3. PREVIEW: Coaching legends battle in D3 men's semis
The NCAA Division III men's and women's final fours will both be played
weekend at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista,
Fla. In Friday's men's semifinals, Ohio Wesleyan will face Wheaton
(Ill.) at 5 p.m. ET, to be followed by defending
champion Messiah against New York University. The winners will play in
the championship game at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Here's a look at
the four semifinalists:
WHEATON (ILL.) (15-7-4).
Retiring Joe Bean looks to go
out with his third NCAA Division III championship. Bean, who has an
NCAA men's record 604 wins, led the Thunder to titles in 1984 and 1999.
Wheaton has won seven in a row before needing a shootout
to down York in the sectional final. Steve
Rigby (12 goals) Joel DeLass
(10) and Strider Elass (10)
give Wheaton one of the most versatile attacks in the D3 ranks.
OHIO WESLEYAN (15-0-6). The
Bishops, who are making their eighth appearance in the D3 final four,
have given up only one goal in four games in the NCAA Tournament and
only six in 21 games this season. Senior Craig Neal and freshman Jordan Halloran scored to give Ohio
Wesleyan a 2-0 win over Dominican (Ill.) in the sectional final. With
515 wins in 30 seasons, Ohio Wesleyan's Jay Martin could one day overtake
Wheaton's Bean as the winningest men's coach in NCAA history.
MESSIAH (19-1-2). The
Falcons look to become the first team since UNC
Greensboro (1985-87) to win three straight NCAA Division III men's
titles and tie UNCG with a fifth D3 championship. Messiah had two close
calls in section play last weekend. Winger
Andre Burckhart scored with
less than eight minutes left to
give Messiah a 2-1 victory over Johns Hopkins after it beat host
Williams on penalty kicks in the third round. In the previous round,
Messiah defeated Arcadia, 3-0, to give Coach Dave Brandt his 200th victory in
only his 10th season. No men's coach has reached his 200th victory
faster at the NCAA level. Brandt's overall record of 201-21-11 gives
him the highest winning percentage of any NCAA men's coach.
NEW YORK U. (15-3-4). The
Violets are this year's surprise, making
their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1972 and their first ever
at the D3 level. An early second-half goal from Robert
Keller gave NYU a 1-0 win over Nazareth in Sunday's
quarterfinals. Goalkeeper Chris Wright,
who made four saves against Nazareth to record his 11th shutout of the
season, was Saturday's hero against Stevens Institute. He stopped
Stevens' fourth shootout attempt, then turned around and converted the
next shot himself to give NYU the win.
(Tomorrow: NCAA Division III
women's final four preview.)
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