Two years ago, Sterling Weatherbie of Cape Elizabeth was a sophomore on a surprising Tufts University men’s soccer team that won the Division III national title.

This weekend, as a senior captain, he’s trying to help the Jumbos win another championship.

Tufts (16-0-3) will face the University of Rochester (16-2-2) at 1:45 p.m. Friday at Greensboro, North Carolina, in the second of two semifinal games. The morning match features Calvin (21-1) against the University of Chicago (18-2-1).

The winners will meet for the national title at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“This whole playoffs, I didn’t want my soccer career to end,” Weatherbie said by phone from Greensboro. “I’m really happy to be here, but I’ve gotten a little sentimental. I’ve got either one or two games left.”

Weatherbie played two years of high school soccer at Cheverus before transferring to a prep school in New Hampshire, Phillips Exeter Academy. He has been a starter at right defensive back since his sophomore year at Tufts and has four goals this season, none more dramatic than his overtime winner to beat Bowdoin 4-3 in Brunswick in late October.

“That one was a bit lucky,” he said. “Just a corner that flicked off (the head of) one of our center midfielders and hit off my back and went in.”

It marked the first win in five years for Tufts over Bowdoin and capped a NESCAC regular-season schedule that included ties of 1-1 at Middlebury and 0-0 at Connecticut College. Weatherbie also scored in overtime at home to beat Bates 1-0 in September.

In the conference tournament, No. 8 Colby knocked off top-seeded Tufts in the quarterfinals by winning a shootout after neither team scored in regulation or two overtime periods. Even so, Tufts received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and the second overall seed, behind Chicago.

The Jumbos drew a bye in the first round and then shut out Stevens 1-0, Amherst 3-0 and Montclair State 4-0 all at home in Medford, Massachusetts, to reach the Final Four for the third time in five years. Tufts also won the 2014 national title the year before Weatherbie arrived.

“Sterling has blossomed as a leader the last few years,” Tufts Coach Josh Shapiro wrote via email. “He is one of the most positive energetic players I have coached and those qualities are contagious. It is hard not to have fun or be motivated in his presence.”

On the field, Weatherbie “is a very talented defender,” Shapiro said. “He has everything you want in a wide defender – tenacity, toughness, mobility, stamina, leaping ability and the technical quality to play short, long and deliver great crosses.”

Earlier this week, Weatherbie was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-New England and all-NESCAC first teams. The New England Soccer Journal named him the region’s Player of the Year.

Over the past two seasons, with Weatherbie anchoring its defense, Tufts has allowed only 11 goals in 40 games.

One of four Tufts seniors, Weatherbie will graduate in the spring with an economics degree. He plans to work in commercial real estate and is deciding between job offers in Boston and New York.

Shapiro called him a “class player and leader and a huge reason we are in Greensboro this weekend.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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