Men's soccer ready for Saturday's NESCAC semifinal

WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Colby College men's soccer team opened up the New England Small College Athletic Conference Championship in a spectacular way after advancing past second-ranked Tufts University last Sunday.

The Mules (7-6-3 overall), in the NESCAC Final Four for the first time in program history, receives another tough test at 20th-ranked Amherst College in a semifinal game Saturday at 11 a.m. Colby is the eighth seed, while the Mammoths are seeded fourth and hosting the tourney after the top three seeds all lost quarterfinal games. Hamilton College, the seventh seed, and sixth-seeded Williams College meet in the other semifinal at 1:30 p.m. 
 
Colby's semifinal game will be broadcast by the Northeast Sports Network here.
 
Colby goalkeeper Dan Carlson and the defense of Garrett Dickey (pictured), Grady Jendzejec, Wyett MacDonald, and Graham Pugh have not allowed a goal when the games mattered most. The Mules had a 2-0 win over Bates College to end the regular season and clinch a playoff spot. Colby earned a 0-0 overtime tie with top-seeded Tufts and advanced 3-2 on penalty kicks.
 
"Our defense has been special throughout the entire year," Carlson said. "To be able to consistently hold off a highly-ranked team like Tufts for 110 minutes takes a tremendous amount of focus and determination, both of which have been characteristic of our defense all season."
 
Dickey and Jendzejec are both captains along with forward Jeff Rosenberg. They are three of Colby's 11 seniors -- all in the league playoffs for the first time. The Mules were seconds away from making the tournament a year ago.
 
"The ups and downs we have had allowed us to be the closest locker room in the country," said Cam Clouse, a force in the midfield. "We have seen each other at some real highs and some real lows. The fact that we have been able to preserve to where we are today says something about how close our team is, like a family." 
 
Clouse leads the Mules in scoring with four goals, while David Howarth and Lucas Pereira both have two goals and two assists for six points. 
 
Carlson ranks second in the conference in total saves (70) and fifth in save percentage (.843).
 
Amherst (12-3-1 overall) took a 3-0 home win over the Mules earlier this year. However, Colby posted  a 2-1 overtime victory against the Mammoths last year on its home turf.
 
The Mammoths were 3-3 at one point this season, but stand at 9-0-1 over the past 10 games. Amherst is 7-1 in home games.
 
German Giammattei leads the Mammoths in scoring with six goals and two assists. Luke Nguyen (5 goals, 3 assists) and Dane Lind (10 assists) are other leading scorers.
 
NESCAC Men's Soccer Championship
Quarterfinals - Saturday, October 27
at Higher Seeds
No. 6 Williams def. No. 3 Middlebury, 1-0
Quarterfinals - Sunday, October 28
at Higher Seeds
No. 7 Hamilton def. No. 2 Connecticut College, 1-0
No. 8 Colby tied No. 1 Tufts, 0-0, advanced on PKs, 3-2
No. 4 Amherst def. No. 5 Bowdoin, 1-0
Semifinals - Saturday, November 3
at Amherst
No. 4 Amherst vs. No. 8 Colby - 11 a.m.
No. 6 Williams vs. No. 7 Hamilton - 1:30 p.m.
Championship - Sunday, November 4
at Amherst
Semifinal winners - 12 p.m.