Tricks and Treats abound: Thomas More teams to PAC finals
By Rusty Lindsey, d3soccer.com
Thomas More will host both the men's and women's PAC Championship matches
Wednesday night was frightful for some teams and delightful for others as conference tournaments kicked off on Halloween night. Bubbles were popped and tables were set on Wednesday night as the postseason revved into full gear. As always, life on the bubble can end at any minute, let’s take a look at how the conference tournament landscape looks as a result of Wednesday night.
The biggest noise of the night came on the women’s side and it came out of three unexpected conferences. In the IIAC, top-seeded Loras made light work of No. 4 Central with a 2-0 shutout, but it was the No. 2/No. 3 matchup that was the surprise. No. 3 seed Dubuque scored 12 seconds into the match and held off No. 2 seed Wartburg to knock off the Knights 2-1. At 12-4-1 and ranked third in the NCAA North Regional Poll, Wartburg will have to wait until Monday to discover their fate while Dubuque will look to pull another upset against Loras on Saturday.
The other surprise came out the SLIAC where the top two seeds were both eliminated on Wednesday night. The fourth-seeded Panthers of Greenville knocked off the top seed Principia, 1-0 behind Kieley Leach’s goal in the 17th minute. Greenville will move on to Friday’s championship match where they will see the third seed Webster, who blanked No. 2 Fontbonne 3-0 in the other semi-final match. Ashley Mess had two goals for the Griffins.
Overtime played a role in many games across the country but it was front and center in the SCIAC. Early in the evening second seed Chapman needed penalty kicks to advance past third seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Then in late action, No. 1 Cal Lutheran was upset in the 97th minute when Julia Dohner’s shot slipped through the hands of Kristin Bailey and into the net giving the fourth seed Ponoma-Pitzer a 2-1 upset. Ranked third in the West and at 17-4, Cal Lutheran should be safe but their loss pops a bubble of a another Pool C contender.
The CCIW Championship is set as Augustana received two goals from Ashley Navarro and two assists from Taylor Moesle and knocked off North Central 3-1. This was the first appearance in the CCIW Tournament for the Cardinals. Top-seeded Augustana will host second seed Wheaton on Saturday night at 6:00 pm. The Vikings knocked off Wheaton 1-0 in Wheaton just a week ago.
Both top seeds advanced in the NAC as No. 1 Colby-Sawyer knocked off No. 4 Maine-Farmington 4-1 and No. 2 Castleton downed No. 3 Husson 2-0.
This week’s news of Baldwin-Wallace being ineligible for postseason play throw a strange twist into the OAC Tournament as the sixth seed John Carroll received a pass into the OAC Championship by B-W’s forfeit in the semifinals. Joining John Carroll will be No. 4 seed Ohio Northern who knocked off top-seeded Otterbein 2-1.
Things were pretty straight forward on the men’s side of things with the exception of the IIAC. No. 6 Central started the IIAC tournament with an upset of third-seeded Luther in penalty kicks. The Dutch would handle things in regulation on Tuesday night but continued their run with a 2-1 upset of second seed Dubuque. The Dutch will try for the trifecta on Saturday night when they face Loras at the Rockbowl.
The table is set for a raucous scene at Joe Bean Stadium on Saturday night when two fierce rivals will battle for the CCIW crown. Top-seed Wheaton disposed of No. 4 Illinois Wesleyan 5-0 behind a hat trick from Chad Musgraves. Second-seeded North Park on the other hand got a late goal and downed No. 3 Carthage 3-2 in the other semi-final. The Vikings and Thunder will exchange pleasantries with a 7:00 pm kick-off on Saturday night. North Park and Wheaton have combined to win 9 of the 10 CCIW Tournament Championships since the tournament’s inception in 2001.
The HCAC saw a small shake-up on Wednesday night as No. 3 Anderson snuck past No. 2 Rose-Hulman 1-0. Anderson will face top-seed Transylvania at high noon on Saturday for the HCAC crown. Transylvania blanked fourth-seeded Franklin 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Overtime was needed to determine several matches on Wednesday night. In the NEWMAC, No. 5 MIT advanced over No. 4 Wheaton (Mass.) 1-0 in overtime.
In the NEAC, No. 5 Penn State-Harrisburg moved on to face top-seeded Penn State-Abington by edging No. 4 SUNYIT 4-3 in a penalty kick shootout. The Presidents’ conference also needed a shootout as No. 5 Geneva knocked off No. 3 Grove City 8-7 in a shootout after playing to a scoreless draw.