NEW LONDON, Conn. – Junior Freddy Stokes (Westhampton, Mass.) scored his first career goal and helped anchor a back line which yielded only two shots to propel the Connecticut College men's soccer team to a 4-0 victory over Thomas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Freeman Field.
The Camels registered their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory in convincing fashion by outshooting their opponent, 25-2, and owning a 9-2 advantage in corner kicks. Thomas (14-5-1), which was making its first postseason appearance since 2015, saw its season come to an end.
Connecticut College dominated during the first half and had an 11-1 shot advantage, but the team was only able to finish once when sophomore Liam Noonan (Calabasas, Calif.) took a cross from Liam Noonan (Calabasas, Calif.) placed the ball inside the right post in the 16th minute. Junior Matt Butera (Westfield, Mass.) had back-to-back looks sail high, and freshman MT Tshuma (Magwegwe, Zimbabwe) could not finish an open look from the top of the box by firing a ball that barely sailed wide right of its intended target.
The Camels, however, kicked into full gear during the second half by scoring three times. Stokes doubled the margin when he arced a shot from more than 30 yards away in the 71st minute, and junior Manny Balbontin (New York, N.Y.) provided additional insurance by scoring twice in the 73rd and 85th minutes.
Sophomore AJ Marcucci (West Chester, Pa.) picked up the victory between the pipes for Connecticut College by only needing to make two saves. Thomas' Jonathan Dutka suffered the setback by turning away four shots.
Connecticut College (13-2-2) will next host Ramapo in the second round of the NCAA Tournament tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m.