By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – (Bracket | Schedule | Press Book) Sixteen teams remain in the 30th annual NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship, presented by the Sports Medicine Center at the Orthopaedic Group, P.C., in Orange Beach, Ala. Action kicks off at the Orange Beach Sportsplex Monday with No. 3 Northwood (Fla.) and Cal State San Marcos at 11 a.m. CST.
Defending national champion and top seed Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) highlights the field. The Blue Raiders boast an NAIA-best 19 wins this season after knocking off Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament champion Asbury (Ky.), 6-0, in the Opening Round. With the win, Lindsey Wilson improved to 6-0-0 all-time in the Opening Round, since the format was established in 2008, and owns a 16-1 scoring advantage in those contests. The Blue Raiders have been the host institution in all six of those games. Lindsey Wilson is a qualifier-best 29-12-1 all-time in 15 trips to the national championship. The Blue Raiders open second round play on Monday at 6:30 p.m. CST against No. 16 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) in a rematch of last year’s championship.
Eight teams are back at the national championship final site after appearing in 2012 – Concordia (Ore.), Embry-Riddle (Fla.), Lindsey Wilson, Mobile (Ala.), Northwood, Olivet Nazarene, Robert Morris (Ill.) and Vanguard (Calif.).
Seventh seed Davenport (Mich.) and No. 8 Concordia (Calif.) earned their respective program’s first-ever win at the national championship to advance to the final site. Davenport – the only seeded team to not host an Opening Round match – downed St. Ambrose (Iowa), 4-2, while Concordia (Calif.) knocked off John Brown (Ark.), 2-0.
Additionally, Concordia (Calif.), who is led by recently named Golden State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Chris Gould, enters the event as the NAIA’s only remaining unbeaten team at 17-0-3. The Eagles are 8-0-2 against ranked teams this year, including victories against three squads that will be present in Orange Beach – Cal State San Marcos, Vanguard and Westmont (Calif.).
Since 2000, the top seed has won only two national titles. Martin Methodist (Tenn.) – the No. 15 seed in this year’s championship – was the last top seed to take home the red banner with a 1-0 victory over former-member Lee (Tenn.) in 2005. The No. 2 seed has been the most successful over the last 13 championships with five national titles, including Lindsey Wilson’s crown a season ago.
Robert Morris and Cal State San Marcos were the only unseeded teams to advance with Opening Round victories. Robert Morris was fueled by a two-goal effort from All-America forward Florence Dadson, including the match opener only 24 seconds into the contest, as the Eagles knocked off 11th-seeded Spring Arbor (Mich.), 3-1. Cal State San Marcos avenged its regular-season loss with a 1-0 triumph over No. 14 The Master’s (Calif.) on a Jennifer Hager goal in the 40th minute.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video streaming company, will be broadcasting all final site games of the 2013 Women’s Soccer National Championship, presented by the Sports Medicine Center at Orthopaedic Group, P.C., in Orange Beach, Ala. Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-championship pass is available for $29.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.