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What a Kick!


Morgan Langley ’10 (right) and the surging men’s soccer team took Swarthmore sports excitement to the national level in 2008, winning the Centennial Conference championship and making the program’s first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in 17 seasons. The team, (17-3-2) advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament, defeating Rutgers–Camden and Dickinson College before falling to Amherst College by 1–0 in the quarterfinal round of 16. Swarthmore hosted the tournament at Clothier Field, where hundreds of spectators, including many local children who have attended Garnet-sponsored soccer clinics, turned out in all kinds of weather to cheer the team on.

Swarthmore’s women’s soccer team also had a strong season (10-4-6), advancing to the Centennial playoffs for the third straight year and winning its second consecutive Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) South Region championship.

The previous men’s season had ended with their own ECAC South Region championship, but 2008 was to be different. Eight returning seniors, contributors to nearly 40 victories the previous three seasons, welcomed nine new players. After securing a fifth consecutive Garnet Alumni Classic pre-season title with a win over Skidmore and a draw against Richard Stockton, the national soccer establishment took notice, ranking Swarthmore in the NSCAA/Adidas top-25 poll.

Swarthmore hosted the Centennial championships for the first time, welcoming large crowds. The Garnet advanced past Dickinson in the semifinals—4-2 in a penalty-kick shootout—and ended Johns Hopkins’ two-year championship run with a 1-0 victory in the final match.

As Centennial winners, Swarthmore received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament—the fourth in program history (1974, 1990, 1991). In first-round action on Nov. 15, the Garnet topped Rutgers–Camden 2–0 in a driving rainstorm and then faced Dickinson for the third time this season. Dylan Langley ’10 headed in a free kick from freshman Fabian Castro in the 30th minute, enough for a 1–0 victory and a date in the sectional round. National powers Trinity (TX) University, Ohio Wesleyan, and Amherst came to Clothier Field—again selected as the site of NCAA play. Swarthmore put its 13-match unbeaten streak on the line against Amherst, champs from the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The Lord Jeffs scored the lone goal of the match just before halftime, holding on for a 1–0 win over the Garnet.

—Kyle Leach

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