Children’s Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village will host two national finals on Saturday as the NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships come to a close.
The men’s title game will kick off at 12 p.m. CT when Charleston (W. Va.) and Wingate (N.C.) battle for the first national championship in either program’s history. Charleston (19-2-2) was the national runner-up in 2014 and will look to go one step further against a Wingate side (18-1-0) that has yet to allow a goal in four NCAA tournament matches.
Saturday’s doubleheader continues with the women’s final at 3 p.m. CT. Grand Valley State (23-1-1) seeks a fourth straight national title against Western Washington (23-0-1), the lone unbeaten team remaining in NCAA Division II.
Both championship matches will stream live on ncaa.com and are hosted by the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the Kansas City Sports Commission. Tickets for the games can be purchased at ncaa.com/tickets or at the stadium box office on Saturday.
National championship dreams were dashed for two men’s teams and two women’s teams in Thursday’s semifinal round at Children’s Mercy Victory Field.
Men: Wingate (N.C.) 2, UC San Diego 0
The Wingate Bulldogs marked their first final four appearance with a 2-0 win over the UC San Diego Tritons. Junior midfielder Christian Szalay provided both goals, scoring in the 3rd minute before adding a second in the 70th minute to seal the victory. Szalay had entered Thursday with two goals all season, but his brace in the semifinals matched that total and helped give Wingate its 11th shutout win of the year.
UC San Diego (19-3-2) falls short of its first-ever national championship appearance at the Division II level. The Tritons managed just two shots on goal compared to Wingate’s five.
Men: Charleston (W. Va.) 2, Rockhurst (Mo.) 1
Kansas City’s own Rockhurst University boasted a home crowd on Thursday as several hundred Hawks fans ascended on Children’s Mercy Victory Field. Much to their delight, Rockhurst (18-3-3) struck first in the 33rd minute when senior forward Mitch Moncada dispossessed a defender, drove toward goal and slotted cooly into the far corner.
Charleston conjured an emphatic response, scoring twice within the first 10 minutes of the second half to snatch a lead it would hold to the final whistle. Senior Jermaine Windster assisted both goals from the left wing, crossing for Will Roberts in the 49th minute and Felipe Antonio in the 55th minute. A fiercely contested final half-hour saw Rockhurst apply heavy pressure, but the program’s bid for its first national title fell short.
Women: Grand Valley State (Mich.) 3, Columbus State (Ga.) 0
The three-time defending national champions had little trouble dispatching Columbus State (21-3-0) on Thursday. Senior midfielder Marti Corby scored on either side of halftime, Kendra Stauffer added a third just before full time and Grand Valley State marched to its fourth consecutive title game. The Lakers have won five of the last seven national titles at the Division II level.
Columbus State was making its second straight final four appearance, having lost to Grand Valley State 2-0 in the 2015 final.
Women: Western Washington 3, Kutztown (Penn.) 0
Making its third final four appearance in the last four years, Western Washington advanced to its first-ever national championship game with a convincing 3-0 win over Kutztown (20-5-0). Becca Cates opened the scoring in the 25th minute before Gabriela Pelogi and Jordyn Bartelson struck in the second half to pit the Vikings against perennial power Grand Valley State in Saturday’s final.
Western Washington dominated from wire to wire against a Kutztown team that had reached the final four for the first time. Kutztown failed to register a single shot attempt and Bears goalkeeper Imano Taylor was forced to make 14 saves.