For the eighth time in North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) history, the Ohio Wesleyan men’s soccer team stands as the league’s tournament champion.
The NCAC has held a conference tournament for only the past 11 years.
The Bishops are now making their record 33rd appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Division III tournament and will travel to York, Pennsylvania, to play Catholic (Washington, D.C.) on Saturday. York College will play NCAC member Kenyon that same day, and the winners will face off on Sunday.
Technically, OWU and Kenyon could face off for the second time this season. OWU was victorious at this year’s match, 4-1.
Head coach Jay Martin says his recipe for victory is for his players to be successful—something he points out is different from winning.
“They take pride in success and working hard,” he said.
The Catholic Cardinals are back-to-back conference champions in the Landmark Conference, and Martin said they will be a tough team to beat.
“It is very hard to win a national championship, and teams are better every year,” he says. “They love to beat OWU and get really psyched to play.”
Last year, the Bishops lost in the first round of NCAA play to Transylvania (Kentucky). Five players caught H1N1 (swine flu) and could not play.
Dylan Stone ’12 says the depth of the team will help this year. Many players have experience in the national tournament from past years.
“We know how last year felt,” he says. “It’s not going to happen again.”
Raphi Fratkin ’12 says the team’s attitude has improved this year.
“We are confident we can beat them,” he said.
The winner of Sunday’s game will advance to the sectional semifinals (final 16 teams) to be held on the campus of one of the competing institutions.