December 3, 2017

Champions Again: Messiah Claims 11th NCAA Division III Title

For both the 11th time in program history and first time in four years, the Messiah Falcons are National Champions once again.
 
The Falcons fell behind less than two minutes into the NCAA Division III National Championship on Saturday, but they scored twice in the first-half and put together an overall classic performance to capture the 11th title in program history, 2-1 over North Park. The title completed a 24-2 campaign for the Falcons that matched the program record for single-season wins, and it also made Messiah 11-for-11 in title game appearances.
 
Messiah's 11 National Championships is second in the NCAA only to the Division I UNC women's team, which has 21 titles.
 
North Park (20-2-2) finished as the National Runner-Up in their first-ever appearance at the Final Four.
 
Dramatic Start
The Vikings were aggressive from the opening whistle, and they grabbed early momentum with a stunning goal after just 1:12 of play. Their high pressure may have caught the Falcons off-guard, and they created an opportunity when Gustav Ericsson pushed through an open midfield and found Shatil Koury atop the box. He drew a quick double-team and couldn't shoot himself, so he laid a shot pass back to Ericsson for a shot from 22 yards out. Ericsson's one-timer was stuck hard and low, and it tucked inside the left post for a 1-0 lead.
 
And just like that, Messiah was on their heels for the second time in as many days at the Final Four. It was also just the second time Messiah fell behind in their 11 title game appearances, the other being against Lynchburg in 2010. Falcon fans surely remember the positive end to that game, and the good feelings came back around tonight when Messiah tied it at 1-1 less than four minutes later.
 
Messiah's equalizer came in transition when Danny Brandt sent Nick West down the left sideline and toward the corner. West raced on for possession and served a low cross to the middle of the box for Justin Brautigam's header. His redirect was nothing short of perfect as it bounced outside the reach of keeper Mathias Stulen and inside the far post.
 
For Brautigam, who scored the double-overtime winner on Friday, the goal was a third in as many games dating back to the Sectional Final against Rochester, and it was just his fourth all season.
 
Near Misses, Timely Milestone
After the teams traded early and unexpected goals, the game settled into a battle of possession. Messiah earned the better of the looks, too, including another serve to Brautigam in the eighth minute. This time is was Colby Thomas on the right side who delivered the cross, and Brautigam and Stulen came together as the six-yard line; Brautigam beat the keeper for a header, but Stulen got one hand on the shot for a brilliant save.
 
Nevertheless, Messiah collected four shots in less than four minutes after their goal, and their defense supported the effort by limiting the Vikings to just three shots in the first period.
 
As the half wore on fatigue began to set in for both teams, understandably so as each team played either into or through two overtimes on Friday night. Messiah's Brad McCarty staggered rest for his starters near the end of the period, with Ben Haines going to target for Kirby Robbins with still 15 minutes to play before halftime.
 
Haines, who had appeared in only 16 of the Falcons' 23 games prior to tonight, made the most of the opportunity with a milestone moment: his first career goal that proved to be the game-winner.
 
The highlight tally was especially unexpected as there was less than a minute to play before the break. Messiah's possession moved from the midfield to Josh Bender on the right sideline, and he pushed forward before sending a long serve to the middle of the box. Haines was there, but he came up short on a header, with the ball bouncing out the backside to Brit Haseltine. He quickly touched the ball back to Haines in the middle, and Haines caught a handful of Vikings watching the ball as he tucked a shot inside the left post.
 
The sudden score put the Falcons up 2-1, a welcome advantage considering both the early deficit and a chance to reset for the second-half.
 
Possession and Poise
Despite scoring twice in the first period, Messiah had more than a few uncharacteristic stretches of unsettled play, due surely to both their fatigue and the 4-4-3 pressure from North Park. In the second-half the Vikings opened with a 3-5-2, and Messiah responded with a stronghold on territory and possession. They outshot the Vikings 8-1 in the first 18 minutes of the period, and both Kirby Robbins (save) and Nick West (post) came especially close to increasing the Falcons' lead.
 
