[NCAA DIVISION I MEN] Of the teams playing on the road in Thursday's first round of this year's NCAA Division I Men's Tournament, none will have to travel as far as Wofford, which opens at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday. The Terriers might as well be headed to the Orient. The South Carolina school has never traveled farther west than Kentucky in its 34 years as an NAIA, then Division II and now Division I program.
"I know the team was planning to have a trip out West in the next couple of years," Wofford senior Nick Schuermann told the Spartanburg Herald Journal. "We just bumped it up a little bit."
The plans were bumped up because the Terriers won the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament championships for the first time. They had been so bad that in the eight seasons before Coach Ralph Polson's arrival in 2008 they were 4-57-4 in conference play.
Wofford improved to 12-2-3, the best mark in school history as a NCAA Division I team, when it beat Elon, 2-1, Sunday before 1,014 home fans to win the So-Con title.
"These guys never cease to amaze me," said Polson. "We started practice exactly three months ago and our goals were to have a winning record, have a winning record in the conference because we knew that would get us into the tournament, and then we kept going. Let's win the regular season and host the tournament. Let's win the tournament and go to the NCAA's. We knew how big these goals were. They worked so hard to do everything that we have asked them to do."
Wilson Hood, with three goals and one assist in the two games, was named So-Con Tournament MVP.
Polson was named the Coach of the Year, while Schuermann and junior Kentrel Owens were picked to the all-conference first team.