FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2017
Contact: Tyler Price, Assistant Director of Athletics | Communications
No. 5 Baker to Host Grace (Ind.) in NAIA Opening Round
BALDWIN CITY, Kansas – For the fifth-straight season, the Baker University men’s soccer program has qualified for the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round, as they will host Grace College (Ind.) on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. inside Liston Stadium.
The Wildcats finished the 2017 regular season and Heart postseason, 15-4-2, and qualified after becoming Co-Regular Season Champions and Conference Tournament Runner-up.
The Lancers qualified for the NAIA National Championship after upsetting No. 21 ranked Spring Arbor in the Crossroads League Conference Tournament Championship, 4-3, in overtime on Nov. 11. They come in with a record of 12-4-4 overall.
This marks Baker’s 10th all-time appearance in the NAIA National Championship, while this is the Lancers first time in the event.
Baker features a team with seven Heart of America Athletic Conference All-Conference award winners, including the Heart Freshman of the Year, Alberto Ciroi.
The ‘Cats have nine shut outs this season and have outscored its opponents, 47-22. Ciroi has only surrendered 14 goals this season and ranks No. 14 in the NAIA in goals against average at .780.
Blake Levine continues to rank near the top of the NAIA in assists with 14, as that ranks No. 4 nationally.
Levine and Joseph Houlihan are tied for the team lead in goals with nine and 10 different Wildcats have at least two goals scored this season.
The Grace defense has seven shut outs in 2017 and keeper Kurt Hamlin ranks No. 26 in the NAIA in saves with 95.
Offensively, Grace has 36 goals scored with seven coming from Damon Binkley. Seven different Lancers have scored two or more goals this season.
The winner of Saturday’s game will qualify for the NAIA Men’s Soccer Final site in Delray Beach, Florida.
They will take on either No. 12 Columbia or Northwestern Ohio on Monday, Nov. 27 at Seacrest Soccer Complex.
Also in the tournament from the Heart of America Athletic Conference includes No. 3 Missouri Valley and No. 13 MNU.
Missouri Valley hosts Olivet Nazarene and the Pioneers will host Wayland Baptist.
To see the entire 2017 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship bracket, please click here.
Fans can watch the match live on Saturday, by clicking here.