By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Kessy Alves of Brockton completed the hat trick last Sunday afternoon -- in more ways than one.
When the Bridgewater State University senior scored three goals against Framingham State University, he led the Bears men's soccer team to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Division 3 tourney.
And that gave the 2013 Southeastern Regional graduate a hat trick of national tourney appearances at three different schools during his collegiate career.
Alves, a former Enterprise All-Scholastic, played on the 2015 Massasoit Community College team that advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association tourney in Martinsville, Virginia.
As a sophomore in 2016, Alves played for Dean College when it made the transition from a junior college to a four-year Division 3 program, and the Bulldogs reached the United States Collegiate Athletic Association tournament in Virginia Beach.
Now, Alves is finishing his career taking part in the NCAA tourney. The Bears (11-7-1) play at 18th-ranked Amherst (12-4-1) this morning at 11 a.m. in the opening round.
Alves was named the most valuable player of the MASCAC tournament after his three-goal performance in the 5-3 win over the top-seeded Rams last weekend, and he did so despite dealing with a cold.
But the native of Cape Verde, who moved to Brockton at the age of 7, didn't want his winning college soccer career to end that way.
"I was playing with a cold," said Alves, who was named to the All-MASCAC first team this week. "I had no idea what was going to happen. If we won, 1-0, I'd have been totally satisfied with that. Even though I was sick, (assistant) coach Nick (Palantzas) gave me a little pep talk, telling me that it's my senior year and if I don't step up, that's going to be it.
"It was bad. I had a sore throat and a cold. If you watch the game, you see me coughing the whole game. I had a lot of friends there and they watched me and everyone was screaming. That motivated me.
"We have so many seniors and we kept saying, 'We don't want this to be the last game.'"
Alves scored once in the first half to tie the game at 2-2, then tallied two goals within 1:11 late in the second half after the game had been even again at 3-3.
He leads the Bears with nine goals and 27 points and is second with nine assists. Alves ranks tied for second in the MASCAC in assists and is third in goals and points.
After transferring to BSU last year and scoring four goals and 10 assists in 18 games, Alves has picked up his offense.
"Kessy's a clever, clever player," said Coach Brendan Adams. "He's very good with the ball. He didn't have the greatest year scoring-wise last year. Having him coming back and having the season that he did is great.
"He's gotten better. We needed it because we lost scoring from last year and we've had guys like him play to their strengths."
After playing four years at Southeastern Regional, Alves appeared in 21 games at Massasoit in 2015 and was the third-leading scorer on a team that went 13-8. Alves had 13 goals, eight assists and 34 points.
He transferred to Dean and joined three other Brockton residents on the team, contributing 10 goals and seven assists as the Bulldogs went 17-2. After one year at the school, Alves decided to transfer to BSU so that he could be closer to home and major in criminal justice.
"I was very motivated when I got to Massasoit," said Alves. "Then I went to Dean and it was a jump, it was different. We had a very good team. I came to Bridgewater because they had what I wanted for my major and so I could be near home.
"I didn't know what to expect my first year at Bridgewater, but the second year, I knew what it takes. Everyone has stepped up and just gave it their all this year."
In 72 career games at Massasoit, Dean and Bridgewater State, Alves has 36 goals and 26 assists, showing improvement throughout his four seasons.
"I knew I had to be more involved this year," said Alves. "I had to do more than last year. There was no choice if we wanted to win. I've gotten better every year because I play throughout the year. I love playing."
Alves has been around the college soccer circuit since graduating from Southeastern in 2013, but he's happy with how things have happened.
"I'm glad the way it turned out," said Alves. "You don't plan it. It just happens the way it is. Bridgewater's been good for me."