BELLINGHAM, WA— (Western release) The Western Washington University men’s soccer team has been awarded a berth into the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Championship tournament for the first time in program history and will travel to UC San Diego to face Dixie State in the first round on Friday at noon.
The winner of Friday’s game between Western Washington and Dixie State will advance to face host UC San Diego on Sunday at noon. Both games hosted by UC San Diego will be played at Triton Soccer Stadium in La Jolla, Calif.
The Vikings (9-4-4, 6-3-3 GNAC) closed the conference schedule 5-0-1 over their last six games, finishing in a tie with Northwest Nazarene for second in the final Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings behind Simon Fraser. Western Washington outscored opponents 14-2 during its strong finish to the regular season and has won its last five games, four of which have been shutouts.
|NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Tournament
1st and 2nd Rounds // La Jolla, CA // Triton Soccer Stadium
|Friday, November 11|
|No. 6 Western Washington vs. No. 3 Dixie State (12 pm)|
|Sunday, November 13|
|No. 2 UC San Diego vs. winner of Western Washington vs. Dixie State (12 pm)|
|NCAA DII Tournament Bracket: Interactive|
“I’m really happy and excited for the boys on the team and the alums that have been a part of the program through the years,” fourth-year head coach Greg Brisbon said. “Even though they (alums) are not currently here, they’re a big part of this moment.”
The NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Championship tournament consists of 38 teams from 8 regions in a single-elimination tournament. The field is composed of 6 teams apiece from the East, Midwest, Southeast and West regions along with 4 teams each from the Atlantic, South and South Central regions as well as 2 teams from the Central Region. Teams are paired within their respective regions for the first and second rounds.
“I can’t be more excited, it’s the ultimate goal for us,” Brisbon said. “We’re not happy just to get in, either. We’re going to do our best to win this thing because it’s our second season, everyone is at 0-0-0, so we’re going to go for it.”
The other teams in the West Region selected to the tournament are top-seeded Simon Fraser, fourth-seeded Sonoma State and fifth-seeded Cal Poly Pomona. As the top seed, Simon Fraser is the host school for the other half of the West Region bracket pod but will host the first and second round games at Seattle Pacific University. Sonoma State and Cal Poly Pomona square off Thursday at 1 pm with the winner advancing to face Simon Fraser on Saturday at 1 pm.
Western Washington is led offensively by junior forward Anthony Dean (Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Bellevue College) with 8 goals and 5 assists. Senior midfielder Eleazar Galvan (Chelan, WA/Skagit Valley College) has scored 4 goals and added 6 assists to help lead the offense.
Defensively, the Vikings tied for the conference lead with 8 shutouts during the regular season. Junior goalkeeperTyler Visten (Mount Vernon, WA/Skagit Valley College) has posted a goals-against average of .84 for the Vikings.
The third round and quarterfinal round for the West Region teams will be hosted by the highest remaining seed from the West Region after the opening weekend. The advancing West Region teams will be joined by the advancing teams from the South Central Region.
The NCAA Division II semifinals and final will be played Dec.1-3 at Swope Park in Kansas City, Missouri.