Connecticut College’s NCAA Division III national champion men’s soccer team was honored by some very special guests Thursday, including Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, State Senator Cathy Osten, State Representatives Anthony Nolan and Christine Conley, and New London Mayor—proud Conn alumnus—Michael Passero ’79 M’89.
At a congratulatory event in Conn’s Shain Library, Lamont, whose sister is a Conn graduate, said the whole state had rallied around the team.
“You came together at the very best moment when people needed you to step it up. You also came together and stepped up right when the state needed you the most,” he told the team. “We needed something to cheer for, and I’ve got to tell you, the people of Connecticut were cheering for the Camels.”
He added, “You have a lot to be proud of, and I’m so proud of what you’ve accomplished.”
The Camels won their first national championship Dec. 4, defeating Amherst 1-1 (4-1) on penalties at UNCG Soccer Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina. After playing Amherst to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two overtimes, senior captain Lorenzo Bocchetti ’22 converted the deciding penalty after Peter Silvester ’25 stopped two spot-kicks in the shootout.
“Winning our first national championship last weekend was an incredible moment for this College and for the state of Connecticut,” said President Katherine Bergeron, who attended the Final Four matches to cheer on the Camels with parents and the many alumni who traveled near and far to support the team.
“The fact that this happened after a pandemic had forced us to cancel all athletic competition last year makes it all the more momentous and all the more thrilling,” she added.
Osten, Nolan and Conley presented the team with a Connecticut general assembly official citation signed by the president of the senate, the president of the house, and the secretary of the state.
“We really want to thank you for doing everything that you've done for the state, for the region, and for New London,” Osten said.
Passero said he was thrilled to have the NCAA championship trophy in New London. “It’s a feather in the cap for the city, and a feather in the cap for Connecticut College. I’m just so proud of you guys. It’s fantastic.”
The celebration continued Friday, Dec. 10, on Tempel Green. Members of the Conn community joined Bergeron and Athletic Director Mo White to meet the team, hear from the coaches and players, take pictures with the trophy, and enjoy food from Munchies Food Truck and Luigi’s Pizza Truck.