Midwest News & Round up wk 7 – conference round ups

Midwest News & Roundup – Week 7

By BJ Pheasant

This week’s focus is on conference standings and potential NCAA Automatic Qualifiers, (AQ’s).

Welcome to the Midwest News & Review. I will highlight women’s NCAA D3 soccer games in the Midwest area (comprised of the Great Lakes, Central, and North Regions). National importance will be followed by regional importance and towards the end of the season conference considerations will crop up. Time is limited so I exercise judgement on notable games to report each week. My editors make me look good; thank you.

Week 7 Notes

The column format is a bit different this week and is by Region and by Conference instead of being tied directly to regional and national rankings and those receiving votes. I will also try and predict automatic qualification (AQ) for the national tournament and at-large bids.

Teams should have good strength of schedule (SOS), success against NCAA regionally ranked teams, double digit wins, and be above .500 in conference play to be considered for an at-large bid. View “Coming Wednesday: the rankings that matter” for a detailed discussion.

Only ten undefeated teams remain in the nation. Of those ten only five appear likely to make the NCAA tournament without winning their conference Automatic Qualifier.

NORTH REGION

Based on the strength of schedule (SOS) of the five conferences I am listing in this region it appears that only one team has a chance to make the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid. Winning the conference tournament and gaining the automatic qualifier (AQ) is vital for these conferences.

The top team listed in each conference is the favorite for the AQ.

American Rivers Conference (ARC)

Loras (12-2-0 / 5-0-0): The Duhawks have an 11 game winning streak after an early loss to No. 16 St. Thomas. They have two of the remaining teams in the top 4 still to play. October 17 versus Wartburg and October 23 against Central. The ARC regular season crown is theirs to win if they finish strong.

Wartburg (10-4-1 / 4-1-1): The Knights have top seeded Loras remaining on the schedule on October 17 and need help if they want the top seed. They do have the toughest strength of schedule (SOS) overall (still outside the top 50), but still need to win the ARC conference tournament to get into the NCAA tournament.

Dubuque (11-2-1 / 3-1-1): The Spartans don’t have any games left against the top 4 in conference. Need help to move up in the seedings.

Central (9-4-1 / 3-2-0): The Dutch game lost both games this week. The conference loss to Dubuque where shot stats were exactly even and Central had a 10-1 advantage on corners makes a conference tournament victory necessary to reach the NCAA tournament. They play Loras on October 23, but also need help to improve their seeding.

Midwest Conference (MWC)

Knox (9-4-2 / 5-1): The Prairie Fire are the only team more than a game above .500 overall in the conference. They are the defending champs and expect to win it. No at-large bid is likely from the conference even if Knox loses in the MWC tournament final.

Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC)

No. 16 St. Thomas (13-1-0 / 7-0-0): The Tommies close the season with three straight games against the next three teams in the MIAC rankings. The final game is on October 27 against Bethel. Their SOS may survive a loss in the MIAC tournament, but it would be close.

Bethel (11-2-1 / 6-1-1): The Royals have worked their way up the standings and are well placed in the MIAC this season. They play No. 16 St. Thomas to end the regular season on October 27. They need to earn the conference AQ to get in to the NCAA tournament.

Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC)

St. Scholastica (8-4-2 / 7-0-1): The Saints are dominating the UMAC but have five games remaining in the final two weeks of the regular season because of a postponed game. They are also the only team above .500 overall in the conference.

Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC)

No. 23 UW-La Crosse (10-2-1 / 3-0-0): The Eagles won their only game of the week and currently have the 10th longest winning streak in the country at 10 games. Their challenging nonconference schedule gives them a top 20 SOS and the potential for an at-large if they stumble in the WIAC tournament. The Eagles are looking to finish the season strong and repeat as the WIAC AQ. They will not meet current #2 seed UW-Stevens Point till the WIAC tournament.

UW-Stevens Point (9-2-2 / 2-0-1): The Pointers need the AQ to get into the NCAA tournament. It is a down year for the WIAC and only two teams have an overall winning record.

