Soccer Teams Go Deep in NCAA Tournament Action

This fall, success was not just limited to Sprague Field and the Montclair State field hockey team, as both the men’s and women’s soccer teams also enjoyed winning seasons.

For the men’s team, it was a continuation of what has come to be expected each year. After reaching the NCAA Division III national semifinals in 2011, the Red Hawks made a return trip to San Antonio, reaching the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament for the third time in the last seven years. The Red Hawks, who posted a 19-3-1 record, also captured the New Jersey Athletic Conference regular-season crown for the fourth time in the last seven years, posting 38-7-4 over the last two years.

The Red Hawks’ journey back to the Elite Eight began on the road at Oneonta State where they defeated Salve Regina 2-1 in the first round on a goal by senior Dan Mendoza late in the game. The next day, Montclair faced host Oneonta in a matchup of two Final Four squads from last season. The game went into overtime and a penalty-kick shootout before a 4-3 win moved Montclair State to the Sweet Sixteen in Texas, where it played third-ranked Trinity College in the first round. The Red Hawks stunned Trinity 2-1 to move one game away from the Final Four. But Montclair State’s attempt to reach a second-straight national semifinal was thwarted when it fell to Ohio Northern University, 2-1.

Mendoza and senior Mark Lubetkin were named to National Soccer Coaches Association Division III All-America First Team—the first time ever that two Montclair players were named First-Team All-America in the same season.

Meanwhile the women’s team returned to the national stage for the first time since 2006 following one of the best seasons in team history.

The Red Hawks captured their first New Jersey Athletic Conference championship since 2004, was ranked No. 1 in the NCAA South Atlantic Region and posted a 16-2-3 record. Montclair State went undefeated through its first 12 contests (11-0-1) and finished its NJAC slate at 8-1, the best conference season in the program’s existence.

The team was the top seed in the NJAC Tournament and then made its way to its second conference championship beating Richard Stockton College in the semifinals and Kean University in the title contest.‌

The Red Hawks earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, where it knocked off Averett University 3-2 in overtime before falling to host Lynchburg College in the second round.

Four Montclair State players were named to the NSCAA South Atlantic All-Region Team and Head Coach Pat Naughter was named the NJAC Coach of the Year.  

Overall, Montclair State’s fall athletic teams posted a combined season record of 84-23-4, a .775 winning percentage that far outdistanced any program in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.