Golden Bears to host first round bracket

WVU Tech's men's soccer team watches the selection show to find out who it will be playing in the NAIA national tournament Monday at the Kelley-Barrett Hall of Fame in Beckley. They will play Saturday 3 p.m. at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex against the winner of Friday's match between Madonna (Mich.) and Cumberlands (Ky.).(Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald)

WVU Tech has achieved three of its goals this season.

The first two — winning both the River States Conference regular season and tournament championships — are now in the past. The third will come to fruition this weekend.

The Golden Bears will serve as one of 15 host schools for the first round of the NAIA national tournament starting Friday. Madonna (Mich.) will take on University of the Cumberlands Friday at 3 p.m.

The winner will take on Tech Saturday, also at 3 p.m. Both games will be played at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex in Beckley.

Tech (17-0-2) goes in as the overall No. 9 seed.

The last time Tech hosted a national tournament game was three years ago when it defeated Olivet Zazerene 2-1 on Nov. 19, 2016.

All campus-site bracket winners will move on to Irvine, Calif., starting Dec. 2. That's the fourth goal on Tech's list.

The Golden Bears clinched the automatic berth with last Saturday's tournament championship win over Rio Grande. The game was tied 1-1 after two overtimes before Tech won 5-4 on penalty kicks.

It has already been a special season for Tech, which cracked the Top 25 on Oct. 9 for the first time since being ranked in the 2017 preseason poll.

"You always hope for this, and we work for it," Tech interim head coach Oliver Hewitt-Fisher said. "But for it to actually happen, yeah, we couldn't ask for anything more.

"I don't think (going undefeated) has ever happened for us before, so to go the whole season undefeated and to win four or five games in overtime and to win (Saturday) on PKs, everything seems to be going our way."

Madonna (16-4-3) lost 1-0 to Indiana Tech in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference championship game. Bruno Piva de Castro leads the Crusaders with 13 points on three goals and seven assists. Yuri Farkas Gugliemi and Breno Stapcinskas have both scored a team-high five goals. Keeper Joe Smith has made 78 saves in 20 games and has a goals against average of .48.

University of the Cumberlands (10-6-2) fell to Lindsey Wilson in a shootout in the Mid-South Conference semifinals. This will be the team's first NAIA national tournament appearance.

The Patriots hosted Tech on Sept. 14, with the Golden Bears taking a 3-2 victory. Martin van der Made has scored 15 goals for Cumberlands and has 38 points.

Defending national champion Central Methodist is the No. 1 overall seed. Westmont will join the 15 bracket winners in Irvine as the tournament host.

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