MEDFORD, Mass. - Max Hoppenot scored in the 81st minute to lift the Tufts men's soccer team to a 1-0 NESCAC victory over Bowdoin on Tuesday afternoon at Kraft Field.
With the win, Tufts earns the fourth seed for the upcoming NESCAC Championship tournament. Bowdoin will be the fifth seed and the teams will meet again in the opening round of the tourney Saturday in Medford.
After three straight losses, Tufts (8-5-1, 6-4 NESCAC) has now won two in a row including 1-0 at Hamilton on Saturday. Today's loss was the first for the Polar Bears (8-3-3, 5-3-2 NESCAC) since September 14. Bowdoin had been undefeated in 10 straight games (7-0-3) including six consecutive victories and had just appeared in their first NSCAA Division III poll of the season Tuesday, cracking the rankings at #22.
The Polar Bears had the first good scoring chance of the afternoon when freshman Matt Dias Costa drilled a shot from the top right corner of the box that was saved by Jumbo freshman keeper Scott Greenwood.
Tufts would end up with the best chance of the first half. In a situation similar to the goal he would score, Hoppenot was challenging with a Bowdoin defender at the top of the 18 and got off a shot that softly bounced off the far post.
Dias Costa threatened again for Bowdoin in the final seconds of the first half, finding open space in the box. However, Jumbo sophomore Monil Patel came on with a slide tackle to eliminate the opportunity. Shots were 4-3 Bowdoin at the half, with the Polar Bears earning the only corner kick of the first 45.
Early in the second half, Bowdoin's Kiefer Solarte launced a free kick from 25 yards out in which Greenwood needed to time his jump to snare at the crossbar.
Tufts earned corners three minutes apart with freshman Nathan Majumder getting quality chances on both. His header at 22:04 was saved by Bowdoin keeper Noah Safian, and then another header by Majumder had to be stopped by a Polar Bear defender. A follow-up shot by Tufts' Connor Schaible sailed high.
The Jumbos would break through in the aftermath of a goal kick by Bowdoin. Majumder would win the ball for Tufts and get it to junior tri-captain Kento Nakamura. He led Hoppenot into the box and the Jumbos' leading scorer was able to pop the ball over an oncoming Safian for the goal with 9:44 remaining.
With an 8-5 shots advantage in the second half, Tufts finished with an 11-9 edge in the category. They also took corners 3-1. Greenwood made four saves for Tufts and Safian finished with two for the Polar Bears.
Saturday's game time will be announced on Wednesday.