NAIA National Tournament Preview: William Carey University
The number one ranked William Carey University suffered a shock last night, going down 5-1 in the Southern States Conference Championship match, against #8 University of Mobile. They had previously knocked off UM just two weeks ago in a 2-0 contest. Played at a neutral venue, WCU outshot their opponents 16-9 and took a further 7 corners (9-2) which could point towards this being a “one-off” game. You’d be right for thinking this, as in their previous seventeen (17) contests, Carey have won all seventeen, scoring fifty-eight goals (58), and shipping just ten (10). This includes performances against Top 25 opponents, UM, Dalton State, Bethel (RV) & Louisiana State University Alexandria (RV). Nothing should be taken away from UM, who showed their clinical nature and rose to the challenge of knocking off the country’s number NAIA program.
Looking forward the Crusaders will be looking to brush off this performance quickly as they find out who they will face in the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round, with it confirmed they will receive an At-Large bid due to their #1 ranking. This ranking was confirmed late last night as the Modified Ratings Percentage Index (MRPI) was released, having William Carey in the number one spot. Carey will host an opponent (to be determined Nov 13th) in the opening round, looking to punch their ticket to the final site (last 16) at Seacrest Soccer Complex in Delray Beach, Florida.
Being the top-ranked side for what now feels like the entire campaign, WCU will be keen to blow out the next team they face to show everyone in the NAIA they must be feared. Ultimately a win is all that matters and we’ll be sure to bring you coverage of their opening round match from Crusader Field, in Hattiesburg, MS, to be played next Saturday, 18th Nov.
Since returning from his foot injury, SSU's very own
Paul Bracken has been pivotal to the success of WCU, and will be looking to push his Crusader teammates on as they try to top their Elite 8 appearance just 12 months ago. With their number one ranking cementing their place at the summit of NAIA soccer, WCU will feel they have the tools and arsenal to go all the way and lift the prestigious NAIA National Championship crown on December 2nd. You can stay up to date on all the action by following us on Twitter. We’ll have links to watch the games live and keep you updated with regular updates.
Everyone at SSU would like to congratulate coach Whelan and his troops on a great SSAC Championship win and also wish the #1 William Carey Crusaders the best of luck as they embark on their NAIA National Championship assault. #GoCrusaders