Men’s Soccer Ready to Defend National Championship

#8 Seed Belhaven Hosts Opening Round of National Tournament

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-The Belhaven men’s soccer team will host the University of St. Thomas (TX) in the 2013 NAIA National Championship Opening round on Saturday at H.T. Newell Field. The Blazers were awarded the number eight seed when the official bracket was announced by the national office on Monday. Saturday’s kickoff is slated for 7:30 PM.

Belhaven is making its 10th overall appearance in the national tournament and has an all-time record of 14-8-4 in NAIA National Tournament play, including National Championships in 1992 and 2012. The Blazers defeated Tennessee Wesleyan College 5-0 in the 2012 NAIA National Championship Opening Round and ultimately advanced to the championship contest, defeating the University of Mobile 2-0 for the programs second national title.

This will mark the second time that Belhaven has played St. Thomas in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. The Blazers defeated the Celts 2-1 in 2010, the first opening round appearance for the program in the new national championship tournament format. Belhaven is unbeaten at 3-0 in opening round games in the new format.

St. Thomas enters the tournament with an overall record of 13-3-2 and punched their ticket to the field of 32 by winning the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. This is the second appearance by the Celts and first since 2010 when they played the Blazers at H.T. Newell Field. They are looking for their first win in national tournament play entering this weekend’s game with a record of 0-1.

The National Championship Opening Round will be comprised of 32 teams playing at 16 on-campus sites on Nov. 23. The winners of the National Championship Opening Round games will advance to the final site from Dec. 2 – Dec. 7 in Montgomery, Ala. The 15 final site contests will take place at the Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex.

The official NAIA National Championship bracket can be viewed by clicking here.

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