DANBURY, CT - The Western Connecticut State University men's soccer team will face Brandeis University in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Championships at Gordon Field in Waltham, MA on Saturday, November 11. The Colonials and Judges will face off at 5 pm.
The University of Rutgers-Newark (20-2) will take on Bowdoin College (10-4-3) in the other first round match up at 7:30 pm. Winners from Saturday will meet in the second round on Sunday, November 12 at 7 pm.
The Judges (13-4) will face the Western Connecticut (14-6-1) for the first time in school history. Under second-year head coach Joe Mingachos, Western picked up its third Little East Conference title to earn its ninth NCAA Tournament bid and second since the turn of the century (2003 and 2005). The Colonials ran off a string of four straight trips to the big show from 1989 to 1992 then again in 1994 and 1998. It will be head coach Joe Mingachos' first trip as the leader of the men's program after taking the WestConn women's soccer team to 11 NCAA appearances, including the Division III Final Four in 2007.
WestConn had not won more than eight games in a season since finishing at 13-5-3 in 2005, the same season it made its last post-season appearance. In Mingachos' first season at the helm of the men's program in 2016. The Colonials finished with a 6-11-1 mark, but qualified for the four-team LEC Tournament.
Senior forward Chauncey Allers (Wilton, CT) leads the team with 15 goals and four assists for 34 points. He scored both of the WestConn goals in the LEC Tournament including the game-winner, in the ninth minute of last Saturday's 1-0 victory over Rhode Island College, in the Little East Conference championship at WestConn's Westside Athletic Complex.
The Western defense has registered nine clean sheets on the season. Behind the consistent one-two punch of keepers Luca DiCarlo (Waterbury, CT) and freshman Daniel Szabo (Trumbull, CT), the Colonials have allowed just 19 goals this season. Mingachos has split the goalies through WestConn's season, especially since it began its current eight-game unbeaten streak. DiCarlo takes the first 45 minutes before the long-ball-assist-waiting-to-happen Szabo takes the reigns for the second stanza.
In 1,407 minutes, DiCarlo has a 0.95 goals-against average, 31 saves and three of his own shut outs. Szabo clocks in with 841 minutes and a 0.75 GAA while making 32 stops and registering one solo shut out.
In front of the goal is a veteran group of backs headed by LEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player Shane Bierfeldt (Torrington, CT), Shane Pugliese (Plainville, CT), Spencer Ranno (Sherman, CT) and Nicolas Falstoe (Bethel, CT).
Midfielders Darion Richeme' (Danbury, CT) and Della Penna control the pace of play for the Colonials. Richeme' has scored three goals and three assists for nine points and has a pair of game-winning goals on the season. Freshmen Harrison Allers (Wilton, CT) and Afa Reyes (Bridgeport, CT) have become regulars in the starting lineup of late. They each have a goal in their first collegiate campaign.
Complete release to come on Tuesday