A distinct local flavor surrounds the national semifinal matchups of the 2017 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships, to be held Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kansas City's own Rockhurst University returns to the men's final four for the fourth time in five years, joining Charleston (W. Va.), Cal Poly Pomona and Lynn (Fla.). On the women's side, unbeaten and top-ranked Central Missouri descends on Swope alongside Mercy College (N.Y.), Carson Newman (Tenn.) and UC Colorado Springs.
Both tournaments will culminate with semifinal and championship matches at Children’s Mercy Victory Field inside Swope Soccer Village, hosted by the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the Kansas City Sports Commission. For ticket information, visit ncaa.com/tickets.
2017 NCAA Division II Soccer Championship Schedule
|Thursday, Nov. 30||11am||Women's Semifinals||Carson Newman (Tenn.) vs. UC Colorado Springs|
|2pm||Women's Semifinals||Central Missouri vs. Mercy (N.Y.)|
|5pm||Men's Semifinals||Rockhurst (Mo.) vs. Lynn (Fla.)|
|8pm||Men's Semifinals||Charleston (W. Va.) vs. Cal Poly Pomona|
|Saturday, Dec. 2||12pm||Women's Championship|
Rockhurst (16-2-2) vs. Lynn (14-3-2) // Nov. 30, 5 p.m. CT
In his 46th year as the program's head coach, Tony Tocco has guided the Rockhurst Hawks to the brink of their first Division II national championship. Tocco, who was recognized as a Sporting Local Legend on Aug. 19 at Children's Mercy Park, became the all-time winningest intercollegiate men's soccer coach with his 696th career win on Saturday when Rockhurst topped Northwestern (Okla.) in the Super Region 2 championship game. Junior Kaleb Jackson scored the decisive golden goal 16 seconds into overtime for his team-leading 13th tally of the season, giving the Hawks their third consecutive 1-0 victory in the NCAA Tournament.
Awaiting Rockhurst in the semifinals is the alma mater of Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia. The Lynn University Fighting Knights clinched their eighth national semifinal appearance by defeating Young Harris 2-1 on Sunday in Boca Raton, Florida. Tomer Bitton and Gustavo Bergman gave Lynn a 2-0 lead before halftime, effectively securing the result. Lynn last reached national semifinals by beating Young Harris 4-1 in 2014, en route to the program's third NCAA Division II national title.
Charleston (19-1-2) vs. Cal Poly Pomona (17-5-1) // Nov. 30, 8 p.m. CT
The Charleston Golden Eagles have advanced to their fourth straight final four, having finished as national runners-up in 2014 and 2016. Charleston posted a gritty 2-0 win over previously undefeated LIU Post (N.Y.) in Saturday's quarterfinals, receiving goals in either half from Gabriel Cabral and Robin Lapert. First-year head coach and London native Dan Stratford previously served as a Charleston assistant from 2014-2016, helping guide the program to a combined record of 61-7-3.
Cal Poly Pomona, the lowest-seeded team in the semifinal field, earned a 6-5 penalty shootout win over the nation's top-ranked team on Saturday, outlasting Midwestern State following a wild 2-2 draw. The Broncos fell behind twice in the second half, but a pair of equalizers from Sergi Monso forced overtime and spot kicks. Kevin Martinez netted the winning penalty in the six round of the shootout, sending Cal Poly Pomona to their second final four since 2015, when it fell to Pfeiffer (N.C.) in the national championship.
Carson-Newman (20-0-1) vs. UC Colorado Springs (17-4-1) // Nov. 30, 11 a.m. CT
The Carson-Newman Eagles are heading back to the women's final four for the first time since 2005, having tied a school record with their 20th win in Sunday's quarterfinals. Carson-Newman eased past West Florida by a 2-0 scoreline to keep their unbeaten record in tact, using a second-half brace from Magda Mosengo who scored her sixth and seventh goals of the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles, who fell at the semifinal stage in 2004 and 2005, are seeking their first national championship appearance.
On the opposite sideline, UC Colorado Springs is making the school's first trip to the women's final four. The Mountain Lions sealed their banner victory in shootout fashion, prevailing 4-3 following a 1-1 draw with UC San Diego on Sunday. UC Colorado Springs trailed for most of the afternoon, but a 78th-minute spot kick from Tarah Patterson pulled the sides level and set the stage for goalkeeper Taylor Proctor, who made two heroic stops in the shootout in addition to making eight saves throughout the match.
Central Missouri (24-0-0) vs. Mercy (18-3-1) // Nov. 30, 2 p.m. CT
The Central Missouri Jennies have rolled to the school's first ever women's final four in dominant fashion. A 3-1 victory over national powerhouse Grand Valley State on Sunday pushed Central Missouri to a perfect 24-0, extending its program record for most wins in a season. The Jennies had suffered quarterfinal defeats in each of the previous three seasons, but exacted revenge this time around behind strikes from Makayla Toth, Jada Scott and Abby Rhodes. Scott and Rhodes have scored 17 goals apiece in 2017, amazing 34 goals and 18 assists combined.
The Mercy College Mavericks will embrace the underdog role against Central Missouri, making their first-ever appearance in the women's final four. Guided by head coach Jonathan Feinstein, the Mavericks reached this stage thanks to a 4-3 shootout win after a 1-1 draw with West Chester (N.Y.) on Sunday. Mercy's Natalia Elizarraras bagged a goal in the first half before goalkeeper Ashley Price made two saves in the shootout to secure the dramatic triumph.