Falcons set for NCAA tournament opener at Mars Hill

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, November 9, 2011


For the second-straight season and sixth time overall, the University of Montevallo men’s soccer team will take part in the NCAA Division II men’s soccer tournament.

The Falcons (12-4-4) earned the No. 5 seed in the Southeast Region and will take on Mars Hill College (11-5-1), the No. 4 seed, tonight at 6 p.m. The match will be streamed live via Mars Hill’s website, which will also feature live stats. The match will be the first ever meeting between the Falcons and Lions.

The Falcons are making their sixth appearance in the NCAA tournament in school history. Montevallo, which advanced to the national semifinals in 2007, holds a 2-3-3 all-time record in NCAA tournament competition. The Lions are making their first appearance in NCAA tournament play.

Montevallo and Mars Hill have faced three similar opponents in Young Harris College, North Georgia College and State University and Lincoln Memorial University. The Falcons hold a 2-0-1 record against the three teams, while Mars Hill has a 2-1-0 record.

Montevallo defeated Young Harris 3-2 in double overtime at home, while Mars Hill lost 1-0 on the road. The Falcons won 2-1 at home against North Georgia College and State, while Mars Hill won 3-0 at home. Montevallo tied Lincoln Memorial 0-0 on the road, while Mars Hill won 4-0 at home.

The Falcons are led by junior Shane Howard, who has eight goals on the season. Howard’s eight goals ae tied for seventh in the Peach Belt Conference.

Senior Phil Jackson is tied for fourth in the conference with five assists and has six goals on the season. Sophomore goalkeeper Brendan Ledgeway leads the conference with .815 save percentage and a 0.75 goals against average.

The Lions are led by junior Stephen Bivens, who has eight goals and two assists. Senior Rury Caulfield has six goals and three assists. Junior Zac Scott, the Lions’ goalkeeper, has a 0.65 goals against average and a .855 save percentage, both of which lead the South Atlantic Conference.

Both teams make their mark on defense, with both goalkeepers ranking among the best in NCAA Division II men’s soccer in terms of goals against average and save percentage. All five of the Mars Hill losses have come by just one goal, while 10 of its 11 wins have come by two or more goals.

The Lions have received just 18 combined cards all season and have yet to see a red card. The Falcons have been issued 33 cards, including six red cards.

Admission to the match is $4 for adults, $2 for students with valid student ID and $1 for children 6 years of age and under.

The winner of the Mars Hill/Montevallo match will travel to face top-seed Coker College (18-2) on Nov. 11 in a Southeast Regional semifinal match.

Flagler (15-3-2) earned the No. 2 seed in the Southeast Region bracket and will face the winner of Anderson/Lees-McRae on Nov. 11 in the other Southeast Regional semifinal match. The No. 3 seed Trojans (17-3) will host the Bobcats (14-5-1) tonight.