Stars to face Rose-Hulman in opening round of NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament
Courtesy of Dominican University, Sports Information Department
RIVER FOREST, Ill. -- The NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Selection Committee released the brackets for the 2008 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer National Championships on Monday morning and the Dominican University Stars are now set to face the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Engineers in the opening round on Friday in Dubuque, Iowa, on the campus of Loras College.
The Stars (18-2-1, 11-0-0 NAC) earned the school's first-ever automatic bid, and seventh consecutive trip to the national tournament with a 4-0 win over Aurora University in the Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) Tournament on Saturday. The win was Dominican's fourth-straight victory and improving their unbeaten streak to 17 games since starting the season 2-2-0 after suffering back-to-back 1-0 losses to Wheaton College and North Park University.
Dominican boasts the nation's second-leading offense behind North Carolina Wesleyan, averaging 4.43 goals per game. The Stars' high-powered offense features five players with at least ten goals, including the team's leading scorer Matt Kochanowski (Arlington Heights, IL) who has 17 goals and nine assists this season despite missing five games early in the season. Kochanowski was a 2007 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Third Team All-American and is a two-time NAC Offensive Player of the Year award winner.
Along with Kochanowski, the Stars' offense features senior Plamen Pamukov (Addison, IL), who has 15 goals and sophomore Michael Kapusta (Bartlett, IL) with14 goals and 15 assists while freshmen Edwin Lagunas (Waukegan, IL) and Lionel Tovar (Cicero, IL) have 12 goals and ten goals respectively.
Rose-Hulman (14-4-3, 7-0-1 HCAC) earned its spot in this year's national tournament as they won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) regular season and tournament championships, most recently upending Transylvania University 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.
The Engineers posted a 0.96 goals against average on the season with senior goalkeeper Isaac Heyveld ranking in the top fifty in the nation in goals against average, boasting a 0.66 goals against average with a 14-2-2 record with eight shutouts. On offense, Rose-Hulman is led by junior Rhys Evans who has ten goals and two assists on the season while appearing in 16 of the Engineers 21 games.
The matchup is the first-ever meeting between the two schools and Rose-Hulman's first appearance in the NCAA Division III National Tournament. Dominican is making their seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament and has an all-time record of 5-6-2 in NCAA postseason play.
The Dominican/Rose-Hulman matchup is part of a First- and Second-Round Regional Quad to be hosted by Loras College. The other matchup features Loras College and Greenville College. Times for Fridays matchups has yet to be announced with the winners facing off on Saturday. The Stars have met both Loras and Greenville one time each since joining the NCAA in the Fall of 2000. Earlier this season, the Stars handed Greenville a 4-0 loss while the Stars only meeting came in the 2005 NCAA Division III National Tournament with the Loras Duhawks emerging from that contest with a 1-0 win.