MONTCLAIR, New Jersey — This season, the Montclair State men’s soccer team reached the Elite Eight for the fourth time in program history.
But its postseason run nearly ended in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
In the opening round, Montclair State and Colby were tied 1-1 and went to a second overtime.
In that second overtime during the 102nd minute, MSU defender Ian Johnson saw his team’s goalie slide out to make a play on the ball. Johnson moved behind him to protect the net.
A Colby player avoided the goalie by passing to a wide-open teammate.
But Johnson was there.
“I saw the ball go across the face of the goal,” said Johnson, who is gay. “The net was completely open. It happened so fast. I just ran across the net, literally, on the goal line, I just made a reaction. I reacted and kicked it out.”
Montclair State beat Colby, 4-3, on penalty kicks after the end of the second overtime on Nov. 10.
Johnson still couldn’t believe his play after the game.
“I don’t really know how I did it,” said Johnson, who plays center back. “It was one of those instinctual things. I have no clue how I did it.”
Johnson helped the Montclair State men’s soccer team win two more games after the Colby victory to reach the Elite Eight — MSU’s deepest postseason run since 2013.
Tufts beat Montclair State, 4-0, in the national quarterfinals on Nov. 18. MSU finished 18-2-4 overall.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Johnson started 17 games this season on defense. A broken right big toe caused him to miss several games at the start of the season.
“I was personally happy with how I played,” Johnson said. “I developed as player a lot this year, and I really found my rhythm. We were pretty solid in the back.”
Johnson said he has been out as gay to his teammates since early January of his freshman year.
“I’ve never once had any issues with that,” said Johnson, who is now a junior. “I flirt with them and joke around them, and they do it right back. … Those guys are my best friends.”
Johnson described it as “meaningful” and “empowering” to be part of a successful college soccer program as an out gay man.
“I trust my teammates and they trust me, and part of that is them knowing who I am without any filters,” Johnson said.
Ian Johnson is a junior on the Montclair State men’s soccer team. He can be found on Instagram @IanJohnson9.
Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBTQ. Results are for competitions that took place Nov. 12-25.
Matt Aronson (senior, Wisconsin men’s diving) finished 17th on 1-meter (255.4 points) and 18th on 3-meter (228.1) at the Hawkeye Invitational on Nov. 15-16.
Lisa Coe (junior, Pittsburgh women’s diving) competed on all three boards at the Ohio State Invitational on Nov. 15-17, and her best result was 18th on platform (167.8 points).
Xavier Colvin (redshirt junior, Butler football) started at linebacker and recorded two tackles in a 41-38 loss to Davidson on Nov. 17. Colvin thought he suffered a season-ending injury Oct. 13, but he made a comeback for the season finale.
Jacob Cornish (junior, Texas men’s diving) finished ninth on platform (316.2) and 14th on 1-meter springboard at the Texas Invitational on Nov. 15-17.
FINAL #Hokies kick off the UCF Tournament with a dub pic.twitter.com/72pPwXw9nD— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) November 24, 2018
Taylor Emery (senior, Virginia Tech women’s basketball) helped the Hokies (7-0 overall) go 5-0 the last two weeks. On Saturday, she had 22 points and seven rebounds in a 61-59 win against Villanova.
Aidan Faminoff (junior, Florida State men’s diving) competed on all three boards at the Georgia Tech Invite on Nov. 15-17, and his best result was fourth on the platform (363.05).
Scott Frantz (redshirt junior, Kansas State football) started at left tackle the final two games of the season, which included a 21-6 win against Texas Tech and a 42-38 loss to Iowa State. Kansas State finishes the season 5-7 overall.
Sam Fromkin (senior, American men’s swimming) finished 26th in the 200-yard backstroke with a season-best time of 1 minute, 56.05 seconds at the George Mason Invitational on Nov. 15-17. Blaine Johnson (junior, American men’s swimming) took 29th in the 200 breaststroke (2:24.37) at the George Mason Invitational.
Kyle Goodwin (senior, Missouri men’s diving) and Ryan Russi (redshirt senior, Wyoming men’s diving) competed at the Mizzou Invitational on Nov. 15-17. Goodwin won the 1-meter (352.25 points) and 3-meter springboard (395.1). Russi finished second on 1-meter (311.8), fourth on 3-meter (329.75) and seventh on platform (285.75).
Ben Magliato (senior, Northwestern men’s diving) and Jack Thorne (senior, Northwestern men’s swimming) competed at the TYR Invitational on Nov. 16-18. Magliato took third on platform (237.45) and 1-meter springboard (296.65) and fourth on 3-meter (319.05). Thorne competed in four events with him taking second in the 200-yard backstroke (1:46.74) and third in the 100 backstroke (49.01 seconds).
Charlie Minns (junior, Princeton men’s diving) won the 1-meter springboard (331.95 points) and took fifth on 3-meter (295.1) during a meet with Cornell and Penn on Nov. 16.
Drew Davis (assistant coach, North Dakota State women’s volleyball) saw the Bison reach the semifinals of the Summit League tournament, before losing in four sets to No. 2 seed South Dakota on Nov. 17. North Dakota State finished 9-20 overall.
James Finley (head coach, Seattle women’s volleyball) ended the season with a three-set loss to UMKC in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament on Nov. 22. Seattle finished the year 11-19 overall.
Shawn McLaughlin (assistant coach, Alabama-Birmingham women’s volleyball) wrapped up the season with a four-set loss to Western Kentucky on Nov. 8. UAB finished 13-15 overall.
Stephanie White (head coach, Vanderbilt women’s basketball) and Kelly Komara (assistant coach, Vanderbilt women’s basketball) saw the Commodores (3-4 overall) go 3-2 the last two weeks. The losses came against No. 2 UConn and No. 17 NC State.
Alec Donovan (redshirt junior, Centenary wrestling) took fourth by going 3-2 at 179 pounds during the Parker Invitational on Nov. 17.
Matthew Garza (junior, Johns Hopkins men’s swimming) competed in three events against NYU on Nov. 17, and his best result was fourth in the 100-yard butterfly (54.19 seconds).
Harrison Knowlton (senior, Middlebury men’s cross country) and Tucker Meijer (senior, Amherst men’s cross country) competed at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Nov. 17. Knowlton completed the 8-kilometer race in 25:45.3 for 125th to help his team take 15th. Meijer finished 71st in 25:24.3 to help Amherst finish in sixth place. Meijer finished 40 places better than last season so that Amherst could achieve the program’s second best team finish at the national championships.
Lexie Gerson (head coach, Harcum women’s basketball) led the Bears to a 108-9 win against Bucks County on Nov. 20 to stay undefeated at 5-0.
Not the result we wanted tonight, but another incredible season with a third appearance in the National Championship match in the last four years— Parkland Athletics (@ParklandCobras) November 18, 2018
Cliff Hastings (head coach, Parkland women’s volleyball) and Ron Hoppe-Hastings (assistant coach, Parkland women’s volleyball) ended the season with a three-set loss to Coffeyville in the NJCAA Division II National Championship match in Charleston, West Virginia, on Nov. 17.
“We didn’t play well in the last match, but that doesn’t diminish an outstanding overall season,” Cliff Hastings said in a press release. “I am so proud of the work that each one of these young ladies put into the team and themselves to get us to a national championship match.” Parkland finished 56-3 overall.
On Nov. 14 ahead of the national tournament, Cliff Hastings was inducted to the NJCAA Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He led Parkland to national titles in 2015 and 2016.
Erik Hall can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @HallErik or Facebook. If you are an out LGBTQ athlete or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, please email Erik.