Set for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2014 after receiving an at-large bid on Tuesday, the Emory University Men's Soccer team travels to Lynchburg, VA this weekend for the opening rounds of the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship.
The Eagles will square off against another at-large selection, Dickinson College, in the first round on Saturday, beginning at approximately 4:30 PM. Lynchburg College, the host institution for the first and second rounds, will face Penn State-Abington in the other opening round match on Saturday at 2:00 PM. The two winners will play each other at 4:00 PM on Sunday for a spot in the Round of 16 next weekend.
The start times for this weekend were adjusted from the original times that were released on Tuesday following a recommendation from the NCAA men's soccer committee. All games will be played on Shellenberger Field.
Emory University Eagles (12-5-1, At-Large Selection)
The Eagles defeated the University of Rochester, 3-2, in overtime to finish the regular season at 12-5-1, the most wins in a season since 2014. The Eagles feature a scoring offense that averages 2.28 goals per game, the 73rd best mark in DIII, and are led by four players with double-digit points. Senior Jason McCartney, junior Moustafa Khattab and sophomore Keegan McCombie are all in the midst of career-best years with 25, 18 and 11 points, respectively. Senior Christian Meyer checks in with 10 points and was just named the UAA Athlete of the Week after scoring the golden goal in the win on Saturday over the Yellowjackets.
On defense, the Eagles rank 78th in the nation with a 0.97 goals-against average to go along with eight shutouts. Seniors Cody Gardiner, Georges Daoud and Adam Ferguson have all started 17 games for the Eagles with junior Tyler Santee making 18 starts on the year. Fellow junior Aidan Datené has made 16 appearances on the Emory backline and leads all defenders with three goals and two assists for eight points. Freshman Cole Gallagher is 8-4-1 in 13 starts at goalkeeper, posting a 0.91 GAA and a .769 save percentage.
Cory Greiner is making his first career appearance in the NCAA tournament as a head coach after taking over the reins of the program on an interim basis prior to the start of the season. Greiner is assisted by Clayton Schmitt, Dan Klinect and Felipe Quintero.
Greiner Previews Upcoming NCAA Opening Round Weekend
Dickinson College Red Devils (11-6-3, At-Large Selection)
The Red Devils received an at-large selection to the tournament after they reached the championship match of the Centennial Conference Tournament, falling to Franklin & Marshall in the title game, 1-0. Sophomore Kevin Gilbert and senior Matt Edmonds headline the Dickinson offensive attack, combining for 54 points. Gilbert paces the offense with 13 goals and five points for 31 points with Edmonds tallying eight goals and a team-leading seven assists.
Dickinson has recorded a 1.30 GAA through 20 contests, allowing 27 goals on the season. Sophomore Frederick Meagher and freshman John Baney have shared goalkeeper duties for the Red Devils. Meagher has made 11 starts, going 5-3-2 with a 1.25 GAA and .763 save percentage whereas Baney has started nine games to post a 6-3-1 record with a 1.46 GAA and .711 save percentage.
The Red Devils are led by Brian Redding who is in his 14th season at the helm. Redding will be making his eighth NCAA tournament appearance since taking over control at Dickinson in 2004. During his 14-year stint with the Red Devils, Redding has compiled a 161-78-31 record. He is assisted by Steve Grove and Seth Stover.
Saturday marks the first-ever meeting between Emory and Dickinson.
Lynchburg College Hornets (17-1-2; ODAC Champions)
The Hornets, champions of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, are currently riding a 15-match unbeaten streak as they make their 16th trip to the NCAA tournament. Lynchburg dispatched Washington & Lee, 2-1, in the title match to win the ODAC crown on Sunday. Seniors Fredy Flores and Jon Mackey highlight five Hornets in double figures on the season with Flores leading the team with nine goals and 21 points. Mackey has found the back of the net on seven different occasions to go along with three assists for 17 points. Freshman Abibi Osman has dished out a team-best five assists.
Lynchburg owns one of the stingiest defensive units in the country, surrendering just nine goals across 20 games and ranking seventh in Division III with a 0.44 GAA. Juniors Austin Kues, Ryan Pikunas and Clay Van Gieson have all appeared in at least 19 games on the backline as has freshman Bhayle Kearns who is one of four Hornets to start in all 20 games this season. Junior goalkeeper Dylan McLaurin has stopped 59 out of 68 chances for the Hornets, compiling a 17-1-2 record in 20 games played (19 GS).
Chris Yeager is in his 16th season at Lynchburg and was named the 2010 National Coach of the Year after leading the Hornets to NCAA Runner-Up finish. He is assisted by Josh Hinkle, Brady Larkin and Scott Zaring.
Emory leads Lynchburg in the all-time series, 5-3, dating back to 1985. The Hornets have claimed the last two meetings including a 2-1 victory in their only head-to-head matchup in the NCAA tournament in 2010.
Penn State – Abington (15-6-0, NEAC Champions)
The Nittany Lions topped SUNY-Poly 1-0 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference Championship on Sunday to secure the first-ever conference crown and NCAA tournament berth in the history of the program. PSU-Abington outscored opponents 5-0 across three games to win the NEAC and are in the midst of a season-high 11-match win streak. Jose Palomeque leads a quartet of Nittany Lions in double figures, totaling a team-leading 16 points on six goals and four assists. Hernando Villamil, the hero in the NEAC title game, has tallied five goals and four assists for 14 points. Defensively, PSU-Abington has registered a 1.09 goals-against average with goalkeeper Ty Morris compiling a 12-3 record in 17 games (15 GS) and recorded three of his five shutouts in the team's NEAC tournament run.
The Nittany Lions are under the leadership of David Castellanos who is in his 10th season on the sidelines, posting an overall record of 95-64-12. He is joined on the staff by Brad Milone, Reynaldo Castellanos, Ricky Domico and Richard Walker.
If the Eagles and Nittany Lions both were to advance, it would be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.