NCAA Division III Tournament Semi-final

The College of New Jersey 3                Tufts 0


At Greensboro, NC


Tufts (15-4-2)  





TCNJ (22-0)  






Scoring: NJ, Dana DiBruno 19 (unassisted) 11:26; NJ, Jamie Kunkel 5 (DiBruno) 13:07; NJ DiBruno 20 (Kunkel) 72:45.


Goalkeeping: NJ, Alissa Kacar (90:00 0 GA) 5 saves; T, Annie Ross (90:00 2 GA) 9 saves.


Shots: NJ, 21; T, 9.


Corner kicks: NJ, 6; T, 2


GREENSBORO, N.C. Sophomore Dana DiBruno (Cherry Hill, NJ) scored two goals and assisted on the other as the undefeated and second-ranked College of New Jersey (TCNJ) Lions posted a 3-0 victory over #12 Tufts University in the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer semi-finals on Friday afternoon.


TCNJ (22-0) advances to the national championship game on Saturday at 1:00 against the winner of Friday's other semi-final between University of Chicago and Messiah College. The Jumbos, the NCAA New England and Sectional champions, finish their season with a 15-4-2 record.


Tufts had a quick start, creating pressure up the middle that resulted in opportunities for senior tri-captain Ariel Samuelson (Newton, MA). However, TCNJ soon settled into their game and went on to dominate most of the play.


"The College of New Jersey is 22-0 for a reason," Tufts Coach Martha Whiting said. "They are athletic, well coached. They played a great game. I'm really proud about how we kept fighting. We had some opportunities, but we just couldn't finish them today.


"Had we got one early, maybe they would have been back on their heels a bit," she continued. "They haven't allowed many goals all year, so you never know how the momentum might have changed if we scored one. We were very aggressive in the beginning of the game, but they got into a rhythm and eventually had the better opportunities."


The Lions scored two goals less than two minutes apart in the first half to take control. In the 11th minute, DiBruno scored on her own rebound after Tufts junior keeper Annie Ross (Newton, MA) made the initial save. One minute and 41 seconds later, DiBruno got the ball to freshman Jamie Kunkel (Mount Laurel, NJ) in the box. Composed, Kunkel set up her shot and drove it home for a quick 2-0 Lions lead at 13:07.


In the final minute of the first half, Tufts was awarded a free kick from right outside side the box. However, the shot by senior Lydia Claudio (Woburn, MA) missed the goal and the Lions carried their 2-0 lead into halftime.


More of the same followed in the second half, with TCNJ having the better of play and Tufts creating sporadic opportunities. Moments after Lions keeper Alissa Kacar (East Brunswick, NJ) saved a shot by Tufts tri-captain Sarah Callaghan (Northborough, MA), TCNJ earned a penalty kick in the 67th minute. Ross saved the attempt by Courtney Krol (Howell, NJ) and Tufts still had life.


Five minutes later, Kunkel and DiBruno connected again to make it 3-0. This time, a cross from Kunkel set up DiBruno's 20th goal of the season at 72:45. The sophomore broke the TCNJ single-season record for points with her 48th on the play.


With the game in their hands, the Lions closed it out with their 20th shutout of the season. They enter the national championship game tomorrow having allowed only three goals in their 22 games. TCNJ finished with a 21-9 advantage in shots over Tufts and a 6-2 margin in corners.


Tufts comes home at the end of the second-best season in their history. Playing in the final four for the second time, including 2000, the Jumbos now own three NCAA New England titles.