12-4-1), 7:30 p.m.
Second Round (Sunday, November 11)
Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 7 p.m.
* Rankings used above are from the United Soccer Coaches Association
Fords in NCAA Tournament: Haverford will be making its seventh appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament. With smaller fields during the earlier years of the tournament and a first round bye in 2015, Haverford will be competing in a Round of 64 game for just the third time in program history. Haverford has advanced past its Round of 64 matchup in each of the previous two occasions and advanced past its opening round contest during five of the team's six prior NCAA Tournament appearances. With two wins this weekend, Haverford would stand among the final 16 teams in the country for the fifth time in program history.
Series History: Haverford is 4-0 all-time against NYU but has not played the Violets since 1992 when the Fords emerged a 3-0 winner. The only other appearances in school history came during the 1924-26 seasons. Haverford is 1-1 all-time against Montclair State, dropping the most recent matchup in 2015 with current assistant coach Tejan Walcott '17 scoring in that contest. Haverford's win in the series came in 1944 when Montclair State went by the name Panzer. Colby and Haverford have never met in school history prior to this weekend's potential matchup.
NYU: The Violets beat Rowan by a 1-0 score during the team's opening weekend of the season, while Haverford dropped a 3-2 battle to the Profs in the middle of September. Inclement weather canceled the other two potential common opponents as NYU lost to Rutgers-Camden, 3-2, during its first match of the season before the Fords' game against the Scarlet Raptors was forced to be canceled. Haverford defeated Drew by a 3-2 score in the middle of its current 11-match winning streak, but the Rangers' match against NYU was not played due to inclement weather.
Montclair State: Montclair State defeated Rowan (W, 1-0 & W, 4-3) and William Paterson (W, 3-1) as a part of NJAC play. Haverford's defeat against William Paterson was the team's only official home blemish as that contest was moved to Bryn Mawr due to unplayable field conditions on Sunday during the Jimmy Mills Tournament.
Colby: Colby beat Wesleyan (Conn.) by a 1-0 score during NESCAC play, while the Fords started the Jimmy Mills Tournament with a 2-1 overtime victory against that Wesleyan (Conn.) side.
Overtime games: Despite going to overtime five times this season, the Fords do not have a draw on their resume. More often than not, that has been a good thing for the Fords as they are 4-1 in matches that have gone to overtime this season, having won each of the last three such instances. That includes a 3-2 overtime victory against Franklin & Marshall to clinch the 2018 Centennial Conference Championship.
Penalty Kicks: Haverford has gone to penalty kicks just four times in the program's 1,563 games. The Fords have advanced on in the tournament during two of those situations with a 4-3 edge in the 2012 NCAA Tournament first round game vs. Wesleyan and a 6-5 edge against Muhlenberg in the 1988 Mac South Division Championship. The 2012 penalty kicks were the only time Haverford has played PKs in an NCAA Tournament game.
About Haverford: The Fords have won 11 straight matches entering the NCAA Tournament. That is currently the second-longest winning streak in program history, trailing only the 2015 team which won 16 straight during its run to the Elite Eight. In 2015, this year's seniors were first years during the program's deepest NCAA Tournament run in school history. This year's senior class has gone on to win 56 matches during the past four seasons, the most of any class in the history of the program.
Just announced this week was Haverford having seven different players being named All-Centennial Conference. That group included the 2018 Centennial Conference Player of the Year in Nick Jannelli. The Fords have four players receive first-team All-Centennial Conference for the first time in the Centennial Conference era as Michael Carr, Ben Clark, and Michael Iacono ensured one player from each position group was named a first-team All-CC performer. Peter Baroff and Max Krieg earned second-team accolades, while Nick John was an honorable mention pick to the team. Baroff is additionally coming off of a Centennial Conference Tournament MVP performance where he had a hand in each of Haverford's four goals during the conference tournament, scoring twice and assisting on two more.
Head coach Zach Ward earned Centennial Conference Coach of the Year honors in his first year at the helm of the program. Jannelli's seven game-winning goals this season are tied for the program's single-season record and rank third in all of Division III. Jannelli is averaging 1.94 points per game to rank 34th in the country. He has a goal or an assist in 14 different contest this season, factoring in on at least two goals in seven of Haverford's victories this fall.
Scouting NYU: Violets are making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since the 2010 season. The qualified as one of four at-large selections from the University Athletic Association (UAA). Goalkeeper Grant Engel and rookie defender Pablo Vargas were named first-team All-UAA, while freshman midfielder Louis Meeks earned second-team all-conference accolades. Nevertheless, it was forward Oliver Kleban who took home the UAA's Rookie of the Year honor. Kleban leads the team with eight goals and five assists, while two other players have scored four times this year. Engel has stopped nearly 85 percent of the shots he faced and is allowing just 0.61 goals per game, helping the team to nine shutouts. When NYU does shoot, nearly 58 percent of those attempts are on target which is the third-highest rate in all of Division III.
Scouting Montclair State: Montclair State enters the weekend as an automatic qualifier (NJAC Champions) in its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance all-time. The Red Hawks are unbeaten in their last 15 matches with just one tie during that stretch. Montclair State brings the second-ranked offense in all of Division III into the weekend as it averages 4.15 goals per game. Led by 2018 NJAC Coach of the Year Todd Tumelty, the Red Hawks had four first-team all-conference players, including forwards Jose Huerta (13 goals, 4 assists) and Rafael Terci (11 goals, 9 assists). Midfielder Michael Knapp was the conference's rookie of the year and a first-team selection, while Damian Kolodziej was a first-team All-NJAC defender. Honorable mention selection Chaz Burnett leads the team with 31 points (13 goals, 5 assists), while goalie Mike Saalfrank (0.92 GAA, 11 shutouts) was a second-team honoree and midfielder Anthony Pelaez also garnered honorable mention recognition.
Scouting Colby: Colby is making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance after coming from the No. 8 seed to win the NESCAC Tournament last weekend, winning two of its three matches in penalty kicks after scoreless regulations and overtimes. Goalkeeper Dan Carlson, midfielder Cam Clouse, and forward Jeff Rosenberg all earned second-team All-NESCAC honors. Carlson is allowing just 0.82 goals per game and stopped 85.7 percent of the shots he faced so far this season. That save percentage ranks him 17th in all of Division III. Colby has played very low scoring contests and is averaging just one goal per game. Clouse is leading the team with four goals from the midfield while five other players rank second on the team with two goals.
Up Next: The team that emerges from this regional will begin preparations for the NCAA Division III Sectional Round to be played next weekend (Nov. 17-18) at a host campus. Host locations will be announced after all of the first and second round games of the tournament are completed. Each of the four teams should enter the weekend battle-tested as this pod has combined for the highest strength of schedule of each of the 16 regional locations. Of this grouping, nobody is more prepared than the Fords who finished the regular season with a .595 strength of schedule. That mark is the highest among all teams headed to Montclair this weekend.