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Tufts bounces back for title

2014 Division III Men’s Soccer

Tufts celebrates after taking on Wheaton during the Division III Men’s Soccer Championship at Swope Soccer Park in Kansas City, Missouri. EVERT NELSON / NCAA PHOTOS

The Tufts University Jumbos went into the Division III tournament following a disappointing loss in their first game of the New England Small College Athletic Conference tourney. But they didn’t sulk. Instead, they righted themselves and captured the national championship with an impressive run against some perennial powers.

“It worked as a rude awakening for us,” Tufts coach Josh Shapiro said of the loss. “The lesson was learned and digested.”

Tufts responded by winning its first national title with a 4-2 victory over Wheaton College (Illinois). That triumph was the capper on an NCAA push that saw Tufts defeat Messiah College (in the quarterfinals), Ohio Wesleyan University (semifinals) and then Wheaton. Those three teams have combined for 97 NCAA tourney appearances and 14 national championships. Messiah, ranked No. 1, was the 2013 national champion and came into this year’s tournament unbeaten.

Tufts, which finished 16-2-4, typically enjoyed early scores against opponents. In the final, however, neither team scored until the Jumbos’ Peter Lee-Kramer knocked in a pass from Rui Pinheiro. Midfielder Nathan Majumder recorded a pair of goals for Tufts.

The Results

2014 Division III Men’s Soccer

Tufts 4, Wheaton (Illinois) 2

Wheaton (Illinois) 3, SUNY Oneonta 2
Tufts 2, Ohio Wesleyan 0

Jordan Golz, Wheaton (Illinois)

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