Willamette will Open NCAA Tournament against Mary Hardin-Baylor in Texas

Alan Hernandez (Sr., F, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS)
Alan Hernandez (Sr., F, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Willamette University men's soccer team, co-champion of the Northwest Conference, will take on the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament. The Bearcats will play UMHB on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. (CST) on the campus of Trinity University (Texas) in San Antonio.

Trinity will take on the University of Texas-Tyler in the other first round game in San Antonio on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. (CST). The two first round winners will meet in the second round on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.

Willamette is 10-6-2 overall, including 10-3-2 in its last 15 games. The Bearcats finished 9-3-2 in the NWC. Mary Hardin-Baylor is 15-2-1 on the season. The Cru went 10-1-0 in the American Southwest Conference and defeated Texas-Tyler, 1-0, in the championship game of the ASC Tournament.

Trinity is 20-1-0 on the season and ranked #2 in the NCAA Division III National Poll released on Oct. 31 by the United Soccer Coaches. Trinity went 13-1-0 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and won the SCAC Tournament. UT-Tyler owns an 11-3-3 overall record and was 9-1-1 in the ASC.

The NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament includes 62 teams. Forty-two teams, including Willamette, Mary Hardin-Baylor and Trinity won conference titles. One team was selected from a conference without an automatic bid (University of Wisconsin-Platteville), and 19 teams were at-large selections, including UT-Tyler.

Willamette scored 22 goals and allowed 18 goals during the season. After losing the first three games of the season by a combined 8-0 score in California, the Bearcats allowed just 10 goals in their final 15 games and ended the regular seaso with seven shutouts. The Bearcats were 6-1-1 at Sparks Field on the Willamette campus. WU opened NWC action with six consecutive wins and nine games without a loss.

Max Berner-Hays (Fr., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) led the Bearcats in scoring with six goals and one asssist for 13 total points. Nicholas Ballenger (So., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS) was second with three goals and four assists for 10 points. Alan Hernandez (Sr., F, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS) ranked first on the team with five assists. Mack van der Velde (Fr., M, Voorhout, Neth./Summit HS, Bend, OR) tied Ballenger for second on the team with three goals scored.