INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- The New England Collegiate Conference champion Eastern Nazarene College men's soccer team will travel to Rensselaer in its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Lions boast a 16-3-0 record on the fall and finished the regular season with a 4-2 mark in league play. Eastern Nazarene's 16 wins sets a new program mark for single-season victories, surpassing the previous record established in 1994.
Junior Charlie Swann (London, England) was named the NECC Player of the Year to headline the squad's seven all-conference honorees. Edmilson Centeio (New Bedford, Mass.), Stanley Elie (Roslindale, Mass.), Ismael Lobo (Brockton, Mass.), Carlos Moya (Oviedo, Spain), and Leon Zaffonato (Canela, Brazil) all joined Swann on the All-NECC first team while Tyler Ferreira (Berkley, Mass.) was tabbed to the All-NECC second team. Fourth-year head coach Mark Bell was voted the NECC Coach of the Year.
Eastern Nazarene stormed through the NECC Tournament, outscoring opponents 11-2 in three matches. The third-seeded Lions blanked Dean 2-0 in the opening round before routing No. 2 seed New England College 6-1 in the NECC semifinals. Eastern Nazarene defeated top-seeded Lesley 3-1 to capture the program's first NECC crown.
The Lions' 2019 NECC Championship marks the program's second-ever conference title as the Crusaders claimed the 1994 Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship.
Zaffonato was selected as the NECC Tournament Most Valuable Player while Sunil Lepcha (Charlotte, N.C.), Centeio, and Swann were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
After dropping the season-opener, Eastern Nazarene rattled off a program-record 13-consecutive victories earlier this season.
Swann paces the conference and ranks 19th in NCAA Division III with 39 points and ranks ninth in the nation with 18 goals. The junior striker has found the back of the net in 15 of the Lions' 19 matches this season and has also added three assists.
Zaffonato has notched 31 points on the year with 11 goals and a league-high nine assists. He has collected a point in 13 of the 18 matches in which he appeared this season.
Junior goalkeeper Tim Eddings (Endicott, N.Y.) has started 10 matches between the pipes and owns a 7-2-0 record with two clean sheets to his credit.
Rensselaer boasts a 14-2-3 overall record and are ranked No. 12 in the latest national poll.