KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Nov 11, 2016) – On Saturday, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy men's soccer team will take on #13 Haverford College in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament down in Haverford, Pa. Kickoff between the Mariners and the host Fords is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Haverford's Walton Field.
How They Got Here
The Mariners earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Skyline Conference Championship last weekend. After earning the top-seed in the tournament with a 10-1 regular season record in Skyline play, the Mariners defeated #6-seeded Sage, 1-0 in overtime, in the title game at Brooks Stadium last Saturday. USMMA boasts a 13-4-2 overall record under head coach Michael Smolens and the Mariners are currently riding a nine-game winning streak. This is the Mariners' sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament under Smolens and first since 2011. They have reached as high as the Elite Eight back in 2010.
Haverford ranks 13th in the nation in the latest NSCAA Coaches Poll. They also earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Centennial Conference Championship last weekend. The Fords were the top seed in the tourney after an 8-1 record in league action and defeated then-#8 in the nation Franklin & Marshall 2-1 to win the Centennial last Sunday. Overall, Haverford has produced a 13-3-3 record under sixth-year head coach Shane Rineer. This is Haverford's sixth appearance all-time in program history. The Fords have advanced past their first round game in three of their five trips to the NCAA Tournament, with a program-best Elite Eight appearance in last year's tournament.
2016 Common Opponents
These two teams have never met before on the pitch. In looking at the schedules of Haverford and USMMA this season, the two squads have three opponents in common – Stevens, Johns Hopkins and Rutgers-Camden.
The Mariners lost to Stevens at home, 2-1 in double overtime, back on Sept. 21, while the Fords played the Ducks to a scoreless draw after 110 minutes at Stevens on Sept. 14. Haverford defeated Centennial Conference rival Johns Hopkins, 3-2, at home on Sept. 17, while Merchant Marine lost to the Blue Jays, 1-0, down in Baltimore on Sept. 4. Lastly, the Fords lost to Rutgers-Camden, 1-0, at home on Oct. 5, while the Mariners defeated the Scarlet Raptors, 1-0, on the road on Oct. 9.
Players To Watch
For Merchant Marine, senior Gavin Yingling (Salisbury, Md.) has notched 20 goals (eighth in the nation) and 42 points (12th in the nation), while his seven game-winning goals ranks fourth in the country. Last week, Yingling was selected as the Skyline Conference Offensive Player of the Year as well as to the league's First Team. Junior Jon Tarbox (Gettysburg, Pa.) ranks sixth in the nation with 13 assists, while his 25 points is second on the team.
The Mariners had two midfielders named the All-Skyline Teams, as junior Hannes Rogers (Weinheim, Germany) made the First Team and senior David Burkhardt (Cutchogue, N.Y.) earned Second Team accolades. The duo is also third and fourth on the team in points with Rogers boasting 12 points (4G-4A) and Burkhardt with nine (1G-7A).
The Mariner defense, led by All-Skyline Second Teamer senior Cory Maier (Hampton, Va.) in goal First Teamer junior Brian Nickel (North Canton, Ohio) and Second Teamer sophomore Neil Painter (New Cumberland, Pa.) on the back line, has helped lead the squad to nine shutouts this season. Maier has recorded the decision in all 19 games thus far, with five solo shutouts (and four combined), and a Skyline-best 0.947 goals against average to go along with a .779 save percentage with 60 saves.
Head Coach Michael Smolens was also named the Skyline Coach of the Year along with his coaching staff of Associate Head Coach John Fitzgerald and Assistant Geoff Cochrane.
Haverford had a total of eight players honored by the Centennial Conference in the postseason awards, with freshman forward Nick Jannelli being named the Centennial Rookie of the Year and Head Coach Shane Rineer voted as the Centennial Coach of the Year.
Junior midfielder Dorian Wirz and senior defender Maclyn Willigan earned First Team Honors. Wirz is tied for the team lead with four assists, while Willigan has started all 19 games this season for the Fords' defense that has seven shutouts and he also assisted on two goals.
Along with being named the Rookie of the Year, Jannelli was selected to the All-Centennial Second Team along with junior forward Ben Field, junior midfielder Russell Nicholson and senior midfielder Will Corkery. Jannelli is leading the Ford with eight goals to go along with three assists for a team-high 19 points. Field is second on the team with 14 points (5G-4A).
A pair of seniors were named All-Centennial Honorable Mentions – forward Tejan Walcott and goalkeeper Sam Miller. Walcot's 10 points are third on the team as he has tallied four goals and two assists. Miller boasts a 7-3-1 record after starting 13 games for Haverford this season. His goals against average is 0.79, while his save percentage is .811 with 43 saves on the year. He has also been a part of six shutouts, four solo and two assisted.
Scouting Potential Second Round Opponents
UMass-Boston – The Beacons have scored 68 goals this season, the sixth-highest total in Division III. Leading the offense is a trio of goal scorers who have each reached double figures. Ocane Williamson leads the team with 17 goals. Mohammed Kenawy has 16 goals on the year while Daniel Morales has added 10 goals. Edmilson Barros has nine assists for UMass Boston.
UMass Boston is allowing just 0.68 goals per game, the 19th best mark in Division III this season. Omar Castro-Drener has started 13 of the team's 20 games, but each keeper has made at least one appearance in the starting XI. The Beacons have won three straight Little East Tournament Championships for the program's first three appearances in the NCAA Tournament. UMass Boston is still searching for its first win in an NCAA Tournament game.
Kean – Kean comes into the weekend with 61 goals to rank 10th among all teams in Division III. Sev Kherlopian leads the Cougars with 12 goals, while Kazari Trought, Kenny Rocha, and Michael Vargas have all found the back of the net eight times. Trought, the team's lone first-team All-NJAC performer, is leading the team with nine assists in addition to his eight goals.
Brad Watkins and Bryce Horn each have nine starts in goal, while Derek Phells has made two starts. Watkins has had the strongest statistical season of the trio with an 8-1 record to go with a 0.34 GAA. However, he has not played since the middle of September. Horn has started the last nine games for the Cougars. He is 5-3-1 as the goalie of record with a 1.61 GAA. Kean has combined for 10 shutouts on the season.
The Cougars advanced to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team despite missing out on the NJAC Tournament via a tiebreaker. Kean has the most NCAA experience of the teams involved in Haverford's pod with 19 appearances. However, the Cougars have also been away from the NCAA stage the longest as they are making their first appearance in the national tournament since 2010. Kean was the NCAA Division III Champion in 1990.
First Round (Saturday, November 12)
No. 13 Haverford (13-3-3) vs. Merchant Marine (13-4-2), 11 a.m.
No. 15 UMass Boston (17-1-2) vs. Kean (14-5-1), 1:30 p.m.
Second Round (Sunday, November 13)
Game 1 winners vs. Game 2 winner, 1 p.m.
NCAA Required Ticket Prices:
General Admission: $6
Senior Citizens: $3
Children (ages 3-12): $2
Live stats and a live video feed of the NCAA First Round match-up on Saturday will be available. To access the live stats of the contest, click here. For the free live video feed, follow this link.
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NCAA First Round Preview: Mariners Take On #13 Haverford Saturday To Kick Off Tourney