Midwest News & Roundup - Week 8
By BJ Pheasant
Welcome to the Midwest News & Review. I will highlight women's NCAA D3 soccer games in the Midwest area. National importance will be followed by regional importance and towards the end of the season conference considerations will crop up. Time is limited so I exercise judgement on notable games to report each week. My editors make me look good; thank you.
This week’s focus is on conference standings and potential NCAA Automatic Qualifiers, (AQ’s).
Week 8 Notes
The Regional rankings start on Wednesday the 23rd of October. A complete explanation is available "here” from D3Soccer.com.
Only four undefeated teams remain nationally (ten last year). Of those four only three appear likely to make the NCAA tournament.
Based on the strength of schedule (SOS) of the five conferences I am listing in this region it appears that only one team has a chance to make the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid. Winning the conference tournament and gaining the automatic qualifier (AQ) is vital for these conferences.
The top team listed in each conference is the favorite for the AQ.
American Rivers Conference (ARC)
Loras (11-4-0 / 5-1-0) The Duhawks had a tough game against Wartburg this week and were outshot 15-10 losing 1-0. The ARC regular season crown is theirs to win if they finish strong as Wartburg has a draw already.
Wartburg (10-2-3 / 4-1-1) The Knights beat top seed Loras, but unfortunate stumbles have left them a half game behind in the conference seedings. An at-large bid seems improbable, but possible, and winning the AQ is most likely necessary.
Midwest Conference (MWC)
Knox (11-4-2 / 6-0-1) The Prairie Fire lead a resurgent conference with three teams accumulating double digit wins; Monmouth (12-3-1 / 5-2) with newly engaged Head Coach Nick Rizzo, congratulations, and Cornell (10-4-2 / 4-0-2). The competition is fierce, but no at-large bid is likely from the conference even if Knox loses in the MWC tournament final.
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC)
RV St. Thomas (10-2-2 / 5-1-1) The Tommies are battling five teams within a game of the top of the conference. It will be a tight race and looks like the AQ is supremely important as it is unlikely there will be an at-large from the conference this year.
Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC)
St. Scholastica (9-7-0 / 5-0-0) The Saints are at the top of the UMAC. They are also the only team above .500 overall in the conference - no at-large bid coming. They play UW-Superior (6-7-2 / 5-0-0) on October 29, which may be for top billing.
Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC)
UW-La Crosse (10-4-2 / 3-0-1) The Eagles have picked up the pace since early season stumbles and meet UW-Stevens Point on November 2 in a game where, currently, a win or tie would keep them at the #1 seed. An at-large bid seems unlikely.
UW-Stevens Point (9-3-2 / 3-1-0) The Pointers lost to UW-Whitewater 2-1 this week despite outshooting them 17-8. UWW sits right behind them in #3 seeding position. They play UW-La Crosse on November 2 to end the regular season.
UW-Whitewater (9-4-3 / 2-0-1) The Warhawks have worked their way back into contention after a down year in 2018 and a slow start. They beat UW-Stevens Point and have tied UW-La Crosse putting themselves into a good position in the conference race.
GREAT LAKES REGION
Coverage this week of the Great Lakes provided by Managing Editor Jim Hutchinson.
Pitt-Greensburg is one of four remaining unbeatens; one of three with perfect records.
With the possible exception of the two UAA teams, Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon, if teams from this region want to play beyond November 10 their ticket to the “Big Dance” will most likely come via the AQ that earned with the conference tournament championship. The regular season championships with the prize of tournamen home field advantage will be very important.
Otterbein (12-1-1 / 5-0) D3Soccer.com / No. 24 Great Lakes No.1
John Carroll W, 3-1; Heidelberg W, 1-0: Cardinals extend their win streak to eight and maintain pace with the Polar Bears in the OAC. A three team round robin over the next two weeks will settle the top three seeds in this conference
Ohio Northern (11-2-2 / 5-0) Great Lakes No.2
Wilmington W, 2-0; John Carroll W, 2-1: Polar Bears win streak is now at seven. Two big tests with conference title credentials on the line are on the horizon: hosting the Crusaders on 10/26 and a visit to the Cardinals just four days later.
Carnegie Mellon (9-3-1 / 3-1) D3Soccer.com / RV Great Lakes No.3
Rochester W, 1-0; Emory L, 1-0: Tartans split their UAA contests last week; E8 side Nazareth on the agenda this upcoming week and Wash U and Chicago the first weekend in November to potentially decide the UAA champion.
Case Western Reserve (11-3 / 1-3) D3Soccer.com / RV Great Lakes No.4
Emory L, 2-0; Rochester W, 2-1: Spartans halt their three game UAA losing skid. It’s not going to get easier as they finish with the Maroons, Bears and Tartans who currently sit in the top three positions of the UAA table.
Denison (6-4-4 / 3-0-1) Great Lakes No.5
Pitt-Greensburg (15-0 / 7-0) Great Lakes No.6
Franciscan W, 4-1; Alfred State W, 2-0: Another two victories last week and now the Bobcats are starting to get lonely as there are only three others nationally in the undefeated ranks. With two weeks remaining they already have secured a place in the conference tournament. They host the Penn State-Behrend Lions next Saturday to decide home field advantage as long as either side advances in the conference tournament.
