The Columbia Cougars enter the NAIA National tournament with the #2 seed, just behind #1 Central Methodist who are the defending champions. It’s a position they have held the past eight weeks as The 61st NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship opens in Irvine, CA. The team opens play Tuesday at 1:00 pm against Baker (KS) in a game that can be seen via the NAIA Live Stream ($) . Baker returns to the Sweet Sixteen for the sixth time in seven seasons. NAIA Nationals Preview
Cougars finish 23-1 in the National semifinal, most successful team ever
Men’s Soccer Season Ends in National Championships Semifinals https://t.co/SKgaAzXiXH
— Columbia Cougars (@ColumbiaCougars) December 7, 2019
For the third-time in four years, the Columbia Cougars won the American Midwest Conference (AMC) Championship Title, earning the bid to the National Tournament. Columbia is one of two teams who enter the NAIA tourney with undefeated records, posting a current overall record of 21-0-0. They achieved that mark with a strong defense, ranking first in goals allowed per game with 0.38 while posting 14 shutouts this year. The team has delivered on their priority in this regard.
Quarterfinal game-winner, assisted by Joey Spotanski (FZS/Sporting STL)
— NAIA (@NAIA) December 5, 2019
Quarterfinal equalizer by Joey Spotanski (FZS/Sporting STL)
Cougars Advance to Quarterfinals After Double Overtime Victory https://t.co/1vlS6Unz0j
— Columbia Cougars (@ColumbiaCougars) December 4, 2019
The team last faced Baker at the 2017 tournament, winning 1-0. The Columbia Missourian notes Baker could get the upset.
Castello Appeared and started in 20 games as a freshman. Finished the season with 2 goals and 4 assists for 8 total point. He has 19 starts in 2019 while providing seven assists
Spotanski Appeared in 20 games getting the start in 7 as a freshman… Finished the season with 2 goals for 4 total points while in 2019 he has played in 16 games with six goals (two game-winners) and two assists. His most recent goal came in the opening round of the tournament, played at home against Embry-Riddle, a 2-1 win that sent the team to California this week.
Filla Appeared in 17 games getting the start in 4 as a junior and he has five starts in 13 matches this season
Marion has appeared in 19 games this season
The team would play the winner of Madonna (MI) and #7 OK Wesleyan on Wednesday at 6:00 pm if they advance. That would be followed by the semifinal on Friday at 8:30 pm with the Final scheduled for Saturday at 8:00 pm.