Things are winding down for the College soccer season — and a number of teams from Western Pennsylvania made their way into National tournaments in the past few weeks, with a lot of players from the Pittsburgh area making their mark.
Just south of us, we’ll be paying close attention to number one ranked West Virginia women’s team as they continue on their quest to get to the Women’s version of the College Cup to be played in San Jose, California in early December. WVU won both games played in Morgantown this weekend (2nd rd win over Ohio State in OT on Friday, then a Sweet 16 victory on Sunday over UCLA advancing on penalty kick shootout after the teams played to 1-1 tie after 110 minutes).
There were a number of other local/area teams that advanced into Division I, II, III and NAIA national tournaments. Here’s how the teams (and some local players) fared in the postseason:
NCAA DIVISION I – Women
The defending NCAA champions opened up play in the National Tournament with a 6-0 beating of Bucknell, as former Greensburg Central Catholic star Frannie Crouse scored a goal and had two assists. The Nittany Lions weren’t as fortunate in the second round, as they were dethroned by Virginia, 3-0.
Crouse, finished up her junior season with a team-leading 12 goals and three assists. Upper St. Clair’s Emma Hasco, made 17 appearances in her freshman season, accounting for one assist.
St. Francis (Loretto)
With a roster filled with many players from Western PA, the Red Flash won the NEC Women’s tournament — advancing to the NCAA Tournament. In the first round, the Red Flash had to face a strong Georgetown team, losing 2-0 on Sunday.
NCAA Division II – Men
Mercyhurst (15-4-1) were the lone Western PA representative — as winners of the Pennsylvania Sports Athletic Conference (PSAC), as the Lakers lost in the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament to Urbana (OH), 2-0. The Lakers didn’t have any WPIAL players on its roster this year.
NCAA Division II – Women
Out of the PSAC on the women’s side, Edinboro had a strong season, making an NCAA Division II tournament appearance, losing in the first-round to Charleston (WV), 3-1.
Head coach Gary Kagiavas‘ team finished up one of the best seasons in school history. Despite a short roster and injuries to several key players, the Fighting Scots posted their best record since 2012, and earned the number-three seed for the PSAC Tournament. They made their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last six years and received their highest-ever national ranking by the NSCAA at number 11 earlier this year. Their previous highest ranking was a number 12 selection in 2012
Former Central Valley standout Ashley Mutkus continues to excel for the Fighting Scots, earning All-Region honors with a team high 10 goals and four assists in her junior season. She now has 23 goals in her collegiate career. Other notable former WPIAL players that have been regulars in the Fighting Scots line-up include Junior Coleen Brodman (Hampton – 3 g, 2 a), Hallie Hammer (Bethel Park -1 g, 2 a), Katie Felitsky (Hampton – 1 a) and Abby Gillespie (Canon-Mac – 1 g, 1 a).
NCAA Division III – Men
It was an outstanding season for a number of local programs at the NCAA Division III level, particularly Carnegie Mellon who entered the NCAA Tournament nationally-ranked (18th), and hosted a pair of home playoff games on its Oakland campus.
The Tartans advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the fourth time since 2012 and sixth time in program history after 2-1 come-from-behind win over Ohio Wesleyan. In the second round, the Tartans fell to 16th ranked Calvin 1-0.
Senior Andreas Fatschel (Seven Fields, Pa./Seneca Valley) was named to the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-America Division III Men’s Soccer Team selected by College Sports Information Directors of America as the Academic All-America of the Year honoree.
A three-year starter at center back for the Tartans, Fatschel helped lead the Tartans to a 13-4-2 record. The two-time team captain’s lone goal this season went down as the game winner against Westminster College on September 16.
Geneva men’s soccer program claimed its first-ever Presidents’ Athletic Conference Champion title with a dramatic 2-1 overtime win over the Thomas More College Saints.
The Golden Tornadoes (16-3-1) ran a winning streak of 14 games this season all the way into the NCAA Division III tournament, where they lost to nationally ranked Franklin & Marshall Diplomats (12-3-4) in F&M seventh tournament appearance.
The Lions — another team made up heavily of players from the Pittsburgh-area, won the AMCC again this season – advancing to the NCAA Tournament yet again as they rode an NCAA Division III high 18 game winning streak. However, in the first-round, they lost to Scranton, 1-0, on a goal in the late stages of the game.
Leading the Lions attack this year was former Seneca Valley standout Anthony Crivelli, who scored 12 goals and had five assists in his senior season.
NCAA Division III – Women
Much like the CMU men, the nationally ranked (ended regular season ranked 17) Tartans women’s soccer team managed to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament this year, only to lose in the first round to Penn State-Berks, 3-1, on Nov. 12.
It was the 5th straight NCAA Tournament appearance for CMU, as they finished the season 13-6-1. A pair of former WPIAL players of note on the Lady Tartans roster included two underclassman, Keely Jelinek (Chartiers Valley – 1 g, 2 a) started eight games and Vayda Farino (Southmoreland).
Much like the men’s team at PSU-Behrend, the Lions women’s soccer teams features a host of top former WPIAL players who led them to another AMCC title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Lions were defeated by PAC Champs and 4th-ranked Thomas More in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 3-1, despite getting an early goals from Olivia Belack.
Junior midfielder Belack (Upper St. Clair, PA/Upper St. Clair) and junior defender Rachel Weyand (Butler, PA/Butler) were named Offensive and Defensive Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Players of the Year, respectively.
Belack and Weyand were also selected to the All-AMCC first team along with senior forward Alex Bilka (Cranberry Township, PA/Seneca Valley), junior forward Jordan Oberlander (Waterford, PA/Fort LeBoeuf) and junior defender Gionna Fonseca (Murrysville, PA/Franklin Regional). Sophomore midfielder Catherine Eichenlaub (Wexford, PA/Pine-Richland) and sophomore defender Caitlin Caldwell (Belle Vernon, PA/Belle Vernon) were selected to the All-Conference third team.
Belack earned Player of the Year honors and was named to the All-AMCC first team after leading the Lions and the AMCC with 20 goals and 12 assists. She registered two points or more in 14 of the 20 games she started to set a new single-season record for points. Belack also set the single-season record for most assists in a season (12) and needs two more goals to break that single-season record set at 21. She is currently ranked eighth in the NCAA Division III statistics for total points and is 16th in total goals and assists. Belack is averaging 2.60 points per game and has registered three-game winning goals.
Point Park Women
Point Park’s women’s team won back-to-back conference titles for the first time ever, after defeating Cincinnati Christian 2-01 in the conference final.
The Pioneers advanced to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, and for the second straight season, fell to highly-ranked Lindsey Wilson University (KY), 3-0.
Point Park (10-7-2, 6-2 RSC) scored two goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation to claim the RSC Tournament Champion title and secure a bid to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round Nov. 19 for the second year in a row.
Among top players named to All-Conference team this year for the Pioneers included Freshman midfielder Gabby Widman earned second team honors for her role in Point Park’s solid defense. Widman (Brashear) had one goal and one assist in 18 games.