Landmark Sending Five Teams To NCAA Tournaments

Landmark Sending Five Teams To NCAA Tournaments

MADISON, N.J. – Five Landmark Conference fall sport teams will represent the conference in 2009 NCAA Division III Tournament play beginning Wednesday Nov. 11. With Landmark Champions earning automatic bids for the first time, the champions in field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball all earned bids, while one other Landmark team was selected to the field as an at-large participant.

Men’s soccer puts two teams into the NCAA field for the second-consecutive year as champions The Catholic University of America are joined by the United States Merchant Marine Academy which was the lone Landmark program to earn an at-large bid. Catholic’s women’s soccer team earned the automatic bid as champions, as did the field hockey and volleyball teams from Juniata College. After a two-year waiting period as a new conference, 2009 marks the first year Landmark Champions earn automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. Additional bids come from Pool C (At-Large) qualifications, the number of which varies depending on the sport. Match times for opening-round matches are not yet available.

The Juniata field hockey (17-3) team will be the first Landmark team in action as the Eagles return to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year hiatus and are making its fourth tourney appearance in six years. The Eagles will hit the road to play at Lynchburg (17-4) in an opening-round match on Wednesday Nov. 11. A win would match the Eagles against Ursinus (17-2) the champions of the Centennial Conference as part of the regional held at Ursinus taking place Nov. 14-15. Juniata claimed its third-straight Landmark Championship with a 1-0 win over Susquehanna. The Eagles reached the NCAA regional finals in 200, the team’s last appearance in the tournament, and have an all-time record of 2-3 in NCAA matches.

Juniata volleyball is making its 29th-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, which is an NCAA Division III volleyball record, and will host an eight-team regional beginning Thursday Nov. 12 in Huntingdon, Pa. The Eagles (31-3) will face Cabrini on the first day of the regional. The regional semifinals will follow on Nov. 13 with the regional final to follow at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Juniata wrapped up the Landmark Championship with a win over Susquehanna and is looking for its third NCAA Championship after winning the title in 2004 and 2006. The Eagles reached the NCAA semifinals last season, and have reached at least the semifinals for five straight seasons.

Catholic men’s soccer will be making its first NCAA Tournament appearance when the Cardinals face Lynchburg on Saturday Nov. 14 as part of a four-team opening-round site at Christopher Newport in Newport News, Va. Catholic (16-3-1) topped Scranton 3-0 in the Landmark final for its first conference title, and carries a seven-match unbeaten streak into its contest against Lynchburg (16-2-2). The winner of the opening-round match will face the winner of the match between fifth-ranked Christopher Newport (17-2-1) and Cabrini (16-3-2). Catholic is just two years removed from a 6-10 season and led the Landmark this season in goals scored during conference play.

USMMA is the lone Landmark team to claim an at-large bid as the Mariners were one of 17 teams to earn Pool C bids, and the team will play on Saturday at Swarthmore (14-2-2) on Saturday. The Mariners (15-3-0) finished second in the Landmark regular-season standings after putting together a 14-match winning streak. USMMA is making its third tournament appearance under Head Coach Mike Smolens, and two of the team’s three losses during the season came against NCAA Tournament teams. If the Mariners get past host Swarthmore, they will face the winner of the match between Hobart and St. Joseph’s (L.I.) in the second round.

Catholic women’s soccer is appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the second time, and its first since 2005, after defeating Susquehanna in the Landmark Championship. The Cardinals (17-2-1) will face off with Lynchburg (14-3-3) as part of opening and second-round matches hosted by Washington & Lee in Lexington, Va. The Cardinals opened the season with 10-consecutive victories, including a pair of wins against teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths. The Cardinals outscored opponents 57-15 on the season and scored a conference-best 14 goals in Landmark play. A win over Lynchburg would give Catholic a matchup with either Christopher Newport or the host school Washington & Lee in the second round.

NCAA Tournament play in all four sports will continue the following weekend. The women's volleyball tournament will see the quarterfinals/semifinals/finals played over three days beginning Nov. 19 at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center in University Heights, Ohio. The soccer tournaments will continue with section play Nov 20-22 at pre-determined regional sites, with the semifinals/finals being held at Blossom Sports Stadium in San Antonio, Texas Dec. 4-5. After second/third round matches at predetermined hosts on Nov. 14-15, the field hockey tournament will conclude with the semifinals/finals on the campus of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. on Nov. 21-22.