It’s win-or-go-home time for the select group of men’s college soccer teams that have been successful enough to play this far into November.
Middlebury and the University of Vermont secured semifinal berths in their respective conference tourneys. With two more victories, both teams would lock up spots in the NCAA Tournament.
Although the season is over for the remainder of the area squads, a handful of native Vermonters are still suiting up for out-of-state schools. Berlin product Noah Elmore scored his second straight game-winning goal Wednesday night, leading the University of St. Joseph’s (Maine) to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Norwich. Elmore’s team will compete in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday.
As the stakes continue to rise, here is a look at some of the region’s upcoming conference tournament action:
The Catamounts (11-5-1) will host a semifinal match at 4 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal between Hartford and Binghamton. Vermont tied nationally-ranked New Hampshire, 1-1, on Wednesday night to claim a share of the regular season league championship. The Cats are 5-1-1 in the America East and have relied on an international infusion that includes six players from Iceland. The Vermonters on the roster are Shelburne’s Nolan Jimmo and Luke Magnier, Colchester’s Louis Gazo, Williston’s Patrick McCue, Montpelier’s Joe Parento, Burlington’s Evan Rouleau and South Burlington’s Lucas Shaw.
Middlebury (7-2-7) did not allow a goal during its first five matches and has been a master at securing draws throughout the season. The sixth-seeded Panthers won a penalty-kick shootout against No. 3 Connecticut College (10-3-3) to advance during the quarterfinals. The Panthers will travel to play top-seeded Amherst (14-0-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday in the semifinals. The teams settled for a 1-1 tie on Sept. 29. Richmond product Kieran Bhave is the lone Vermont on the Panthers’ roster. Assistant coach Noah Goss-Woliner is a Waitsfield native who started 52 games for Middlebury from 2011-2014. Tufts (12-2-2) and Williams (8-3-5) will face off at the same venue at 1:30 p.m. in the other semifinal.
Elmore’s magic touch gave No. 2 St. Joseph’s (16-1-3) a championship date at top-seeded Johnson & Wales (16-2-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Monks claimed a 1-0 victory over the Wildcats in last year’s title game, and the teams settled for a 0-0 tie two weeks ago. Essex native Brennan Goodrich is a fullback for St. Joseph’s, while Elmore has been one of the top scorers for the past three seasons. Two years ago the Monks went 19-0-2 and did not allow a goal until they earned a 2-1 victory over Mitchell in the NCAA opener. The Monks went 21-1 in 2018, recording a 2-1 victory over Middlebury in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Amherst, 4-2.
Chester’s Mack Walton and the Clarkson Golden Knights (11-4-3) will take on RPI on Saturday during the Liberty League semifinals. Milton’s Nate Cary and Williston’s Cooper O’Connell will compete for Hobart (13-4-1) during the other semifinal against RIT. Former Norwich coach Kyle Dezotell took over at helm of Ithaca in 2017, and the Bombers finished at 12-5-2 after losing to Clarkson in the quarterfinals. League rival Saint Lawrence (6-8-1) boasted six Vermonters: Fayston’s Ethan Riddell, West Glover’s Matthew Lawlor, Cornwall’s Conor Higgins, East Hardwick’s Angus McAndrew, Worcester’s Max Sabo and Middlebury’s Tucker Moulton.