John Carroll (7-5-2 / 3-2) Great Lakes No.7
Otterbein L, 3-1; Ohio Northern L, 2-1: The Blue Streak earned their way into the Regional ranks after upsetting the Crusaders in Week 6. It will be a short stay. On a more positive note, they have a manageable upcoming schedule and look to be playing in the post season.
Ohio Wesleyan (7-8 / 2-3) Great Lakes No.8
Kenyon L, 1-0; Allegheny L, 2-1: It seems the Battling Bishops visit to the Regional ranks will be a short term rental. Worse yet, after suffering two close conference defeats they have a lot of work to do if they want to appear in the conference tournament.
Capital (11-4-0 / 4-1-0) Great Lakes No.9
Marietta W, 3-0; Mount Union W, 4-1: The Crusaders returned to form this week after fallng 0-1 to the Blue Streak in Week 7 despite a 25(9)-3(2) advantage in Shots (SoG). The regular season OAC title is still within sight as they meet Cardinals and Polar Bears in the final two weeks.
Anderson (9-2-2 / 3-1-1) Great Lakes No.10
Defiance W, 2-0; Franklin L, 1-0: Ravens 1-1-0 on the week despite a combined 47 (21) - 5(2) Shots (Shots on Goal) advantage. There is a six team logjam separated by only three points at the top of the HCAC.
Based on the strength of schedule (SOS) of the five conferences I am listing in this region it appears that potentially four teams have a chance to make the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid. Winning the conference tournament and gaining the automatic qualifier (AQ) is vital, but SOS for a number of teams is high.
The top team listed in each conference is the favorite for the AQ.
College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW)
No. 6 Wheaton (Ill.) (13-1-1 / 5-0-0) The Thunder roll. They beat North Central (Ill.) 1-0 in their only game of the week outshooting the challengers 23-4 and making a goal in the 8th minute stand up.
Illinois Wesleyan (8-5-0 / 3-1-0) The Titans won their only game of the week versus Carthage 2-0 on two late goals. They have a challenging game on October 23 hosting Augustana to maintain the #2 seed in the CCIW to aid their chance at a run in the CCIW tournament and an outside shot at the NCAA tournament AQ.
Augustana (8-2-2 / 3-2-0) The Vikings struggled a bit to beat Millikin 1-0 with a 10-7 shot advantage. Realistically they will need to win the conference tournament and claim the AQ to make the NCAA tournament.
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA)
Adrian (11-4-2 / 4-1) The Bulldogs are the class of a conference that this year has only three teams with records above .500. Their big test on the week was against Hope and they lost 1-0 with shots even at 7 apiece. Adrian has an outside shot at an at-large bid, but the poor performance of the conference has hurt SOS.
Hope (4-3-6 / 3-0-2) The Flying Dutch have fallen after several dominant years, which include a record good enough to get an at-large after being upset in the conference tournament in 2018. Not happening this year. Must win the AQ. They are depending on the adage that you can't just beat the champ you have to knock them out as they are still alive in conference.
Kalamazoo (5-6-3 / 4-1-1) The Knights were a surprise contender last year and have fallen off overall. In conference they are doing well and looking for the AQ in the conference tournament.
Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC)
Dominican (14-1-0 / 9-0-0) The Stars have a two game lead in conference and play second place CUW on October 26 at 4:30 in game to watch. This is a one bid league and they need to win the tournament and earn the AQ.
St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC)
The Panthers play Webster on November 2, which will probably determine the number one seed. There are three teams tied at 3-1-1 in second place right now with Webster leading on overall record tied with Fontbonne and Westminster (Mo.). The SLIAC is a one bid league and the conference tournament determines the AQ.
University Athletic Association (UAA)
No. 4 Washington U. (13-1-1 / 4-0-0). The Bears are this author’s No. 1 ranked team and they lead the UAA with two more wins this week. They finish with the teams currently at #3, #5, and #2 in the UAA and will get an at-large if not the AQ.
No. 13 Chicago (10-1-2 / 3-0-1). The Maroons have had a down year and were outshot in both games this week, but came away with victories. They play local opponent Illinois Tech on October 24 and finish the season with the teams currently at #5, #3, and #1 in the UAA. They seem assured of an at-large.
No. 25 Rochester (8-4-1 / 0-3-1). The Yellowjackets are 1-3-1 in the past five games, but still ranked in the national polls. 2-2-0 in the remaining four games is possible, but that should not earn an at-large bid. Need to win them all. In my opinion a team needs to be above .500 in their league to earn an at-large bid.
RV Carnegie Mellon (9-3-1 / 3-1-0). The Tartans won six in a row to enter the national polls but lost their last game. A 2-2-0 and finish to the season would put them in an at-large position, but they have a chance to solidify that selection with games against Washington U and Chicago on the docket.
RV Case Western Reserve (11-3 / 1-3) The Spartans had a good nonconference run this year but are 2-3-0 in the past two weeks. Based on history in the UAA a 2-2-0 finish would leave them below .500 in conference, but still with a chance for an at-large bid.
New York University (9-5-0 / 1-3-0). The Violets are 0-3-0 in the past two weeks. 2-2-0 looks realistic in the final four games. They most likely need to win out to earn an at-large.
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