BOCA RATON, Fla. – Four of the top soccer teams in the nation will be descending on Lynn University as the institution is set to host the 2017 NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Third Round and Quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 17, and Sunday, Nov. 19. Joining the Fighting Knights on the pitch is fellow South Region member West Alabama as well as Southeast Region schools Lander and Young Harris.
Lander and Young Harris square-off on Friday with a 1 p.m. kick-off while the Blue and White battle West Alabama at 4 p.m. The winners of each contest will play on Sunday at 1 p.m. All three matches can be watched live on the Lynn Sports Network and fans can keep up with entire tournament at tournament central.
This will be the first time Lynn has hosted an NCAA Third Round and Quarterfinals match since 2005 when the Fighting Knights defeated Lander 8-0 en route to a NCAA DII National Semifinals appearance. Since then, Lynn has won national titles in 2012 and 2014 in addition to championships in 1987, 1991 and 2003.
Lynn reached the third round after defeating South Region top-seed Palm Beach Atlantic 2-1. The victory avenged a 1-0 last-minute loss to the Sailfish earlier in the season. Moving on, the Fighting Knights are familiar with its third round opponent, West Alabama, having defeated the Tigers 3-0 on the road on Sept. 10. Both teams are in different places now with Lynn now missing All-American forward Jack Watson, and West Alabama having rallied off a 14-1-1 mark since that loss.
UWA (16-2-1), the No. 2 seed in the South Region, had eight members of its squad garner All-Gulf South Conference accolades, including Coach of the Year recognition for Matthew Thorne, en route to winning its fourth consecutive GSC title. Lynn, conversely, had three First Team All-Sunshine State Conference selections, Alexander Roth, Niklas Tasky and Alun Webb. The Tigers defeated Tampa resoundingly, 5-1, in the second round to move on to face Lynn.
Young Harris (13-3-2) earned the No. 4 seed in the Southeast and beat No. 5 seed Lenoir-Rhyne 2-0 and top-seeded Limestone 2-0 to earn the right to play its long-time rival and third-seeded Lander. The Mountain Lions tied the Bearcats 1-1 in a meeting on Oct. 14. Young Harris last faced-off against Lynn in 2014 when the Fighting Knights rallied from a 1-0 deficit to beat the Mountain Lions 4-1.
Lander (13-3-2) is the No. 3 seed in the Southeast and defeated No. 6 Lincoln Memorial 1-0 before upsetting the defending national champions, and No. 2 seed, Wingate 5-4 in penalty kicks. The Bearcats are making their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance while this is the furthest they have advanced since 2009.