NCAA D2 Men’s Soccer In the Ozarks

matt-hutchison-drury-panthersThe Drury Panthers are hosting the Drury Invitational with four games for the men this weekend. Coach Ryan Swan’s squad finished last fall with a flurry, knocking off top-seed, regular season champion and nationally fourth-ranked Northern Kentucky 2-1 in Highland Heights to kick off a scintillating run in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships, one that wasn’t halted until the Panthers fell 2-1 in two overtimes to Quincy in the title match in Kansas City.

That allowed the Panthers to finish with a 13-8-0 overall mark after victories in six of their final nine matches, all done with a squad that featured freshmen and sophomores in the majority of starting slots.

Drury_MensSoccer_LogoSaturday Sep 1, 7:30 pm: Drury vs Southern Nazerene
Monday Sep 3, 2:30 pm: Drury vs Southwest Baptist
Games are at Harrison Stadium/The Curry Sports Complex
The Panthers must find a replacement for their three-year starter in goal, graduated senior Stephen Conner, as priority one. Conner left DU as the record-holder in nearly every career and many single-season keeper categories, and now serves as the volunteer keepers coach. Freshman Blake Andrews is likely to get first crack at the job, with senior Andrew Klump and sophomore Logan Ponche also in heavy competition for minutes in goal.

Everywhere else, the Panthers are simply plugging in rotations and minutes for depth purposes, with starters back at nearly every position. That includes the top two goal-scorers from a year ago in junior forward Matt Hutchison (6 goals, 3 assists) and sophomore All-Great Lakes Valley Conference Third Team midfielder Jack Mathis (4 goals, 6 assists). Read more

Saturday Sep 1: SBU vs. Delta State, 5:00 p.m. at Drury
Monday Sept. 3: SBU vs. Drury, 2:30 p.m.
The SBU Bearcats will open the season in Springfield, participating in the Drury Invitational. The Bearcats will fit into an MIAA conference which includes Fort Hays, Lindenwood, Northeastern State, Truman State, Upper Iowa, Harding, and Southern Nazarene, as the Bearcats look to contend for an MIAA Championship this season. The Bearcats were selected to finish 8th in the pre-season MIAA poll, but the players are looking forward for the opportunity to bring SBU Men’s Soccer back to Bolivar. The Bearcat captains are Nathan Fraley (Rolla) and Bradley Stillwagon (Bolivar).

Saturday Sep 1 5:00 pm: Missouri S&T vs Lindenwood at Quincy
Sunday Sep 2 5:00 pm: Missouri S&T vs Truman State at Quincy
The Missouri S&T Miners are participating in the Quincy Soccer Bowl and will face a pair of MIAA squads in Lindenwood and Truman State. The games have been moved to Flinn Stadium (4400 Maine St.), which has an artificial turf field, due to relentless rains in the Quincy area this weekend.

The Miner’s qualified for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament for the fourth straight year in 2011, finishing at 10-6-2. They have been picked to finish in one of the playoff spots again this fall as the Miners were tabbed for a seventh place finish in the 16-team league by its coaches.

The Miners were 8-5-2 in the highly competitive GLVC, which had the NCAA Division II national champion two years ago and a team that reached the national quarterfinals last fall. Missouri S&T does enter the season with its top four scorers back from last year’s squad, but lost All-America goalkeeper Pat McNamee (Fenton, Mo./Vianney ), who set the school record for career shutouts with 26. Read more

My coverage list includes the Drury Panthers (D2, Great Lakes Valley Conference), Missouri S&T Miners (D2, GLVC) and Southwest Baptist Wildcats (D2, MIAA) I’ve added College Men to the Calendar I maintain, you can find it in the right sidebar.