By Pete Scantlebury, NAIA Manager of Athletic Communications
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – [Qualifer Reveal | Full Bracket] The 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
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-seedafter 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-seedin 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,
RioGrande 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