CAA Men's Soccer Championship Preview
RICHMOND, Va. (November 13, 2013) – Following a pair of narrow 1-0 decisions in the quarterfinals, the CAA Men’s Soccer Championship resumes on November 14 and 16 at Drexel University’s Vidas Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
In Friday’s semifinal action, #2 UNCW (9-5-2, overall, 4-2-1 in CAA) takes on #3 William & Mary (9-6-3 overall, 6-2-2 in CAA) at 4 p.m., followed by #1 Drexel (8-7-3 overall, 4-1-2 in CAA) against #4 Delaware (14-4 overall, 4-3 in CAA) at 7 p.m.
The two semifinal winners will advance to Saturday’s 4 p.m. championship game, which provides an automatic berth to the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.
Seven different teams have captured the CAA Men’s Soccer Championship over the past seven years, showing the league’s quality and depth. Three of those teams - UNCW (2009), William & Mary (2010) and Delaware (2011) – are in this year’s semifinals while Drexel is looking to win its first CAA title.
Drexel captured the CAA regular-season title for the second year in a row. The Dragons’ defense allowed just six goals in seven conference matches behind the play of veteran backs Tal Bublil and Robert Liberatore and freshman goalkeeper Tyler Afflerbach, who has posted a 0.91 GAA and five shutouts in 15 starts. Offensively, Drexel features two of the league’s top midfielders in seniors Nathan Page (5g, 3a) and Ken Tribbett (4g, 2a). The Dragons are 7-1-1 this season when scoring two or more goals, but have won just once when scoring only one goal.
UNCW is making its first appearance in the CAA semifinals since 2009 when the Seahawks went to win their first conference championship. UNCW posted impressive road victories over ACC foes North Carolina (1-0) and Duke (2-1) in non-conference action and closed CAA play on a four-match unbeaten streak (3-0-1). The Seahawks are led offensively by sophomore Colin Bonner (6g, 3a), who recorded a hat trick in the regular-season finale against Northeastern. Junior Jamie Dell (3g, 4a) and sophomore David Sizemore (4g) have also contributed. Junior Jacob VanCompernolle is UNCW’s top defender in front of freshman goalkeeper Sean Melvin (1.35 GAA).
William & Mary defeated #6 Hofstra 1-0 last Saturday to advance to the CAA semifinals for the first time since 2010. The Tribe, which knocked off two #1 teams (North Carolina & Creighton) earlier this season, is ranked #21 this week in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Top 25 poll and is 10th in the latest NCAA RPI ratings. Senior back Will Smith and freshman goalkeeper Mac Phillips (0.82 GAA) headline a defense that ranks seventh nationally with nine shutouts. W&M has been balanced offensively with junior Josh West (6g, 1a), sophomore Jackson Eskay (5g, 5a) and junior Chris Albiston (4g, 6a) topping the team in scoring.
Delaware is coming off a dramatic 1-0 double-overtime victory over #5 Northeastern in the quarterfinals last Saturday. The Blue Hens, who were also a #4 seed in 2011 when they claimed their first CAA title, started the season with a 10-1 mark, which included a victory over then-#7 UMBC. UD has scored 42 goals this season, which is tied for the most of any Division I team in the nation. Leading the Hens is freshman forward Guillermo Delgado, who tops the CAA with 13 goals and 31 points. Also contributing offensively have been midfielders Jaime Martinez (5g, 6a) and Joe Dipre (5g, 2a) along with forward Roberto Gimenez (4g, 6a). In goal, junior Borja Barbero has posted a 1.18 GAA with five shutouts.
Admission to the championship is $5 for adults. Youth age 12 and under are admitted free along with students from the participating CAA schools with a valid college ID.
Video for both semifinal matches and the championship final of the CAA Men's Soccer Championship will be carried live for free in high definition on CAA.TV and CAA's iPad app. A free login will be required to view the games via CAA.TV on a computer or using the CAA's iPad app. The same free login link will be provided accordingly on the Men's Soccer Championship Central page, which will also include game recaps, video highlights, box scores and much more.
2013 CAA Men’s Soccer Championship
Vidas Field – Philadelphia, Pa.
November 14 – Semifinals
#3 William & Mary vs. #2 UNCW – 4:00 p.m.
#4 Delaware at #1 Drexel – 7:00 p.m.
November 16 - Finals
CAA Championship Game – 4:00 p.m.