GREAT LAKES REGION

Based on the strength of schedule (SOS) of the five conferences I am listing in this region it appears that only one team has a chance to make the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid. Winning the conference tournament and gaining the automatic qualifier (AQ) is vital for these conferences.

The top team listed in each conference is the favorite for the AQ.

No. 24 Carnegie Mellon (7-5-1 / 0-4-0) is in the UAA which is listed in the Central Region this week.

Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC)

Penn State-Behrend (8-6-0 / 6-0-0): The Lions are seven-time consecutive defending AMCC champs. They play the Mounties on October 20 with a conference regular season title on the line.

Mount Aloysius Mounties (12-0-2 / 6-0-1): The Mounties are the only undefeated team left in the Great Lakes region and play Penn State-Behrend on October 20. Their first test of the season.

Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC)

Mount St. Joseph (11-1-3 / 4-0-1): The Lions have had an impressive improvement over the past four years. They made the HCAC finals last year and are looking to take the next step. They play Hanover on October 12, which may decide the #1 seed for the conference tournament. Strength of schedule (SOS) indicates they need to get the AQ to make the NCAA tournament.

Hanover (12-1-0 / 5-0-0): The Panthers have their program’s longest winning streak at 12 and are tied for the 4th longest win streak in the country. They have a young talented team, but the HCAC has had an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament only once in 2013.

Franklin (7-6-1 / 4-1-0): The Grizzlies won the HCAC for the first time in 2017 and toughened up the nonconference schedule. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out how they hoped and now they need to win the HCAC tournament to have a chance.

Transylvania (10-3-2 / 3-1-1): The Pioneers have Patrick Farmer as their interim head coach. He led D3 Ithaca to a NCAA runner up position in 1989 and back-to-back national championships in 1990 and 1991. He left Ithaca and started the Penn State Nittany Lions program (national semifinalists in 1999) and recently retired from Cornell in the Ivy League. His experienced presence has led a resurgence for the Pioneers as they look to make an impact in the HCAC. They have a test against Hanover on October 17.

North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC)

Denison (8-2-2 / 3-0-2): The Big Red have the best SOS in the NCAC, but still need to earn the AQ to get in. They play Wooster on October 20 in what should decide the seeding for the conference tournament.

Wooster (8-2-3 / 4-1): Coming off an upset loss leaves the Scotts needing to win the NCAC tournament to get in. There are only two teams in the conference with a winning record overall.

Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC)

Ohio Northern (11-2-0 / 5-0-0): The Polar Bears added two more victories to the tally this week and are tied for the fourth longest winning streak in the country. Their next games to watch are October 20 against Capital and October 24 versus Otterbein. Despite the addition of tougher nonconference opponents SOS indicates they need to win the OAC tournament to get an AQ and that the OAC is still a one-bid league, but getting stronger.

Otterbein (11-2 / 5-0): The Cardinals finish their regular season against Ohio Northern October 24 and Capital on October 27. They need to win the AQ to get into the NCAA tournament.

Capital (10-3-0 / 4-1-0: The Crusaders had a surprising upset loss and still have the two teams above them to play. October 20 versus Ohio Northern and October 27 against Otterbein.

Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PrAC)

Grove City (11-3 / 4-0): Consistently finishing in the PrAC tournament final the past six years the Wolverines are ready to win it and advance to the NCAA tournament. What changed? Thomas More is no longer in the conference so the crown is available and Grove City is the most consistent challenger. They have to win the AQ to make it into the NCAA tournament.

Westminster (Pa.) (12-3-0 / 5-0-0): The Titans have put together a solid year and are contenders. They play Grove City in the final regular season match up on October 27. The game will probably determine the conference regular season title.

CENTRAL REGION

Based on the strength of schedule (SOS) of the five conferences I am listing in this region it appears that potentially six teams have a chance to make the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid. Winning the conference tournament and gaining the automatic qualifier (AQ) is vital, but SOS for a number of teams is high.

The top team listed in each conference is the favorite for the AQ.

Still the one as in No. 1 Washington U. at 13-0-0. Only ten undefeated teams remain. Of those ten only five appear likely to make the NCAA tournament.

