It’s that time of year again for NCAA Division 2 soccer teams across the nation. The business end of the season is upon us and the opportunity for teams and players to prove themselves has never been greater!
All in all, 38 men’s programs have been selected in the 2016 Official Bracket, which was drawn on Monday evening. On the women’s side, there is 48 teams left in the race to become the nation’s number 1.
In the first three rounds of the tournament, the fixtures are scheduled regionally. However, as any college athlete in the US will tell you, “regionally” can often mean an 8-hour bus journey or 2-hour flight for a game. Teams are seeded in their respective regions, from top seed (1) to bottom seed (6), with seeds 1 and 2 usually receiving a bye in the first round and seeds 3, 4, 5 and 6 battling to join them in the second stage. Each game is a knockout, with every squad fighting to keep their season alive. Emotions will run high, especially for seniors (fourth year student-athletes) who know that their college career will be over if they fail win.
From the South Region, Lynn University (FL) and Wingate University (NC) hold the top seeds and could be early contenders for a national crown. However, Rockhurst University (MO) and Fort Hays State University (KS) in the Midwest Region will certainly have something to say about that.
Moving up the east coast, the University of Charleston (WV) and unbeaten LIU Post (NY) are strong contenders, in addition to Adelphi University who’ve only lost once all year.
Over on the west coast, Canadian representatives Simon Fraser University (BC) will be eagerly watching First Round ties as they lay in wait. Likewise, UC San Diego will be hoping they can take advantage of a home draw in the Second Round against either Dixie State University (UT) or Western Washington University (WA).
Finally, the South Central Region will be a condensed battle between just four college teams; two from Texas (St. Edward’s University and Midwestern State University) and two from Colorado (Colorado Mesa University and Regis University).
The South Region is well-represented by Peach Belt Conference champions, Columbus State University (GA) and Sunshine State Conference winners, Saint Leo University (FL). In fact, there are six teams from the South currently ranked inside the top 25 in the entire country.
In the Midwest and Great Lakes Region, Central Missouri University (MO) and Grand Valley State (MI), who have national rankings of 4 and 2, respectively, are certainly favourites to progress.
Meanwhile, over in the North-East, one of only two unbeaten women’s teams left in the nation, West Chester University (PA), will look to keep their untarnished record alive. They will face a tough challenge from Division 2 powerhouse, Bridgeport University (CT) – home of All-American and CSUSA client, Nicola Worthington – and also Adelphi University (NY).
Moving over to Pacific Time out West, the number 1 team in the nation, Western Washington University (WA), remain firm favourites to go all the way. Regardless, UC San Diego (CA) will attempt to do what no other team has managed so far and stop them in their tracks.
Finally, the South Central Region. Similar to the Men’s side of the draw, the teams from this section all hail from either Texas or Colorado. Number 1 seed is Colorado School of Mines University (CO), who are ranked 6th in the country. The second seed is Texas A&M- Commerce University (TX), although high-flying Texan neighbours, St. Edward’s University (TX) will no doubt be in the running.
All First Round ties for both Men’s and Women’s brackets will take place on either the 10th or 11th of November, with the Second Round scheduled for this coming weekend.
The NCCA Division 1 brackets (Men’s and Women’s) will be finalised on Monday 14th November – so look out for a comprehensive preview of that next week!
Stay tuned for updates on the CSUSA Facebook page as we report back on the upsets, the comeback wins and of course, the ever-growing list of CSUSA clients involved in what is the most important month of the year for college soccer!
Good luck to all teams involved from everyone at Team CSUSA!