Originally Published: November 19, 2014 6:01 a.m.
No. 11 seed Hill College of tiny Hillsboro, Texas, made perhaps the biggest statement on opening day of the NJCAA Division 1 Men's Soccer National Championship tournament, upsetting No. 2 Illinois Central, 2-1, in Group B play.Click here to buy NJCAA Soccer National Tournament ticketsTuesday afternoon at Ken Lindley Field in Prescott, the Rebels became the lowest seed through the first four matches of group play to notch a victory in the 2014 tournament.Hill College, whose program is located in Hillsboro - the county seat of Hill County with a population of 8,486 as of the 2010 census - entered the tournament with an 11-5-2 record.Related: Meet the tournament's 12 qualifying teamsDespite owning an unspectacular overall mark, the Rebels seem to be peaking at the right time in November. They won their fifth game in a row on Tuesday, four of which have come in the postseason.On Oct. 29, Hill needed penalty kicks to edge Western Texas College, 4-3, in the Region 5 title match in Cisco, Texas. The Rebels then moved on to the Plains District Tournament Nov. 6 and 7 in Kansas, where they pitched two shutout victories en route to snagging the district trophy and an automatic bid to nationals.Related: Ken Lindley Field's great moments over the yearsAfter nipping Neosho County (Kansas) Community College, 1-0, in the semifinals on the 6th, the Rebels hammered Coffeyville, 5-0, in the district championship. (Coffeyville, the 12th and final seed here at nationals, succumbed, 3-1, to defending national champ Iowa Western in Group A play on Tuesday.)This afternoon, Hill takes on Trinidad State, the No. 7 seed from Colorado led (in part) by sophomore forward Ricardo Zacarias, who played for tournament host Yavapai College in 2013. With a win over the Trojans (19-2-1), the Rebels would advance to the national semifinals on Saturday and prove that they may indeed be a contender.Follow Doug Cook on Twitter @dougout_dc