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2018 NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship Qualifiers & Opening Round Schedule Announced

William Carey Top 25 Poll Generic

By Pete Scantlebury, NAIA Manager of Athletic Communications


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – [Qualifer Reveal | Full BracketThe National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has officially announced the teams and Opening Round pairings for the 2018 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship. The 31-team event will begin with 15 National Championship Opening Round presented by Select Soccer matches at campus sites on Nov. 17. Vanguard (Calif.) is the 31st team in the field and receives an NAIA Opening Round bye due to earning the host berth of the NAIA National Championship Final Site in Irvine, Calif.

The 15 NAIA Opening Round presented by Select Soccer winners will join Vanguard in Irvine for NAIA National Championship Final Site play, beginning on Nov. 26 with the quarterfinals. The 16-team single-elimination event runs from Nov. 26 – Dec. 1 at the Orange Country Great Park Soccer Stadium.

The 2018 Opening Round field includes 26 automatic qualifiers, four at-large selections and the one host berth. Automatic berths were given to teams that either won their respective conference tournament title, regular-season championship or finished runner-up during the regular season or at the conference tournament; the number of automatic qualifiers differ conference-to-conference based on conference size and postseason-eligible teams.

The at-large bids were determined by the Soccer National Selection Committee. For more information on the National Selection Committee, see Appendix B of the Soccer Coaches Manual.

The NAIA Network – the association’s official video-streaming home – will broadcast all 15 matches live at the 2018 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship final site in Irvine, Calif. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single-day passes can be purchased for $9.95; an all-tournament package is available for $29.95.

Fans can also purchase an All-Championship Pass for $99, which allows them to watch every NAIA Championship this academic year.


2018 NAIA Men’s Soccer Qualifier Highlights

  • No. 1-seed William Carey (Miss.) is making its 12th NAIA men’s soccer postseason appearance. The Crusaders were the top-ranked team for most of the regular season, until a late-season tie allowed Rio Grande (Ohio) to jump them. William Carey stands 17-0-1, the only blemish that tie, and earned the top-seed after being the second seed in the 2017 tournament. William Carey earned an automatic berth as the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament champion.
  • Oklahoma Wesleyan is the No. 2-seed a year after being the top-seed in the tournament. The Eagles went 18-3-0 in the ultra-competitive Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, earning an automatic bid as the conference-tournament runner-up to Kansas Wesleyan.
  • There were only four at-large berths in the 2018 field, and those were taken by Corban (Ore.), Baker (Kan.), Bellevue (Neb.) and Spring Arbor (Mich.)
  • Overall, the Heart of America and the Cascade Collegiate Conference led the way with representatives; each conference sent three teams to the National Championship Opening Rounds.
  • A handful of upsets at the conference tournament level sent shockwaves through this field, making those four at-large berths even more competitive. Huntington (Ind.) won its first conference tournament as a sixth-seed, earning the Crossroads League’s automatic berth. This is the first time Huntington has reached the postseason since 1975.
  • In addition to Huntington, Missouri Baptist stormed through the America Midwest Conference tournament to emerge as champions; this is its first postseason appearance.
  • In total, seven of the 31 qualifiers are making their first NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round appearance: Huntington, Missouri Baptist, Lawrence Tech (Mich.), Reinhardt (Ga.), Arizona Christian, Morningside (Iowa), Central Methodist (Mo.) and Mid-America Christian (Okla.).
  • On the flip-side, five teams are in double-figures for postseason appearances: Hastings (Neb.) with 14, Baker (Kan.) with 11, William Carey with 12, Rio Grande with 18 and, of course, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) with 25.
  • Lindsey Wilson (9), Hastings (2) and Rio Grande (2) are the lone 2018 qualifiers with prior national titles in men’s soccer.
  • Rio Grande remains the only team in NAIA postseason history to serve as an Opening Round host each year since the format began in 2008. This year the Red Storm will host Lawrence Tech in the Opening Round.


