By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — (Bracket | Schedule | Press Book) Sixteen teams remain in the 55th Annual NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship in Montgomery, Ala. Final-site action kicks off at the Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex Monday with No. 4 Ashford (Iowa) and No. 13 Baker (Kan.) at 11 a.m. CST.
No. 1 seed Grand View (Iowa) headlines the field, boasting an NAIA-best 19 wins, along with No. 7 seed Hastings (Neb.). The Vikings, who qualified for the national championship by winning the Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament, advanced to the final site with a 4-3 Opening Round win over Bellevue (Neb.). Grand View is making its ninth national championship appearance and its fourth-straight. In the second round, the Vikings draw Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Champion and No. 16 seed Martin Methodist (Tenn.).
No. 2 seed Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) is appearing in its 21st national championship—second-most all-time behind former-member Simon Fraser (B.C.) with 23—including its current streak of 20-straight. The Blue Raiders, who boast an NAIA-record 49 national championship victories, will vie for their 50th when they face off against Indiana Wesleyan, the lone unseeded team to advance to the final site, on Monday at 4 p.m. CST.
Indiana Wesleyan is competing in its first-ever national championship and earned its first national championship victory by vanquishing Davenport (Mich.), 5-0, in the Opening Round. No. 3 seed Oklahoma Wesleyan and No. 10 seed Missouri Valley also earned their first national championship victories to advance to the final site.
Defending national champion and No. 8 seed Belhaven (Miss.) advanced to the final site with a 1-0 victory over St. Thomas (Texas) in the Opening Round. The Blazers are trying to become the first team to win back-to-back national championships since Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), which won four-straight from 1998 through 2001. Belhaven will face off against No. 9 seed MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) in the second round at 1:30 p.m. CST on Tuesday.
Twelve of the 16 final-site teams are competing in back-to-back national championships, with eight returning to the final site in Montgomery, Ala., for the second-straight year—Ashford, Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), Belhaven, Concordia (Calif.), Hastings, Lindsey Wilson, MidAmerica Nazarene and Rio Grande (Ohio.).
All sixteen Opening Round host schools advanced to the final site for the first time since the initiation of the format in 2008. Thirteen host schools won their Opening Round games, with the other three advancing to the final site via penalty kicks. Of the sixteen Opening Round matches that took place on Nov. 23, seven required an overtime period, an NAIA Opening Round record.
Of the 16 remaining teams, four own national championship titles: Lindsey Wilson (9), Belhaven (2), Hastings (1) and Rio Grande (1). The other 12 teams will be vying for their first-ever National Championship.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all 15 matches of the 2013 Men’s Soccer National Championship in Montgomery, Ala. Don't miss any of the action that runs from Dec. 2 - 7. Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament pass is available for $29.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.