YC soccer learns opponent

The undefeated and No. 2-ranked Yavapai College men's soccer team kicks off the NJCAA National Tournament against a familiar foe next Thursday.

The Roughriders (22-0-1) lock horns in the tournament's quarterfinals with fifth-ranked Mercer County of New Jersey (13-2-3) ‹ an opponent Yavapai has faced in the national championship match six times since 1991. Action takes place at Pat Hartley Field on the campus of Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas.

Next Thursday at 11 a.m. Arizona time, five-time national champion and No. 2 seed YC opens the tourney by tackling Mercer in the first of the tournament's four quarterfinal match-ups.

In the other first-round pairings Nov. 16, No. 3 seed Louisburg (N.C.) butts heads with Northern Oklahoma at 1 p.m., No. 4 seed Illinois Central takes on Jefferson (Mo.) at 3 and top-seeded Georgia Perimeter ‹ the defending national champ ‹ meets DuPage (Ill.) at 5.

Winners of these matches advance to Friday's semifinal round. The victor of the Yavapai-Mercer contest will battle the Louisburg-Northern Oklahoma winner at 3 p.m. The winner of Illinois Central-Jefferson clashes against the victor of Georgia Perimeter-DuPage at 5. Quarterfinals losers drop into Friday's consolation round.

Semifinal winners will compete for the national championship trophy next Sunday at noon.

Look for a full preview of the 2006 NJCAA Division I Soccer Tournament in next week's Courier Sports.