WATERVILLE, ME – The stage is set for the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Soccer Championship at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Smith Field between the number one seed Thomas College Terriers and number six seed New England College Pilgrims.
The Terriers earned a first round bye to begin the NAC Tournament, setting up a semifinal match against the number four seed Husson Eagles for their opening game. The Eagles looked to pull off the upset against the undefeated Terriers (10-0 NAC) as they held a 2-0 lead with 17 minutes remaining in the contest. Adam LaBrie (Yarmouth, Maine / Yarmouth) and Willie Clemons (Paget, Bermuda / Warwick Academy) each scored on a header in the 73rd and 78th minute to tie the game up at 2-2. Just four minute into sudden death overtime, another header by LaBrie found the back of the net for a 3-2 Terriers' victory. In his sophomore season, LaBrie was named to the All-NAC First Team and currently leads the conference in goals (17) and points (12). He is also ranked 14th in NCAA Division III in total goals. Clemons, who was also named to the All-NAC First Team, leads the conference and is ranked 11th in NCAA Division III in assists with 12.
The Pilgrims have been the underdog of the NAC Tournament as they earned the final seed at the end of the season. On October 29, New England College upset the number three seed, Colby-Sawyer, 2-1 in the NAC Quarterfinals. The Pilgrims advanced on to face the number two seed, Castleton, where they downed the Spartans 2-1. Cooper Valinski has tallied two big goals for the Pilgrims, leading his team in the postseason. Goalkeeper Maxime Danis has held opponents to one goal each, turning aside ten shots.
The two teams faced each other on October 22, as Thomas shutout New England College 2-0. LaBrie notched both goals in the Terriers' victory. The contest was very even as the Terriers outshot the Pilgrims 10-9 and held a 5-3 advantage in corners.
The winner will advance on to the NCAA Division III Tournament which will begin on November 12. The Terriers have won the last four of six NAC Championships and look to defend their 2015 title. The Pilgrims look to pull off another upset, earning their first NAC Championship in program history.