McPherson College’s men’s soccer team journeys to Altoona, Iowa, for its opening-round game of the NAIA National Tournament.
The Bulldogs take on Grand View University of Iowa at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Spring Creek Complex, 7796 NE 38th Ave.
The Bulldogs were the KCAC co-champions during the regular season with Kansas Wesleyan, then defeated the Coyotes 2-1 in the thrilling championship game of the postseason tournament to earn the automatic berth.
The victory moved the Bulldogs into the national rankings for the first time this year at 14-3-2.
The Bulldogs started the season somewhat slow, but have gone 10-0-2 over their last 12 games and have outscored their foes 35-9 in the process.
The Bulldog defense has been tremendous, as their 10 shutouts in 19 games ranks seventh in the country.
Doug Quint, KCAC Coach of the Year, has a team led by the conference’s Most Valuable Player (Oscar Cortez), the Offensive Player of Year and Newcomer of the Year (Alex Ronneburg) and the KCAC Co-Freshman of the Year (Tanner Horton). Eight Bulldogs in all were named to some type of KCAC mention.
Ronneburg leads the Bulldogs with 11 goals and 9 assists. McPherson High grad Nick Torres is second with 9 goals and 4 assists, while Cortez (5-8) and Kevin Ndongo (6, 2) are other offensive threats.
Gran View is the No. 3 seed and it was sixth in the final rankings. The Vikings are 16-2-1 and have won their last five in a row.
The only common opponent for the teams is Westminister College of Utah, a team the Bulldogs defeated 1-0 while the Vikings were a 3-0 winner. Grand View had eight players earn league honors.
The winner of the opening-round contest will travel to Delray Beach, Fla., for the second round of the NAIA National Championships, which are scheduled for Dec. 1-2.