Thursday, November 13, 2014

NCAA Soccer, AICUO Members a Strong Combination in 2014

Members of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio are well represented in this year’s NCAA Division II and III soccer tournaments. Notre Dame in Division II and Kenyon in Division III qualified both their men’s and women’s teams for postseason play; and a 2011 national champion and 2013 national semifinalist return this fall.

In Division III, men’s North Coast Athletic Conference champion Kenyon will host first- and second-round games this weekend. On Saturday, Kenyon faces fellow AICUO member Heidelberg, tournament champion of the Ohio Athletic Conference, in a first-round match. The other AICUO member in the men’s tournament is Ohio Wesleyan, national champion in 2011, which plays a first-round match against Penn State-Behrend on the campus of Calvin (Mich.) on Friday.

No AICUO member received the opportunity to host in the first weekend of the women’s tournament. Last year’s national semifinalist, Capital, won the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament and earned an automatic bid; they travel for a first-round game Saturday against Gettysburg (Pa.) on the campus of Messiah (Pa.). Kenyon’s women, like their men, won their conference tournament; they make a shorter trip for a first-round game Saturday afternoon against Emory (Ga.) on the campus of Thomas More (Ky.).

In the Division II women’s tournament, Notre Dame, regular season and tournament champions of the Mountain East Conference, earned an automatic bid to its tournament. They will face conference foe West Virginia Wesleyan on Friday in the first round at East Stroudsberg (Pa.). Also qualifying was Ohio Dominican, which faces Great Lakes Conference foe Saginaw Valley State (Mich.) in a first-round match Friday on the campus of Wisconsin-Parkside.

In men’s play, Notre Dame, runner-up of the Mountain East Conference, received a first-round bye and will play a second-round match atMercyhurst (Pa.) on Sunday. Tiffin, a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, also received an at-large bid to the tournament; its first-round match against Drury (Mo.) takes place Friday, with the winner facing the Central Region’s top seed, Quincy (Ill.), Saturday on its home field.