In recent years, those looking for a New England angle in the the Division 2 men’s NCAA tournament would would take refuge in deep runs by Southern New Hampshire, Merrimack, Franklin Pierce or even Southern Connecticut. The Northeast 10 conference, after all, is one of the stingiest in all of college soccer, one without any easy games.
There’s again an NE10 presence in the Big Dance, but its Adelphi and Le Moyne – two programs in New York – offering that in 2018. So what about that local connection?
That’s where Post University, from Waterbury, Conn., comes into play.
The Eagles have drawn Mercy in an East Region first-round clash, set for Thursday at 1 p.m. in Brookville, N.Y. They earned an automatic bid after beating Wilmington, 2-0, in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference title game last weekend. The victory marked head coach Ted Haley‘s team’s first CACC tournament title since 2008 and first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2013.
The driving force of their 12-7-1 has been sophomore midfielder Sergio Diaz, the CACC Player of the Year. From Madrid, Spain, Diaz has 12 goals and 19 assists on the year, which is good for the second-most helpers in D2.
Fellow sophomore Alvaro Sanchez has been just as pivotal with 11 goals and one assist. On the back line, Post’s leaders are first team all-conference defenders Matteo Moro and Andrea Baleotto.
As for Mercy, it lost to LIU Post, 2-0, in the East Coast Conference game. Key players to watch for are Maximiliano Rebolledo-Camus and Ignacio Mangada, forwards who have combined for 19 goals and seven assists this year.
This NCAA tournament clash will mark the first ever game between the Mavericks and Eagles.