Midway through the period North Park went back to their 4-4-3, and they started to gain back some territory. They even created a few dangerous moments in the box, including Henrick Roseholt's shot in the 82' that went two yards wide of the left post.
 
In the final minutes the Falcons kept North Park from getting through the midfield, and soon the time ran out to seal Messiah's title win.
 
In the Box
Messiah attempted 10 shots in each half, and they put eight on frame. Messiah also attempted nine corners, even as they played each one short in favor keeping the ball at their feet. On the other side Messiah limited the Vikings to just two corners, a noteworthy accomplishment considering dangerous North Park's size and strength on resets.
 
Extra Notes
Messiah's Nick West (offensive) and Cooper Robbins (defensive) were named the NCAA Tournament's Most Valuable Player honors, and teammates Kirby Robbins and Justin Brautigam also earned All-Tournament recognition. West finished the Tournament with three goals and three assists in six games, and Cooper Robbins helped Messiah come up big when needed with two 1-0 shutouts and five total one-goal games en route to the national title.
 
Also, with the result, Messiah has now outscored opponents 25-5 in 11 national title games. Of note, two of the Falcons' five goals this weekend were "first career tallies" by Adam Cole and Haines.
 
Messiah's six wins in the Tournament moved their all-time NCAA postseason record to 84-15-5 (.832).

