PREVIEW: Women’s Soccer Set for NCAA Tournament Opening Weekend

11/9/2017 | Women’s Soccer
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KUTZTOWN, Pa. – The Kutztown University women’s soccer team qualified for its seventh NCAA Tournament in the last nine years when KU was selected as the four seed of the Atlantic Regional, as was announced on Monday, Nov. 6.

The Golden Bears (16-3-1 overall) are matched up with Mountain East Conference runner-up and fifth-seeded Notre Dame (OH) on Friday, Nov. 10 at 12 p.m. at West Chester University. The Golden Rams are the region’s top seed and will take on the winner of the Golden Bears-Falcons matchup in the second round on Sunday, Nov. 12, also at 12 p.m.

Kutztown and Notre Dame (13-4-2) have never met on the soccer field. The Falcons joined NCAA’s Division II in 2011 after being a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

After falling to East Stroudsburg 1-0 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) semifinals on Nov. 2, Kutztown will look to start another win streak, and make another postseason run as it did last


In 2016, KU won three NCAA tournament games on its way to the Final Four, where it fell to eventual NCAA champion Western Washington. Before last year, the Maroon and Gold had only won one other NCAA tournament match, in the First Round in 2013.

Kutztown has tied program-records for wins during the regular season (15) and PSAC wins (13) this season.

The success that the team has accomplished on the field in 2017 have garnered recognition from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

Sophomore forward Emily Zwiercan was named the PSAC Athlete of the Year, Randi Smith was voted Freshman of the Year, and Erik Burstein received the Coach of the Year honor.

Along with these three major awards, senior Morgan Staley, sophomore Maddie Mohr and Zwiercan earned First Team All-PSAC honors for the Golden Bears, while junior Alyssa Ryan was voted to the Second Team, and Smith earned Third Team honors.

Zwiercan has tallied13 goals (fifth in PSAC), nine assists (first) and totaled 35 points (third). The nine assists and 35 points lead KU. Mohr has a team-high 14 goals (third in PSAC) and 28 points (fifth). The 14 goals is tied for third at KU for goals in a season.

Ryan has totaled four goals and four assists this season, and is fourth on the team with 12 points. Smith is second on the team and fifth in the league in assists (7), and second on the team and eighth in the league in points (17), while scoring five goals. Sophomore midfielder Kate Martin has also reached double-digits in points on the season (11) with four goals and three assists.

The center-back duo of Staley and sophomore Kristina Miller have been the backbone of the KU defense. Along with major contributions from juniors Erica Monte Carlo and Olivia Novak, sophomores Kaylee Kupiec and Shea Conway, and freshman Anna Hull, Kutztown’s back line has compiled 11 shutouts on the season (fourth All-time at KU) and given up just 12 goals in 20 games.

Sophomore goalie Jenna Bracken is 10-3-1 on the year with five shutouts. Her .861 save percentage is fourth in the PSAC. Junior Imani Taylor is 4-0 with three shutouts.

Notre Dame is 3-0-1 against two common KU opponents this season. The Falcons beat Charleston (WV) twice by 2-1 scores, and came away with one win and one draw against Shepherd. Kutztown edged Charleston on the road in the opener 1-0 on Aug. 31, and then took down Shepherd 3-0 in the next game Sept. 2.

Notre Dame enters Friday’s First Round game scoring 2.11 goals per game (gpg) and are giving up 1.05 gpg.

This is the third time since joining the Division II ranks that the Falcons have made the tournament, but it is the first time the team has earned an at-large bid. Last season, Notre Dame fell to East Stroudsburg 2-0 in the NCAA First Round.

The Golden Bears defeated PSAC runner-up West Chester 2-0 during the regular season on Sept. 27.

Kutztown is receiving votes for the top-25 National United Soccer Coaches Poll released Tuesday, Nov. 7.

On the other side of the Atlantic Regional bracket, second-seeded East Stroudsburg will host the winner of the First Round matchup between the third seed and Mountain East Conference champion West Virginia Wesleyan and sixth-seeded Gannon.

The Second Round winners will advance to the Third Round on Friday, Nov. 17, which will be hosted by the highest-remaining seed in the Atlantic Regional. The winner of the Atlantic Regional will then play the winner of the East Regional in the Quarterfinals on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the same site of the Third Round.

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