The national semifinal matchups are set for the 2016 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships, to be held Dec. 1 and 3 at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kansas City’s own Rockhurst University headlines the men’s field and will be joined by fellow semifinalists Charleston (W. Va.), Wingate (N.C.) and UC San Diego. On the women’s side, Columbus State (Ga.), Kutztown (Penn.) and Western Washington will look to dethrone three-time defending national champion Grand Valley State (Mich.).
Both tournaments will culminate with semifinal and championship matches at Children’s Mercy Victory Field in state-of-the-art Swope Soccer Village, hosted by the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the Kansas City Sports Commission. For ticket information, visit ncaa.com/tickets.
|Thursday, Dec. 1||11am||Men's Semifinals||UC San Diego vs. Wingate (N.C.)|
|2pm||Men's Semifinals||Charleston (W. Va.) vs. Rockhurst (Mo.)|
|5pm||Women's Semifinals||Grand Valley St. (Mich) vs. Columbus St. (Ga.)|
|8pm||Women's Semifinals||Western Washington vs. Kutztown (Pa.)|
|Saturday, Dec. 3||12pm||Men's Championship|
UC San Diego (19-2-2) vs. Wingate University (17-1-0) // Dec. 1, 11 a.m. CT
UC San Diego is making its first national semifinal appearance since 1993, when the Tritons won their third and final championship at the Division III level. Sunday’s victory over Midwestern State (Texas) marked the seventh time this season that UC San Diego has turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win. Center back Kuba Waligorski was the star of the show, heading home two set pieces in the second half.
Wingate has rattled off three consecutive shutout victories en route to its first-ever final four and the school’s first NCAA national semifinal appearance in any sport. The Bulldogs received a second-half goal from All-American Jon Ander to oust the University of Tampa on Sunday, just 48 hours after a 1-0 triumph over defending national champion and in-state rival Pfeiffer (N.C.). The Wingate defense has conceded just eight goals in 18 games this season.
University of Charleston (18-2-2) vs. Rockhurst University (18-2-3) // Dec. 1, 2 p.m. CT
The Golden Eagles needed penalty kicks to knock off Adelphi University (N.Y.) on Saturday afternoon, booking their third straight appearance in the national semifinals. Goals from Jermaine Windster and Felipe Antonio highlighted Charleston’s resolute road performance, which ended in a 2-2 draw and was decided 5-4 on penalties. Charleston will hope to go a step further than 2014, when it fell 3-2 in the national championship to Lynn (Fla.).
Rockhurst is returning to the national semifinals for the third time in the last four years after defeating Fort Hays State (Kan.) 1-0 in Sunday’s quarterfinals. The victory, sparked by Kaleb Jackson's 49th-minute game-winner, came two days after the Hawks edged past Drury (Mo.) in a penalty shootout to claim the Midwest Regional Championship. Led by 45th-year head coach Tony Tocco, Rockhurst is looking to translate its hometown advantage into the program’s first Division II national title.
Grand Valley State (22-1-1) vs. Columbus State (21-2-0) // Dec. 1, 5 p.m. CT
Grand Valley State’s juggernaut continues to roll, as the Michigan school has won each of the last three Division II national championships. The Lakers boast a remarkable 91-4-5 record since 2013 and will make their eighth straight final four appearance, a streak that began when the school won its first of five national titles in 2009. Marti Corby, Jayma Martin and Gabriella Mencotti each had a goal and an assist in Sunday’s 3-1 quarterfinal victory over Central Missouri.
Meeting Grand Valley State in the semifinals is 2015 national runner-up Columbus State (Ga.). A 2-1 double-overtime win over West Florida on Sunday gives the Lady Cougars an opportunity to avenge last year’s championship loss. Nicole Corcione gave Columbus State an early lead before Mandy Janowitz secured the dramatic victory with a golden goal in the 103rd minute.
Western Washington (22-0-1) vs. Kutztown (20-4-0) // Dec. 1, 8 p.m. CT
Western Washington comes to Kansas City as the lone unbeaten team on the men’s or women’s side of NCAA Division II. The Vikings are in the final four for the third time in the last four years and the second straight season, fresh off a 5-1 dismantling of Colorado Mines in Sunday’s quarterfinal. After falling behind in the second minute, Western Washington’s Liv Larson (2), Sierra Shugarts, Emily Nelson and Anna DeWeirdt scored goals to give head coach Travis Connell his 200th win with the program.
Awaiting Western Washington in Thursday’s last semifinal matchup is Kutztown (Penn.), which advanced to its first final four in program history after beating Bridgeport (Conn.) 1-0 on Sunday. The Bears mustered just two shot attempts in the quarterfinal contest, but Emily Zwiercan’s 55th-minute effort found the back of the net and gave Kutztown the upset win. Two days earlier, the Bears erased a 2-0 deficit to stun West Chester (Penn.) 3-2 and hoist their first-ever Atlantic Regional Championship.