Wednesday, Sep. 19: All times Eastern
M:
TBA
Lesley at Pine Manor
M:
2:30 PM
Hunter at Medgar Evers
Video Video
M:
Final
at Mary Washington 2, Catholic 0
M:
2nd half - 24:50
1 Brevard
0 Guilford
Video Recap
M:
3:00 PM
St. Elizabeth at Penn State-Berks
Live stats
M:
2nd half - 16:17
0 DeSales
0 Muhlenberg
Video Live stats
M:
2nd half - 45:00
1 Adrian
0 Bluffton
Video
M:
2nd half - 40:35
2 Rhode Island College
0 Dean
Video
M:
44:58 1st
0 St. Joseph's (L.I.)
0 St. Joseph's (L.I.)
M:
1st half - 14:41
0 Regis (Mass.)
0 Lasell
M:
1st half - 17:21
1 Penn State-Harrisburg
0 Clarks Summit
M:
1st half - 17:36
0 Wesley
0 Washington College
Video
M:
4:00 PM
Mitchell at SUNY-Old Westbury
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M:
1st half - 16:42
0 St. Joseph's (Bklyn.)
0 New Jersey City
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M:
4:00 PM
Farmingdale State at Manhattanville
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M:
1st half - 15:40
1 RPI
0 Keene State
M:
1st half - 24:13
0 Widener
2 Neumann
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M:
4:00 PM
Lehman at John Jay
M:
4:00 PM
Anne Arundel Comm. at Salisbury
M:
1st half - 12:02
0 Shenandoah
0 Bridgewater (Va.)
M:
4:00 PM
Gettysburg at Lebanon Valley
Live stats
M:
1st half - 17:38
0 St. Mary's (Md.)
1 Swarthmore
Video
M:
1st half - 18:01
0 Huntington
0 Manchester
Video
M:
1st half - 23:44
1 St. Joseph (Conn.)
1 Anna Maria
Video
M:
1st half - 18:42
1 Eastern Nazarene
1 Fitchburg State
M:
1st half - 17:03
0 Bryn Athyn
2 Gwynedd-Mercy
Live stats Video
M:
4:00 PM
Southern Vermont at SUNY Delhi
M:
4:00 PM
Staten Island at CCNY
Video
M:
4:00 PM
Cairn at Valley Forge
Box Score
M:
1st half - 14:30
0 Delaware Valley
1 Stevenson
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M:
4:15 PM
Waynesburg at Pitt-Greensburg
M:
1st half - 45:00
0 Capital
0 Wooster
M:
5:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Washington and Lee
M:
5:00 PM
Dickinson at Frostburg State
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M:
5:00 PM
Newbury at Husson
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M:
5:00 PM
Me.-Machias at Maine Maritime
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M:
5:00 PM
Colby-Sawyer at Johnson and Wales
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5:00 PM
Vaughn at New Rochelle
M:
Postponed
Gustavus Adolphus at Viterbo
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5:00 PM
Marian at Concordia (Wis.)
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M:
5:30 PM
St. Olaf at Wartburg
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6:00 PM
Carthage at Hope
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6:00 PM
Suffolk at St. Joseph's (Maine)
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6:00 PM
Mount St. Vincent at Montclair State
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6:00 PM
Alfred State at SUNY Poly
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6:00 PM
Piedmont at LaGrange
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6:00 PM
Fisher at Becker
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6:30 PM
Marietta at Bethany
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6:30 PM
Framingham State at Curry
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6:30 PM
Medaille at Thiel
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6:30 PM
Covenant at Berea
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7:00 PM
Eastern Mennonite at Ferrum
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7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Salve Regina
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7:00 PM
Oberlin at Baldwin Wallace
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7:00 PM
Franciscan at Washington and Jefferson
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7:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Salem State
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7:00 PM
Wentworth at MIT
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M:
7:00 PM
Marywood at Hood
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7:00 PM
Lancaster Bible at Juniata
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7:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Randolph
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7:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at William Paterson
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7:00 PM
Earlham at Wilmington
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7:00 PM
Trine at St. Francis (Ind.)
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7:00 PM
Centenary (N.J.) at FDU-Florham
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7:00 PM
Moravian at Stockton
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M:
7:00 PM
Norwich at Castleton
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M:
7:00 PM
Worcester State at Mass-Boston
M:
7:00 PM
Penn State-Abington at Gallaudet
