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Wheaton Soccer wins the Cushing Cup

The Wheaton College men’s soccer team won the fourth annual Cushing Cup, defeating Roger
Williams University 1-0 in the final game of the tournament on Saturday, April 13.

The tournament takes place on the Diane Nordin field, consisting of four teams who all play each
other once including Wheaton, Roger Williams, Clark University, and Brandeis University. The

winner is determined by the team with the most points, which are awarded for each result. A win
is worth three points, a tie is worth one, and a loss is worth zero. Games are a total of 50 minutes,
with two halves.

The Cushing Cup is a spring tournament in honor of former Wheaton Soccer coach, Matt
Cushing, who passed away Aug. 28, 2017. Cushing coached the men’s soccer team for 23 years
preceding his death, winning eight New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference
(NEWMAC) championships. He has a win percentage of 0.722, accumulating 328 wins in his
career, and is considered the greatest Wheaton men’s soccer coach of all time in the athletics
community. Last year Cushing was honored as one of the 2023 inductees to Wheaton Athletics’
Yowell Hall of Fame.

“I thought it was a great way to honor our former coach while also competing with others who
share the importance of this tournament,” said player Leao Nelson.

The tournament started in 2020, created by current men’s soccer coach Bryan Waggoner and the
other coaches of the competing teams, who all have soccer-related connections to Cushing. Clark
coach Matt O’Toole was one of Cushing’s assistant coaches at Wheaton. Brandeis coach Gabe
Margolis and Roger Williams coach James Greenslit both played for Cushing at Wheaton in the
past, whose team reached the NCAA tournament final four in 2003.

Wheaton has won the Cushing Cup the past four years, sharing the 2023 cup as co-champions
with Brandeis. This year caps off their fourth tournament victory. The first game of this year’s

tournament kicked off as Wheaton played Clark with Cushing’s son, Connor Cushing, playing in
the midfield for the Lyons.

“It was cool to see my dad’s inner circle all together creating a tournament in his memory and to
see how much he meant to his former players to make them pursue a career in coaching,” said
Connor Cushing.

Clark suffered an own goal within five minutes of the first half giving the Lyons an early lead.
Avery Dinham followed with a strike, giving Wheaton a 2-0 lead and Baden McLaughlin tucked
away the final goal, sealing the win at 3-1.

Brandeis, Clark, and Roger Williams all played each other leaving the last two games to be
played by Wheaton, who played Brandeis first then Roger Williams to finish. The Lyons failed
to score against Brandeis, ending the game 0-0 and resulting in a point for each team.
Wheaton entered the final game of the tournament with four points, facing a first-place Roger
Williams team that earned six points by defeating Clark and Brandeis. Wheaton needed a win to
claim victory in the tournament.

Wheaton scored first against Roger Williams with a goal from captain Ryan Bell, putting the
Lyons ahead within 10 minutes of the first half. With minutes left in the game, the field lights
shut off and the field darkened. Despite this unexpected obstacle, the teams played on, and
Wheaton finished out the game, winning 1-0. Wheaton won the Cushing Cup with a total of

seven points and a record of two wins, one tie, and no losses. The Lyons hoisted the cup into the
air, as the last light of day left Nordin field.

“The team’s hard work and grind this spring season brought us all together to be in the same
space where we could go out and win the tournament,” said captain Ethan Alfano.

“Knowing the reputation that Coach Cushing has for Wheaton athletics and trying to embrace the
qualities he has left in the program on and off the field, give me a great sense of pride to play at
Wheaton,” said player Ben Kane.