The Southwestern University Pirates men's soccer team (12-5-3) is going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the program's history.
In head coach Dustin Norman's first season of running the program, the Pirates' six-win improvement from a season ago was enough to earn an at-large bid after a strong performance in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship Tournament.
Southwestern defeated regionally ranked Colorado College 1-0 in the SCAC semifinals, sweeping all three matches against them this season with both regular season victories coming in overtime. The Pirate then took Trinity University, the fifth-ranked team in the country, to double overtime before losing in a penalty kick shootout in the championship match.
"I'm glad we were one of the first teams to be announced. It relieved quite a bit of anxiety," Norman said. "I knew we were close following the weekend of three games in three days. With the draw against a national powerhouse, we felt we didn't accomplish our ultimate goal but I knew following the game there was an opportunity and argument to be made for us."
Less than 24 hours after presumably saying their goodbyes, the Pirates were renewed with the news, shouting, 'we're not done,' from inside the locker room.
Southwestern has had a flair for the dramatic this season, playing seven overtime matches (including three that went to double overtime), winning three and taking three to a draw.
"For this group to be provided this level of opportunity, it's just awesome to see," Norman said. "With the amount of growth and substantial work they've put in throughout the season, to get to this point, it is and continues to be an amazing ride. They're excited. This season was about raising the standard and they continue to establish that."
The Pirates will play the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (15-3-1), who are currently ranked third in the West Region. The match will take place in San Antonio at Trinity University on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that match will play the winner of Trinity and Chapman College (California) on Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
Ticket prices will be $6.00 for general admission, $3.00 for students and seniors, and $2.00 for children ages 3-12.