The Case Western Reserve University men's soccer team concludes the best season in school history with its first ever trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Case finished the regular season 16-2-1 (5-2 University Athletic Association) and won its first ever UAA championship, receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs.
"To win the UAA we had to win our last three games on the road against the teams that were picked first, second and third in the preseason poll (Case was picked eighth)," said Head Coach Dan Palmer-picture on page one. "So it was a major accomplishment and I would like to think it is going to prepare us well for our first playoff match."
Case is ranked tied for 12th in the nation (National Soccer Coaches Association Of America) and second in the region (Great Lakes) and is the first men's and third team overall in school history to receive an NCAA bid. The 2000 Spartans' softball team and the 2002 women's basketball squad are the other two. The Case men's soccer team broke the school's single season win record of nine (1981, 9-4-1) and became ranked in the nation's top 25 for the first time in school history this past year.
"To put the turnaround in perspective, our seniors only won two games their freshman year, so this is just a tremendous reward for them," said Palmer. "They have worked hard and have done all the things I asked them to. This is very special for them."
The UAA will have a record five teams (Case, New York, Washington-MO, Rochester and Chicago) participating in the 2006 NCAA Playoffs. The five men's team invites is the most ever for the UAA (previous best was four in 2005). It is also the most teams from one conference in the tournament field this year. The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) has four teams (Williams, Amherst, Middlebury, and Wesleyan-CT).
"I have to believe we are the only conference in the country where every team from first to eighth place had a winning record," said Palmer. "That says a lot about the strength of the competition."
The Spartans will host Denison University (13-4-2, 1-0 NCAA) in second round action this Saturday at Case Field at 6:00 p.m. Cost of entrance is $6.00 for general admission, $3.00 for students and seniors and $2.00 for children ages 3-12. Children under the age of two are free.
Posted by: Heidi Cool, November 9, 2006 09:58 AM | News Topics: HeadlinesMain
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