A look at the four teams that will compete for the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer championship at Pepin-Rood Stadium this weekend.
Le Moyne Dolphins
Coach: Tom Bonus (10th season)
How they reached Tampa: First round: Bye. Second round: def. Franklin Pierce 1-0. Quarterfinals: def. Southern New Hampshire 1-1, 3-2 in penalty shootout.
NSCAA Ranking: No.6
Team Overview: The Dolphins reached the final four on the back of forward Angelo Reina, who scored 18 goals in 23 games this season. including the game-winner against Franklin Pierce in the NCAA second round. LeMoyne has found some scoring from others, including Zach Kuzemka, who had the Dolphins goal in their 1-1 tie against Southern New Hampshire in the quarterfinals, but it appears that if you shut down Reina, who is also tied for the team lead with six assists, you have a good chance of shutting down LeMoyne.
Fort Lewis Skyhawks
Conference: Rocky Mountain
Coach: Oige Kennedy (1st season)
How they reached Tampa: First round: def. Colorado Mines 3-0. Second round: def. West Texas A&M 3-1. Quarterfinals: def. Cal-State Dominguez Hills 1-0.
NSCAA ranking: No.1
Team overview: Fort Lewis began the season with the loss of former Tampa Bay Mutiny coach Tim Hankinson, who resigned to take a position in India, but interim coach Oige Kennedy made sure the Skyhawks didn’t miss a beat. Beginning the season ranked No.10 in the nation, Fort Lewis romped through its regular season, losing only to then No.9 Incarnate Word 2-1 in September. The Skyhawks have three players with double-digit goals, led by Euan Purcell, who has 19 goals in 18 games. David Barden and Joe Barnd each have 10 goals apiece, while Tom Settle has recorded 16 assists. The Skyhawks have also been strong defensively, with Zane Wells recording a 0.54 goals against average for the season.
Conference: Conference Carolinas
Coach: Chris Whalley (5th season)
How they reached Tampa: First round: def. Wingate 6-3. Second round: def. Anderson 3-2. Quarterfinals: def. Tampa 1-0.
NSCAA ranking: No.9
Team overview: The Bobcats reached the Final Four for the first time when a second-minute goal by Jamie Bladen was enough for victory against the University of Tampa. While it did not win its conference championship, falling to Coker College in the Conference Carolinas semifinals, the internationally-flavored squad bounced back to reel off three straight victories to get to Tampa. Bladen, from England, was at the center of that, scoring three goals, but it has been Orlando Oak Ridge graduate Berin Boracic who has provided the main firepower for the Bobcats this season with 15 goals and nine assists in 21 games. He has been ably assisted by Richard Guffens, who has scored 10 goals and added 13 assists.
Conference: Great Lakes
Coach: Evan Fiffles (18th season)
How they reached Tampa: First round: def. Ashland 2-1 (OT). Second round: def. Drury 1-0. Quarterfinals: def. Charleston, WVa. 4-1.
NSCAA ranking: No.20
Team overview: The surprise team at the Final Four, Lewis went from being knocked out of the Great Lakes conference tournament in the semifinals to upsetting No.2 Drury on its home field in the second round of the NCAA tournament in a little over a week. The Flyers then came from a goal down against Charleston in the quarterfinals, scoring three goals in the final 20 minutes, to reach their first Final Four since 2000. Lewis is led offensively by Nestor Hernandez, who has scored 14 goals and added six assists, while goalkeeper Sebastian Kieruzal has a 0.52 goals against average.