Men's soccer gets invite to 'The Dance', back to playoffs

(photo by Larry Newman)
(photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – For the second time in three years the Chapman University men's soccer team is in the NCAA tournament. The Panthers have been selected to participate in the NCAA Division III Championships and will face SCIAC champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday in Redlands. Game time has not yet been determined.

Chapman (11-4-3) was one of 19 Pool C (at-large) selections into the 61-team field. The University of Redlands will host the four-team first and second Rounds and will face NWC champion Pacific Lutheran University (Wash.) also on Saturday. The winners will play on Sunday for a chance to advance to the "Sweet 16".

The Panthers won their first five matches of the season to get off to their fastest start in 16 years and cooled down only slightly after that. One of those early victories came against No. 15-ranked Redlands in double-overtime. Chapman lost just two Division III matches all season, including one to No. 5-ranked Trinity University (Texas).

Leading the offensive charge for Chapman has been junior F Mauricio Alfonso who has a team-high 30 points with 12 goals and six assists in 15 games. He currently ranks 21st in Division III in scoring, averaging 2.07 points. He is also 27th in the nation in goal scoring with a 0.86 goals per game average. Sophomore F Nick Echeverry is second on the team with 11 points (four goals, three assists) to rank second on the team.

Senior GK Jimmy Adranly has been solid in goal for the Panthers, earning a 1.18 goals-against average and 58 saves in over 1,140 minutes. The veteran has a record of 10-3 this season including five shutouts.

Claremont (13-5-2) earned the playoff berth by winning the SCIAC tournament championship for the third straight year with a shootout win over Redlands on Saturday.

Although just 30 miles separates the two programs, Chapman and Claremont have not faced each other since 2005 with the Stags winning 2-1 in Claremont. The Stags are riding a seven-match unbeaten streak against the Panthers (6-0-1) dating back to 1999. That streak began with a 2-1 Claremont win in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 1999.

This will be the ninth NCAA postseason appearance overall for the Panthers and sixth as a member of Division III. Chapman last reached the tournament in 2009, losing to Whitworth University (Wash.) in the first round. The Panthers reached the Division III Final Four in 1995 and placed third that year.

by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director

NCAA Tournament Bracket:

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