Monks men's soccer takes GNAC title, makes NCAA postseason run

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St. Joe's defender Jackson Taylor of Gorham takes a touch on the ball.

STANDISH—The St. Joe’s men’s soccer squad wrapped up a phenomenal season on Sunday, Nov. 12. Yes, the Monks succumbed on the road against Tufts that day and thus exited the NCAA Division III Tournament in the second round; in their first 19 games, however, they allowed exactly one goal, went undefeated and claimed their conference championship.

St. Joe’s largely comprises talent from across the Northeast, and features a number of native Mainers, such as Cody Elliot and Jackson Taylor (former teammates at Gorham), Quinn Hewitt (Cape Elizabeth), Jonata Mbongo (Portland/Deering) and Robbie Small (Bowdoinham/Mt. Ararat).

The Monks thrashed through their regular schedule, defeating all comers – from Bowdoin (1-0) to Suffolk (5-0) to Rivier (7-0) – except for Norwich, whom they tied 0-0 at home on Sept. 16. They thus entered the Great Northeast Athletic Conference postseason ranked No. 1 at 16-0-1.

SJC met Suffolk in the GNAC quarterfinals on Nov. 1, winning 1-0; they then moved on to the semis, where they bludgeoned Regis 6-0, one of which goals belonged to Elliot (who had six shots total).

In the Final, at home on Nov. 4, they matched up once more with third-ranked Norwich. Elliot scored the game’s only goal just over three minutes in on an assist by Brett Mattos (Mahopec, N.Y.). Supported by a phenomenal back line and standout netminder Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.), the Monks eventually took the W.

It was St. Joe’s second straight GNAC crown. Perhaps even more impressive, it was their 19th consecutive shutout, an NCAA record at any level – DI, DII, or DIII. The previous record, set by Drew University in 2003, was 17.

Mullen also owns the NCAA record for consecutive shutout minutes, which reached 1,595 minutes and 36 seconds in the triumph.

Through those 19 wins, the Monks outscored their opponents 65-0, totaling 1730 minutes of shutout time. The team averaged 23.84 shots per game, including 12.11 shots on goal – both DIII-leading numbers. Moreover, their win-loss-tie percentage, .974, put them third nationally. Their assists per game (3.16), points per game (10.00) and total assists (60) put them fifth; their total goals (again, 65) and total points (190) put them eighth; and their corners per game (7.26) put them 10th. 

On the strength of their play, SJC steadily climbed the regional and national rankings, peaking at sixth among New England DIII schools and 17th among DIII schools across the country.

Moreover, 10 members of the team earned All-Conference honors, come awards season. Head Coach Adrian Dubois was named GNAC Coach of the Year (for the second year in a row), Mattos GNAC Offensive Player of the Year, Dalton Gaumer (Corona, Calif.) GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, and Mullen GNAC Goalkeeper of the Year (for the second year in a row). Mattos, Gaumer and Mullen thus receieved “First-Team” laurels too, as did JoJo Strobino (Clifton, N.J.).

Taylor, Trevor Lopes (Cumberland, R.I.), Rory Twomey (South Windsor, Conn.) and Noah Robinson (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) received Second-Team honors.

St. Joe’s came close to faltering in the first round of the NCAA DIII tournament, when they narrowly escaped the clutches of 9-9-1 Mitchell College. Mattos and Hewitt both scored for the Monks in the 2-1 win.

Alas, SJC finally met their match vs. Tufts. The Monks played the Jumbos to a 0-0 standstill through regulation. Hewitt nearly netted another game-winner in overtime, but the bout ultimately devolved into penalty kicks, where Tufts outperformed St. Joe’s 4-2 to secure victory.

Technically, the loss on PKs goes on the books as a tie, meaning SJC retires till next autumn at 19-0-2. 

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME

St. Joe’s defender Jackson Taylor takes a touch on the ball.

Photo courtesy of David Bates Photography.

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