Just 16 teams remain in contention for the 2018 NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championship, and four of those programs will compete for a spot in the Final Four this week in Hays. As the Tigers are the No. 1 seed in the Central Region, FHSU Soccer Stadium will be the site for this year's Central and Midwest Regional finals as well as the national quarterfinals.
The Tigers, ranked No. 11 in the latest national poll, will take on conference rival Northeastern State in the Central Region Championship on Thursday at 7 p.m. No. 3 Saginaw Valley State and Ohio Valley, the 4 seed, both won two games last week to earn a spot in the Midwest Region Championship, taking place at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The advancing teams from Thursday's contests will play in the national quarterfinal Saturday at 1 p.m., with the winner earning a trip to Pittsburgh, Pa. for the national semifinals November 29.
Tickets are available on a daily basis at a cost of $5 for adults and $3 for kids and college students. Children under five get in free, as well as Fort Hays State students with a valid student ID.
Video of all three games this weekend will be live streamed on The MIAA Network.
This is the seventh year in a row the Tigers have qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships, the second-longest active streak in the country (LIU Post, eight years). The Tigers have won the Central Region three times (2014, 15, 16).
Eight Tigers named to the D2CCA All-Region team
Fort Hays State had eight men's soccer student-athletes named to the D2CCA All-Central Region Team on Wednesday (Nov. 14). The team is voted on by athletic media relations directors within the Central Region. Santiago Agudelo earned Central Region Player of the Year honors and joining him on the first team is defender Luis Torres and goalkeeper Fernando Pina. Second team selections went to forward Abdoulaye Cisse, midfielders Tobias Patino and Moritz Walther and defenders Raul Fierro and Sergio Villalba.
Named the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Player of the Year and an All-MIAA First Team selection at forward, Agudelo finished the regular season with a nation-best 58 points, scoring 26 goals and adding six assists. The junior from Frisco, Texas led the nation in seven categories; points per match (3.41), total points, goals per match (1.53), total goals, game-winning goals (eight), shots per match (5.82) and shots on goal per match (3.29).
Luis Torres has been a force as a defender for the Tigers, being part of a back line that has only given up 15 goals on the year. Torres has logged a team-high 1,510 minutes on the pitch. The Asuncion, Paraguay native scored five goals, while adding two assists for a total of 12 points. Torres was named an All-MIAA First Team selection. This is the second-consecutive season Torres has been named to the All-Region squad.
Fernando Pina, a senior from Houston, Texas, is in his first year with the Tigers. He has been a solid performer at goalkeeper, limiting the opposition to a .63 goals against average. Pina holds a 10-0-1 record in goal for the Tigers, posting four shutouts. Pina also earned All-MIAA First Team honors.
Cisse, a junior from Dallas, Texas, earns his second All-Central Region honor as a Second-Team selection at forward. He ranks second on the squad in total points (four goals, six assists). Cisse is one of five Tigers that have started in all 18 matches thus far.
Patino, a senior from Asuncion, Paraguay, earns his first All-Central Region honor as a second-team selection at midfielder. Patino led the Tigers in assists with nine.
Walther is in his first year with the Tigers. He earned Second Team All-MIAA honors for his performance as a midfielder. Walther has recorded two goals and seven assists on the season. The sophomore netted the game-winning goal against Northeastern State (Oct. 15) in overtime to capture the Tigers' MIAA Championship. He ranks second on the team in assists.
Fierro, a senior from El Paso, Texas, earns his second-consecutive All-Central Region Second Team honor as a defender. Fierro is also a vital piece on the back line that has given up only .83 goals per match. He ranks fourth on the team in minutes played (1,423).
Villalba, a junior from Asuncion, Paraguay, earns second-team honors in the region this year. Part of that strong back line for the Tigers, Villalba recorded a hat-trick in the upset victory over then-No. 3 Rockhurst, capping off a 4-2 victory over the Hawks. Three of his four goals this season have been from free kicks.