One Moment. One Opportunity. One Champion.

The 2016 Colgate Men’s Soccer team is going dancing.

For the first time since 2009, Colgate will be playing in the NCAA tournament thanks to a clutch win in the final round of the Patriot League Championship. Colgate defeated top-seeded American University, who also had the advantage of playing on their home field, in an exhilarating round of penalty kicks that sent every fan, near and far, into a state of panic. This is the sixth Patriot League title claimed by the Raiders, and only the sixth time in program history that the team will advance to the first round of the NCAA tournament. One can only imagine the extent of endless smiles, tears, and celebrations that took place on that field, as the team lifted their trophy. Senior keeper, Ricky Brown, made a season high-tying seven saves in goal, before capitalizing on a penalty kick of his own.

Colgate and American played to a double-overtime draw prior to the penalty kick shootout this past Sunday in our Nation's capital. As the shootout when back and forth between the two teams, the nail biting continued. American scored its first four shots and could see the title in their sights. That was however until Colgate goalkeeper, Ricky Brown, found himself craving victory a lot more than his opponents. The American players stepped up to the line for the deciding shots, but they were no match for Brown. Making back-to-back saves, Brown helped his team secure the title. His team could now declare they were champions.

Colgate advances to 13-6-3 overall on the 2016 season, and continues to rely on their team’s versatility and competitiveness to perform well in the NCAA tournament. Seniors Ethan Kutler and Zach Tamen, and junior Jared Stroud were selected to the Patriot League All-Tournament team following the victory on Sunday. Tamen was also honored with Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, while Kutler and Stroud were named first team All-League. Senior midfield, Colin O’Neill was honored with second team All-League honors, and sophomore defender Aram Ouligian was named third team All-League.

The depth and obvious strength of this team was the reason for their success, Brown said as we had the opportunity to sit down with the recently crowned champion. Brown spoke about their trip to California, as they prepare to take on UCLA. Brown stated, “I think the team is getting off the high of winning the Patriot League Championship, and is viewing out trip not as a one and done one, but rather a business trip filled with endless opportunities that some of these guys will never get again. We’ve got a good group of guys, and I think everyone is just focused and excited for the task at hand.”

No team simply wins a championship and moves on to the NCAA tournament. These laurels were earned with hard work and true dedication to the game and to each other. Humbled and excited by this opportunity to play one of the best teams in the nation, the Raiders will be hard-pressed to find someone back here in Hamilton not cheering them on.