NCAA Division III

Division III men’s soccer Final Four preview: Rutgers-Camden and Messiah in the mix

Messiah and Rutgers-Camden head down to San Antonio for the 2013 NCAA Division III semi-final and final matches. There is a potential that the Championship game could feature two local teams. However, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s preview both semi-final matches for both teams.

Messiah

The Falcons enter their 15th Final Four since 1986 and 11th appearance since 2000 when they take on Williams College. In the last match-up between the two teams, Messiah defeated the Ephs 2-1 in the 2009 Final Four.

During this year’s tournament run, Messiah has scored 18 goals with nine coming against Centenary. With a multi-faceted attack from players like Josh Wood, Mike Kovach, and Brian Ramirez among others, the high scoring comes as no surprise. Defensively, Messiah boasts a .58 GAA, which ranks 10th nationally.

This match takes place Friday, Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m. EST. The winner will advance to Saturday’s Championship game at 6:30 p.m. EST.

Messiah Athletics has a very detailed piece that includes all four teams’ Final Four runs. Examiner and D3soccer.com have previews as well.

Rutgers-Camden

Unlike Messiah, Rutgers enters uncharted territory with their first Final Four appearance, but are the only remaining undefeated team. While Rutgers’ players aren’t familiar with deep post-season runs, Rutgers head coach Tim Oswald has experience. This past summer Oswald led PDL side Ocean City Nor’Easters to the PDL Semifinals.

Rutgers takes on a high intensity Loras side that has reached four semifinal appearances with their last appearance being in 2012. In that game, Messiah defeated Loras 1-0 in overtime. Likewise, Loras has failed to score in their three previous Final Four appearances, and that could hold true this year as well.

Rutgers’ keeper Mike Randall is 12th nationally in save percentage (0.877), 21st in goals against average (0.654), and 35th in total saves (114).

Offensively, Mike Ryan is sixth in total goals (21) and eighth in total points (46). Additionally, Mitch Grotti’s seven goals and 10 assists on the season lead four other double digit point scorers.

On Friday, Rutgers takes on Loras College 6:00 p.m. EST. This match should be a fast-paced, possession oriented games. Between Rutgers’ expected nervousness and Loras inability to score come Final Four time, this game has overtime written all over it.

D3Soccer.com and Examiner preview this semi-final match.

How to follow along

For those interested in watching this weekend’s matches, NCAA.com is streaming them free. Additionally, you can follow me on Twitter @Falconnation512 for updates and analysis from San Antonio. After matches involving Rutgers or Messiah conclude, look for post-game thoughts and quotes.

As always, feel free to post your comments, concerns, or questions below.

2 Comments

  1. Enjoy!!

  2. Pingback: Pfeffer on time in Germany, MLS Cup final notes, World Cup draw news, Mandela’s passing, more

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