The Husson College men’s and women’s soccer teams will both be in action this week.
The men’s team, despite losing to Castleton State in penalty kicks in the North Atlantic Conference final and failing to claim an NCAA Tournament bid, earned a berth in the eight-team ECAC New England championships as the fourth seed and will host the fifth-seeded University of Southern Maine Wednesday at 1 p.m.
The women’s team annexed its third straight NAC title and NCAA Division III Tournament berth and will travel to play Norwich University (Vt.) on Thursday at 1 p.m.
The Husson women have played in the NCAA Tournament four times in the six years in which Husson has been affiliated with the NCAA since leaving the NAIA.
“Norwich is a great matchup for us,” said Husson coach Keith Bosley. “We’ve never played Norwich. We’re really healthy right now and we feel good about what we’re doing.”
Each team beat Johnson State, Castleton State and Lyndon State.
Husson, 15-4, will be looking for its first NCAA tournament win against a 15-4-2 Norwich team making its first ever NCAA appearance after winning the Great Northeast Athletic Conference tourney.
Husson has been led by NAC Tournament MVP Shelby Bradford (23 goals, 14 assists), Megan LaJoie (13 & 6), Samantha Homer (14 & 4), Megan Clement (10 & 5) and Katie Nickerson (7 & 4) along with midfielder Kylan Smith (0 & 2), defender Caitlyn Butterfield (2 & 1) and goalkeeper Tatyana Wolterbeek.
Norwich features Nikki Szczepanski (7 & 7), Meghan Hoskins (6 & 3), Dawn McNulty (4 & 6) and Becky Scully (5 & 3) along with goalie Nicki Hunsicker. Hunsicker was injured in the 2-1 overtime win over Emmanuel in the GNAC championship game and had to be replaced. Norwich has two Maine players in junior defender Ashley Sanford (1 & 2) from Holden and Bangor’s John Bapst High, and Gray’s Leanne Waterman (3 & 1), a senior.
The winner will travel to face Williams College (Mass.) this weekend. Williams is the nation’s top-ranked team, according to Bosley.
Husson men’s coach Seth Brown was elated that his team earned its first ever postseason berth in the NCAA era.
“We’re excited. This is very special for our seniors,” said Brown, in his third year at Husson. “It was a hard pill to swallow Saturday night [after the loss to Castleton State].”
He expects a battle against the Huskies.
“They’re a good team. We’ll have our hands full. They have a good group of seniors. It will be a very high-energy, physical game,” said Brown.
Husson is led by Tyler Metivier (8 & 3), Jeff Truchon (7 & 1), Nathan Carter (4 & 1) and Ahm Kongsuriya (3 & 1) along with backs Josh Bartlett and Billy Shannon. Miguel Dominguez has been solid in goal.
The Eagles will be without third-leading scorer Mark Trombley (3 & 4) who underwent an appendectomy on Friday.
Little East regular season titlist USM, 12-8-1, has been paced by Peter McHugh (13 & 5), Greg Cox (9 & 5) and Sinisa Bajic (6 & 7) along with goal-keeper David Kreps.
The winner will play this weekend against the winner of the game between top seed Eastern Connecticut State and eighth seed Nichols College.