College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW)

No. 8 Wheaton (Ill.) (12-2-0 / 5-0-0): The Thunder roll. Big game out of conference game this week with national implications October 20 versus No. 1 Washington U. Wheaton will get an at-large if they don’t win the AQ from the CCIW tournament. Of special note, Saturday’s 2-1 victory over North Central was the 500th all-time win for the Wheaton women’s soccer program and for head coach Pete Felske. Felske is just the third Division III women’s soccer coach and only the sixth NCAA women’s soccer coach (at any Division) to achieve the 500-win milestone.

No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan (10-2-1 / 3-1-0): The Titans won their only game of the week as the UW-Whitewater game was cancelled. They play Augustana October 17 for conference seeding. An at-large bid is possible with their SOS if they don’t win the AQ. Need to win a first round conference tournament game to be sure.

Augustana (9-2-3 / 2-1-2): The Vikings struggled a bit over the last couple weeks and need to up their game. Realistically they will need to win the conference tournament and claim the AQ to make the NCAA tournament.

Elmhurst (9-2-1 / 4-1-0): The Bluejays have worked hard to get to this point, but SOS is weighing on them. Realistically they will need to win the conference tournament and claim the AQ to make the NCAA tournament.

Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA)

No. 11 Hope (10-1-2 / 4-0-1): The Flying Dutch won both games this week and look like a lock for the NCAA tournament as an at-large or, most likely, the MIAA AQ.

Calvin (7-4-2 / 2-2-1): The Knights got upset this week to drop their record to dangerous levels. Their SOS is top 25, but a team without double digit wins and below .500 in their conference is unlikely to get an at-large. They need to win out and make the conference tournament finals to have a chance at an at-large.

Adrian (7-5-2 / 4-1): The Bulldogs have a good SOS and four of the five teams they lost to are in the running to make the NCAA tournament (the other is an NAIA team). They have five games left including two nonconference opponents. They have a chance to boost their record, but realistically need to win the MIAA tournament and claim the AQ.

Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC)

Dominican (13-2-0 / 8-0-0): The Stars are tied for the second longest win streak in the country with a lucky 13 in a row. On October 24 they play Illinois Tech for the #1 seed in the NACC. This is a one bid league and they need to win the tournament and earn the AQ.

Illinois Tech (12-2-1 / 7-1-0): The Scarlet Hawks play No. 5 Chicago on October 18 in a true test. Overall SOS is low and they need to win the conference tournament to join the NCAA tournament.

St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC)

Webster (12-2-1 / 5-0-0): The Gorlocks play Fontbonne, the only other currently undefeated conference team in the final game of the season. The SLIAC is a one bid league and the conference tournament determines the AQ.

University Athletic Association (UAA)

No. 1 Washington U. (13-0-0 / 4-0-0): The Bears are tied for the third longest winning streak in the country. They have a challenging finish to the season over the next two weeks. They play No. 8 Wheaton on October 20 out of conference and then finish with the teams currently at #4, #3, and #2 in the UAA.

No. 5 Chicago (12-1-1 / 4-0-0): The Maroons cruised through the week. They play local opponent Illinois Tech on October 18 and finish the season with the teams currently at #3, #4, and #1 in the UAA.

No. 15 Brandeis (10-2-0 / 3-1-0): The Judges lost this week and have a couple of nonconference games before closing the season with #1, #2, and #3 in the current UAA standings.

No. 24 Carnegie Mellon (7-5-1 / 0-4-0): The Tartans have lost four in a row and will drop out of the rankings this week. An at-large bid seems tough to imagine without at least a .500 record in conference.

New York University (7-4-2 / 3-0-1): #1, #2, and #4 in the current UAA standings still to come. Realistically the UAA has three at-large bids. A result against two out of those three would probably lock up an at-large bid for the Violets. Otherwise they will be dependent on results from other teams.

Emory (9-4-1 / 1-2-1): The Eagles don’t have any bad losses, but being above .500 in conference is important. They played the top teams in the UAA first and could win out. This is probably necessary for an at-large.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 at 13:06 and is filed under other. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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