FHSU battling for spot
Published on -11/1/2012, 10:42 AM
By KLINT SPILLER
Fort Hays State University men's soccer coach Brett Parker said his squad has been in playoff mode the past two weeks.
The Tigers, ranked No. 2 in the NCAA Division II Central region, are fighting for an opportunity to make the post-season for the first time in the history of the 2-year-old program. The top two teams in the region qualify for the national tournament.
"Every game is a playoff game," Parker said. "Every game, our season is riding on it."
FHSU (11-4-2) will face a tough test today in its first-round game of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament against regular season champion Lindenwood University.
Game time is 7 p.m. in Olathe.
Lindenwood (13-2-3), which isn't eligible for post-season play since it recently transition to NCAA Division II from NAIA, has won its past six matches.
The Lions have allowed just 12 goals this season, ranked No. 1 in the MIAA, while FHSU has scored 45, ranked No. 2.
"We are going to have to find ways to break them down," Parker said.
A win should guarantee FHSU a spot in the national tournament, Parker said, but a loss still could result in FHSU qualifying.
Northeastern State University (11-3-3) is ranked No. 1 in the region, while Truman State University (10-5-1) is ranked No. 3. Theoretically, if Northeastern and Lindenwood won, FHSU still would qualify.
However, Parker said he doesn't want to leave it up to the NCAA Division II selection committee.
FHSU has gone 3-0-1 in its past four matches, and Parker said his squad is playing its best soccer of the year. But Parker said he didn't think his squad has played its best soccer of the season yet.
"We are right on the verge of getting that performance," Parker said.
FHSU women play underdog role
From here on out, the Tigers are the underdogs, FHSU women's soccer coach Craig Shaw said.
The Tigers (12-6-1), seeded No. 6 in the MIAA tournament, will face No. 2 seed University of Central Oklahoma (15-1-3) at 6 p.m. Friday in the second round of the conference tournament at Warrensburg, Mo.
The Tigers won 1-0 against No. 3 seed Truman State University (12-6-1) in the first round to advance.
"No one expected us to win the last game, but we knew we could," Shaw said. "Despite beating Truman before (this season), we were still the underdogs. Every game from here on, we are going to be the underdogs."
The Tigers, unranked in the Central region, need to win their next two games to advance to the national tournament.
"We've got a big game against Central," Shaw said. "We are going to take it one game at a time and see what happens."
Central Oklahoma went undefeated through conference play and defeated the Tigers 2-0 in Edmond, Okla.
Though Central Oklahoma has an extensive resume, Shaw said his squad isn't going to be intimidated.
"I think the girls have the confidence now that they can beat anybody on their day," he said. "We are not going to be scared."
Central Oklahoma has the No. 3 ranked scoring offense and No. 2 ranked scoring defense, but FHSU is right up with them statistically, ranked No. 2 in scoring offense and No. 4 in scoring defense.
Shaw said Central Oklahoma's biggest strength is its players strength and athleticism.
"What we've got to try to do is keep the ball," he said. "If we can keep the ball, we are going to be able to put some pressure on them. The longer the game goes, the more they are going to get frustrated."