2018 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Qualifiers

School Conference Qualification Record Appearances Postseason Record Most Recent Titles
Columbia (Mo.) American Midwest Regular-season champ 13-5-1 8th 5-6-2 2017 0
Missouri Baptist American Midwest Conference tournament champ 14-4-3 1st 0-0-0 N/A 0
Reinhardt (Ga.) Appalachian Conference tournament champ 14-3-2 1st 0-0-0 N/A 0
UC-Merced (Calif.) Cal Pac Regular-season champ 13-4-2 2nd 0-1-0 2017 0
Marymount (Calif.) Cal Pac Conference tournament champ 13-4-3 5th 7-2-2 2017 0
Southern Oregon Cascade Regular-season champ 16-2-3 2nd 0-1-0 2017 0
Rocky Mountain (Mont.) Cascade Conference tournament champ 16-4-1 6th 0-5-2 2016 0
Corban (Ore.) Cascade At-large berth 14-3-1 5th 1-4-0 2016 0
Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) Chicagoland Regular-season champ 18-2-0 4th 1-2-1 2017 0
Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) Chicagoland Regular-season runner-up 15-4-0 7th 1-4-2 2017 0
Huntington (Ind.) Crossroads Conference tournament champ 11-7-3 2nd 1-2-0 1975 0
Vanguard (Calif.) GSAC Regular-season champ/Host berth 12-4-2 5th 5-4-1 2017 0
Arizona Christian GSAC Conference tournament champ 15-4-2 1st 0-0-0 N/A 0
Hastings (Neb.) GPAC Regular-season champ 17-2-0 14th 24-8-4 2017 2
Morningside (Iowa) GPAC Regular-season runner-up 13-6-1 1st 0-0-0 N/A 0
Central Methodist (Mo.) Heart of America Regular-season champ 17-2-2 1st 0-0-0 N/A 0
Missouri Valley Heart of America Conference tournament champ 14-3-3 8th 9-6-1 2017 0
Baker (Kan.) Heart of America At-large berth 15-5-0 11th 6-9-1 2017 0
Georgia Gwinnett Independent Conference tournament champ 11-5-1 5th 2-4-0 2017 0
Bellevue (Neb.) Independent At-large berth 17-1-2 6th 3-5-0 2015 0
Oklahoma Wesleyan KCAC Conference tournament runner-up 18-3-0 8th 7-3-4 2017 0
Kansas Wesleyan KCAC Regular-season champ 17-4-0 7th 0-6-0 2014 0
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) Mid-South Conference tournament champ 15-2-1 25th 52-14-6 2017 9
LSU-Alexandria (La.) Red River Conference tournament champ 17-3-0 2nd 0-1-0 2016 0
Rio Grande (Ohio) River States Conference tournament champ 18-0-0 18th 21-13-3 2017 2
Mid-America Christian Sooner Conference tournament champ 12-5-1 1st 0-0-0 N/A 0
Spring Arbor Crossroads At-large berth 16-4-1 6th 4-8-0 2016 0
William Carey (Miss.) Southern States Conference tournament champ 17-0-1 12th 12-13-4 2017 0
Southeastern (Fla.) The Sun Conference tournament champ 12-3-2 2nd 1-1-0 2015 0
Madonna (Mich.) WHAC Regular-season champ 16-4-0 5th 2-4-0 2017 0
Lawrence Tech (Mich.) WHAC Conference tournament champ 14-6-1 1st 0-0-0 N/A 0

2018 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round presented by Select Soccer Schedule

Saturday, Nov. 17

Match 1 – Reinhardt (Ga.) at No. 1 William Carey (Miss.)

Match 2 – Morningside (Iowa) at No. 2 Oklahoma Wesleyan

Match 3 – Huntington (Ind.) at No. 3 Central Methodist (Mo.)

Match 4 – Lawrence Tech (Mich.) at No. 4 Rio Grande (Ohio)

Match 5 – Missouri Baptist at No. 5 Missouri Valley

Match 6 – Rocky Mountain (Mont.) at No. 6 Hastings (Neb.)

Match 7 – Madonna (Mich.) at No. 7 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)

Match 8 – LSU-Alexandria at No. 8 Baker (Kan.)

Match 9 – No. 9 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) at Columbia (Mo.)

Match 10 – Marymount (Calif.) at No. 10 Bellevue (Neb.)

Match 11 -- No. 11 Vanguard (Calif.) receives the host berth and an opening-round bye

Match 12 – Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) at No. 12 Spring Arbor (Mich.)

Match 13 – UC-Merced at No. 13 Southern Oregon

Match 14 – Mid-America Christian (Okla.) at No. 14 Kansas Wesleyan

Match 15 – Arizona Christian at No. 15 Corban (Ore.)

Match 16 – No. 16 Georgia Gwinnett at Southeastern (Fla.)

For more information on the 2017 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round and final site, click here.

^ Record taken from school’s DakStats page
* Championship information includes 2017 event

Championship Information

NAIA Men's Soccer Championship
Sport Rules - Soccer (M)
Official Merchandise-Men's Soccer