Originally Published: November 13, 2013 6:02 a.m.
Yavapai College will carry the No. 4 seed into the National Junior College Athletic Association's (NJCAA) Division 1 Men's Soccer National Tournament held next Monday, Nov. 18, through Saturday, Nov. 23, in Tyler, Texas.
The seven-time national champion Roughriders are part of a 12-team field that begins the tourney with a pool-play round at Tyler Junior College's Pat Hartley Soccer Complex next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
This tournament features four pools of three teams each.
The qualifying squads include: No. 1 seed Iowa Western, No. 2 and defending national champion Tyler (Texas), No. 3 San Jacinto (Texas), Yavapai, No. 5 Eastern Florida, No. 6 Cincinnati State (Ohio), No. 7 ASA of Brooklyn, N.Y., No. 8 Lewis & Clark (Ill.), No. 9 Burlington County (N.J.), No. 10 Cloud County, No. 11 Essex-Baltimore County (Md.) and No. 12 Ranger (Texas).
YC is in Pool D with Burlington County and Eastern Florida.
West District champion Yavapai (18-2-4 overall record) will battle Northeast District champ Burlington County (No. 9 seed; 15-2-2 record) in its opening match at 2 p.m. Arizona time next Monday.
The Riders will then move on to lock horns with Southeast District titlist Eastern Florida (No. 5, 14-1-1) at 2 p.m. next Wednesday.
Both games will be played on the Hartley Complex's artificial turf field. Yavapai coach Mike Pantalione said his program has never faced Burlington County and Eastern Florida in its 25-year history.
After an off day next Thursday, the Hartley Soccer Complex's grass field will be used for the national semifinal and national championship games next Friday and Saturday nights, respectively, weather permitting.
Next Friday's first national semifinal will pit the tournament's highest remaining seed versus its lowest remaining seed at 4 p.m. The second national semi will feature the second-highest remaining seed vs. the second-lowest remaining seed at 6 p.m.
The losers of both semifinal matches will conclude the tournament tied for third place.
In next Saturday's national championship match, the winner of Game 13 will take on the winner of Game 14 at 5 p.m., also on the grass field, weather permitting.
Other 2013 national tournament teams that Yavapai has never taken on include Cloud County, Ranger, Cincinnati State and ASA.
However, Pantalione said that the Roughriders own a 10-1-0 all-time record against five of the 12 squads, including 4-0-0 vs. Tyler, 3-1-0 vs. San Jacinto (win came in the 2008 national championship match), 1-0-0 vs. Essex-Baltimore County, 1-0-0 vs. Lewis & Clark and 1-0-0 vs. Iowa Western.
Three former Roughriders will be inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame during the national tournament banquet this Sunday evening. They include Kobie Washington (attacker, 1990-91), Josh Westermann (defender, 2002-03) and Tim Kelly (defender, 2005-06).
Follow Doug Cook on Twitter: @dougout_dc