University of St. Thomas coach Jon Lowery and players console each other after the 2-1 loss on Friday. Photo by Haley Staffon, UST.

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St. Thomas Falls to NCAA DIII Champion Tufts

by on 5 December 2016

The University of St. Thomas Men’s soccer team finished their most successful season ever on Friday with a 2-1 loss to Tufts College (14-5-2) in the Final Four Semifinal of the NCAA DIII Tournament. The fairy-tale season for the Tommies ended too soon for coach Jon Lowery and his players in Salem, Virginia. Still, there was no shame in knowing they went down in a close game to the team that eventually won the National Championship the following day.

Not unlike their last two previous playoff games, St. Thomas went down to the Jumbos before making a comeback. Stephen McMillian scored in the 39th minute for Tufts and co-captain Zach Halliday put another on the board in the 61st minute to increase their lead to two.

“We’ll be back for more. We went 20-2-3, were MIAC regular season champions, MIAC Playoff Champions, and made a Final Four appearance. Our next step is to lift the National Championship.”
Head coach Jon Lowery

St. Thomas eventually came back with a goal in the 72nd minute by Johnny Mulvahill cutting the scoreline 2-1. That St. Thomas goal ended a defensive shutout streak of 438 minutes by the Jumbos that dated back to October 29. But this time there was no last minute dramatics, no late comeback, and no Tony Kuplic heroics. The Tommies fell for the final time of the 2016 season.

Lowery said he and his team were hurting after the game knowing they were close so close. Still, he was immensely proud of his team.

“While being knocked down, I’m so proud of this team and in particular the seniors for making the investment and getting so close,” he told FiftyFive.One. “It’s been almost five years [since taking over the program] and since day one – we’ve talked about raising the bar and now it’s has been raised very high. We talk about the legacy you leave and these seniors have left the most impressive legacy in the history of the University of St. Thomas men’s soccer program. We’ll be back for more. We went 20-2-3, were MIAC regular season champions, MIAC Playoff Champions, and made a Final Four appearance. Our next step is to lift the National Championship.”

The Tufts defeated Calvin 1-0 in double overtime on Saturday to win the NCAA 2016 DIII Men’s Soccer Championship.

St. Thomas finished the season with a stellar 20-2-3 record, outscoring their opponents 41-13, and recording 16 shutouts along the way.

A good contingent of Tommies fans made the trip to Virginia for the semifinal match.

A good contingent of Tommies fans made the trip to Virginia for the semifinal match. Photo Credit UST and Haley Staffon.

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