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Tufts captures DIII national championship

Local natives Kevin Lawson and Joseph Braun crowned champions

Tufts University Athletics

A double overtime golden goal from Tyler Kulcsar gave Tufts University the NCAA Division III title on Saturday and made champions out of a couple of Philadelphia area natives.

Narberth, Pa., native Kevin Lawson won it for the second time in his last game while freshman reserve forward Joseph Braun, of Yardley, Pa., got his first taste of the success the Boston program has experienced winning it all two of the last three seasons.

“It was a fairytale ending to a career,” Lawson wrote in an email, still processing all that transpired in Salem, Virginia over the weekend. “I'd rather never go out at all, but if I absolutely have to go out, in double overtime at the national championship is the way I'd ask.”

Lawson started and played 46 minutes in the final after not playing in the title game two years ago. Braun, who made 16 appearances on the year, had to watch the seesaw battle from the sidelines like Lawson did two years ago.

Though scoreless through regulation and the first overtime, both teams generated a fair share of offense - Tufts edged Calvin 14-13 on shots - and both goalkeepers stepped up with big saves, Scott Greenwood with five for the Jumbos and Nate van Ryn with five for the Knights.

“In 2014, it was just an amazing feeling to have had that success,” noted Lawson, who played high school soccer at Harriton and spent his entire club career with Lower Merion SC. “This year, the success was doubly fun, since it was driven by the understudies from 2014 that weren't necessarily expected to have big successes ahead. And the fact that we were underdogs throughout both runs made it even sweeter, since every game really felt like it could easily be the last.”

The game-winner came off a Zach Halliday corner kick that found Kulcsar in the box in the 104th minute. It was the Jumbos’ fourth 1-0 win and second double overtime win in the tournament (their other two victories were 2-0 in the first round and 2-1 in the semifinal on Friday).