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M:
7:00 PM
North Carolina Wesleyan at William Peace
Video
M:
7:00 PM
TCNJ at Drew
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7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Otterbein
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7:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Roanoke
M:
7:00 PM
Baruch at New York University
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7:00 PM
Wilkes at Susquehanna
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7:00 PM
Wheaton (Mass.) at Roger Williams
M:
7:00 PM
DePauw at Rose-Hulman
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7:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Lynchburg
Video
M:
7:00 PM
Defiance at Muskingum
Video Recap
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7:00 PM
La Roche at Geneva
M:
7:00 PM
Virginia Wesleyan at Hampden-Sydney
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M:
7:00 PM
Sage at Elms
Video
M:
7:00 PM
Ky. Christian at Mount St. Joseph
Video
M:
7:00 PM
Cabrini at King's
Video
M:
7:00 PM
Haverford at Rowan
Video
M:
7:00 PM
Neb. Christian at Nebraska Wesleyan
M:
7:00 PM
Huntingdon at Mississippi University for Women
M:
7:00 PM
Chapman at Caltech
M:
7:30 PM
Alvernia at Elizabethtown
Video
M:
7:30 PM
John Carroll at Hiram
Video
M:
7:30 PM
York (N.Y.) at Brooklyn
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7:30 PM
Albright at Rutgers-Newark
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7:30 PM
Ursinus at Kean
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7:30 PM
Heidelberg at Case Western Reserve
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8:00 PM
SUNY-Cobleskill at Union
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8:00 PM
Connecticut College at Trinity (Conn.)
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8:00 PM
Clarkson at SUNY Canton
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8:00 PM
Albion at North Park
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8:00 PM
Blackburn at Illinois College
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8:00 PM
Emory at Birmingham-Southern
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8:00 PM
Aurora at Illinois Tech
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8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Wheaton (Ill.)
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8:00 PM
Dominican at Rockford
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8:00 PM
MSOE at Edgewood
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8:00 PM
Carroll at Chicago
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8:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Benedictine
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8:00 PM
Millikin at Webster
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M:
8:00 PM
Lakeland at Wisconsin Lutheran
M:
8:15 PM
Bethany Lutheran at Buena Vista
Video
M:
8:30 PM
Augustana at UW-Platteville
M:
8:30 PM
Loras at Saint Mary's (Minn.)
M:
10:00 PM
La Verne at Redlands
M:
10:00 PM
Whittier at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Video
M:
10:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Cal Lutheran
Video
W:
2:00 PM
Waynesburg at Pitt-Greensburg
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W:
Final
Mississippi University for Women 3, at Wesleyan (Ga.) 0
W:
2nd half - 13:05
2 Benedictine
0 Concordia-Chicago
W:
2nd half - 45:00
1 Wilmington
0 Earlham
Video
W:
2nd half - 45:00
1 Norwich
2 Colby-Sawyer
Video Live stats
W:
1st half - 24:44
0 Christendom
2 Notre Dame (Md.)
W:
1st half - 14:41
0 Nichols
1 Becker
Video
W:
4:00 PM
Lehman at Medgar Evers
Video
W:
1st half - 17:45
1 Elms
0 Western New England
Video
W:
1st half - 11:57
0 SUNY Delhi
0 Morrisville State
Video
W:
4:00 PM
CCNY at York (N.Y.)
W:
1st half - 23:07
0 Adrian
0 Alma
W:
4:00 PM
Bluffton at Huntington
Video
W:
4:00 PM
Staten Island at John Jay
W:
4:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at DeSales
W:
1st half - 45:00
0 Anderson
0 Trine
W:
4:00 PM
Stockton at Eastern
W:
4:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Cairn
W:
1st half - 11:53
0 Simmons
0 St. Joseph (Conn.)
W:
4:00 PM
Montclair State at Vassar
W:
4:00 PM
Medaille at Thiel
Video
W:
1st half - 18:23
2 Bridgewater State
1 Salve Regina
Video
W:
4:00 PM
William Smith at Misericordia
Video
W:
1st half - 13:00
0 Rutgers-Newark
1 Salisbury
Video
W:
1st half - 43:46
0 Connecticut College
0 Coast Guard
Video
W:
1st half - 43:15
0 Defiance
0 Olivet
W:
4:30 PM
Sweet Briar at Trinity (D.C.)
W:
4:30 PM
Penn State-Behrend at Grove City
Video Live stats
W:
4:30 PM
Allegheny at Geneva
Video
W:
Postponed
Mary Washington at North Carolina Wesleyan
W:
5:00 PM
Penn State-Abington at Gallaudet
Video
W:
5:00 PM
St. Mary's (Md.) at Lynchburg
Video
W:
Cancelled
Methodist at Randolph-Macon
W:
5:00 PM
Mount St. Mary at Ithaca
W:
5:00 PM
Arcadia at Rowan
W:
5:00 PM
Ramapo at Union
W:
