The Ashland University men's soccer team is the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Division II Midwest Region and will play in an NCAA Tournament in just its third season after the program was reinstated prior to the 2016 season.
The Eagles (8-9-3) will play No. 3 seed Saginaw Valley on Thursday (Nov. 8) in Evansville, Ind. Kickoff time will be announced later. The winner of that game will play No. 2 seed and host Southern Indiana on Saturday.
Ashland earned qualification into the NCAA Tournament by virtue of its GLIAC Tournament title. The Eagles beat Northwood, 3-0, on Sunday in the conference final as the final seed in the tournament after beating Purdue Northwest and Parkside.
The Eagles come in as one of the hottest teams in the country having gone 6-0-2 in their last eight games against conference opponents. That includes a 2-2 tie against Saginaw Valley in the regular season finale on Oct. 26.
The Cardinals defeated the Eagles, 2-1, in overtime in the teams' other matchup of the season on Oct. 3 in Saginaw, Mich.
It has been a steady rise for the AU men's soccer program, which was discontinued following the 2012 season. The program re-launched on a tight time schedule with an announcement in December 2015 and the program beginning play in the fall of 2016 under head coach Oliver Slawson.
The Ashland women's team also qualified for the NCAA Tournament, making it just the third time in school history and the first time since 2003 that both teams made it to the national tournament.
The Eagles bring the GLIAC's leading goal-scorer, sophomore Justin Libertowski, who has 11 goals on the year, and also the GLIAC's Goalkeeper of the Year in sophomore Dimitrios Karousos. Ashland also had four players selected to the All-GLIAC Tournament team, including MVP sophomore defender Alex Mapp. Karousos, freshman forward Haruki Kimura and redshirt-freshman Kierran Paterson.