The University of Charleston’s men’s soccer team is set to take on the University of Indianapolis in an NCAA Division II tournament semifinal match at 10 p.m. Thursday at Switchbacks Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Thursday will mark UC’s (19-1-2) third Final Four appearance since 2017. The Golden Eagles were champions in their last two Final Fours (2017, 2019).
In DII college soccer, the final four teams are reseeded for the semifinals. The new seedings were announced Sunday afternoon and UC earned a No. 2 seed. Indianapolis is the No. 3 seed.
“We’re kind of pleased with [the seeding],” UC coach Daniel Smee said. “We were kind of holding out hope that we would be the No. 1 seed, but we don’t really think it matters too much. All four teams are good.”
The other semifinal game features No. 1 seed Cal State-Los Angeles taking on No. 4 seed Nova Southeastern. That game will start at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Indianapolis (18-1-2), out of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, defeated Fort Hays State 2-0 in the Super Region 3 championship on Saturday to earn its second-straight Final Four appearance. Smee said he has some familiarity with the Greyhounds.
“I actually coached one of their players over the summer for West Virginia United,” Smee said. “We’ve been keeping up with their results all year. They were obviously in the Final Four in 2019, which is another reason we’ve kept up with them. We’re looking forward to the game. It should be a good one.”
Indianapolis has outscored its opponents 54-15 this season. The Greyhounds’ biggest offensive threat is Alejandro Steinwascher, who has 14 goals, 10 assists and 38 points in his 21 games played this season.
Indy’s goalkeeper, Dimitrios Karousos, has allowed just 13 goals in 19 games with nine shutouts and 16 wins.
UC hasn’t had much time to rest in the last week or so. The Golden Eagles played two games in the span of three days in the Atlantic Regional in Rindge, New Hampshire, and both of those games went about as long as possible.
On Dec. 2, UC downed Davis & Elkins in penalty kicks and then turned around to defeat Millersville in double overtime on Dec. 4. From there, the Golden Eagles did not return to Charleston.
It made more logistical sense, instead, to take a bus from New Hampshire to Hartford, Connecticut, and fly from there to Colorado for the Final Four.
“We found out before Saturday’s game that there would be no return flight to Charleston or Ohio until Sunday morning,” Smee said. “As soon as we knew that, we decided it wouldn’t make sense to travel back to Charleston on Sunday just to fly out on Monday to head back to Colorado.”
UC left on two separate flights from Hartford on Monday morning and arrived in Colorado for a practice session that started Monday evening. Smee said with the hectic schedule, the team is using the week to recover and get healthy.
“We fought in two physically demanding, psychologically demanding games over 48 hours last week,” Smee said. “We’re just trying to recover as best we can and get our guys as healthy as possible. We think if we’re as close to 100% healthy as possible we have a good chance to win the game.”