5:00 PM
Centenary (N.J.) at King's
Video
W:
Final
at Pfeiffer 6, Southern Virginia 0
Video
W:
5:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at Ripon
Video
W:
5:00 PM
Carleton at Gustavus Adolphus
Video
W:
5:00 PM
Rhodes at Huntingdon
Video
W:
5:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at UW-La Crosse
W:
5:00 PM
Alverno at Dominican
Video Live stats
W:
5:30 PM
Messiah at Elizabethtown
Video
W:
5:30 PM
Clarkson at SUNY Canton
W:
5:30 PM
Emerson at Trinity (Conn.)
W:
5:30 PM
Grinnell at Central
W:
5:30 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
Video
W:
5:30 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Mount Mary
Video
W:
6:00 PM
Oswego State at Rochester
W:
6:00 PM
Piedmont International at Guilford
Video
W:
6:00 PM
Framingham State at Rhode Island College
Video
W:
6:00 PM
Hanover at Spalding
Video
W:
6:00 PM
Suffolk at Albertus Magnus
Video
W:
6:00 PM
Farmingdale State at Western Connecticut
W:
6:00 PM
Wesley at Brooklyn
W:
6:00 PM
Greensboro at Marymount
W:
6:00 PM
Dubuque at UW-Platteville
W:
6:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Saint Mary's (Minn.)
Video
W:
6:00 PM
Simpson at Cornell
W:
6:00 PM
Judson (AL) at Millsaps
Video
W:
6:00 PM
Bethany Lutheran at Buena Vista
Video
W:
6:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at Carthage
Video Live stats
W:
6:00 PM
Webster at Illinois College
W:
6:30 PM
Alvernia at Immaculata
W:
6:30 PM
Westfield State at Keene State
W:
7:00 PM
Mount Holyoke at Wesleyan
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Wheaton (Mass.) at Endicott
W:
7:00 PM
Utica at Nazareth
W:
7:00 PM
McDaniel at Gettysburg
Video Live stats
W:
7:00 PM
Cabrini at Rutgers-Camden
W:
7:00 PM
Rose-Hulman at DePauw
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Randolph at Averett
Video Live stats
W:
7:00 PM
Manchester at Kalamazoo
W:
7:00 PM
Bryn Athyn at Gwynedd-Mercy
Video Live stats
W:
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Stevenson
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Susquehanna at Wilkes
W:
7:00 PM
Penn State-Harrisburg at Penn College
W:
7:00 PM
Widener at Goucher
Video
W:
7:00 PM
WPI at Wentworth
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Thomas More at Centre
W:
7:00 PM
Thomas at Southern Maine
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Juniata at Penn State-Altoona
Video Live stats
W:
7:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at York (Pa.)
Video Live stats
W:
7:00 PM
Bridgewater (Va.) at Frostburg State
Video Live stats
W:
7:00 PM
Chatham at Mount Union
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Ohio Wesleyan
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at Franklin
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Haverford at Muhlenberg
W:
7:00 PM
William Paterson at St. Joseph's (L.I.)
Video
W:
7:00 PM
SUNY-Purchase at Bard
W:
7:00 PM
Bryn Mawr at Washington College
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Moravian at Albright
Video Live stats
W:
7:00 PM
Lasell at Anna Maria
W:
7:00 PM
Knox at UW-Whitewater
W:
7:00 PM
Cal Lutheran at Pomona-Pitzer
W:
7:00 PM
Whitman at Whitworth
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Caltech at Chapman
Video
W:
7:30 PM
Kenyon at John Carroll
W:
7:30 PM
Regis (Mass.) at Johnson and Wales
W:
7:30 PM
Me.-Machias at Maine Maritime
W:
7:30 PM
Transylvania at Maryville (Tenn.)
W:
7:30 PM
FDU-Florham at TCNJ
W:
7:30 PM
St. Norbert at Lawrence
W:
7:30 PM
St. Catherine at Coe
W:
8:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Lakeland
Video
W:
8:00 PM
Illinois Tech at Aurora
Video Live stats
W:
Cancelled
UW-Eau Claire at Luther
W:
8:00 PM
Edgewood at MSOE
Video
W:
8:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Marian
W:
8:00 PM
Wartburg at Augsburg
W:
8:30 PM
Marietta at Bethany
W:
10:00 PM
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Whittier
Recap
W:
10:00 PM
Redlands at La Verne
Wednesday, Sep. 19: All times Eastern
M:
Final
at Mary Washington 2, Catholic 0
M:
6:00 PM
Suffolk at St. Joseph's (Maine)
Video
M:
6:00 PM
Carthage at Hope
Video
M:
7:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Lynchburg
Video
M:
7:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at William Paterson
Video Live stats
M:
7:00 PM
TCNJ at Drew
Video Live stats
M:
8:00 PM
Albion at North Park
Video Live stats
M:
8:00 PM
Carroll at Chicago
M:
8:00 PM
Emory at Birmingham-Southern
M:
10:00 PM
Whittier at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Video
Wednesday, Sep. 19: All times Eastern
W:
4:00 PM
William Smith at Misericordia
W:
5:00 PM
St. Mary's (Md.) at Lynchburg
Video
W:
5:00 PM
Arcadia at Rowan
W:
5:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at UW-La Crosse
W:
5:30 PM
Messiah at Elizabethtown
Video
W:
7:00 PM
Thomas More at Centre
W:
7:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at York (Pa.)
Video Live stats
W:
7:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at Franklin
Video
W:
7:30 PM
FDU-Florham at TCNJ