The Mount Vernon Nazarene College men's soccer team arrived in Pensacola, Florida, on Tuesday and made its final preparations for the 1998 National Christian College Athletic Association National Tournament which will get under way on the campus of the University of West Florida beginning on Wednesday morning.
The Cougars (17-7), who enter the tournament as the fourth seed after winning the NCCAA East Region Tournament, are making their first-ever appearance in the tournament. The 1998 season is the program's 20th season, and MVNC has marked that anniversary with new school records for victories (17), shutouts (12), and goals scored (88).
The Cougars will square off against fifth-seeded Lee (TN) University at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday in first round action. The Flames (11-10-1) earned their berth in the tournament after winning the NCCAA South Region Tournament. This will mark the first meeting between these two schools in men's soccer.
In other first round matches, top-seeded East Texas Baptist University (19-0-1) will take on eighth-seeded Union (TN) University at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday. The Tigers advanced as the NCCAA Central Region champions, while the Bulldogs (6-12-2) were an upset winner of the NCCAA Mid-East Region Tournament.
Cumberland (KY) College, the second seed and only at-large team in the tournament, will face seventh-seeded Cedarville College (7-12), the NCCAA Midwest Region winner, at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The Indians (13-6-1) lost to Union in the championship match of the NCCAA Central Region Tournament. They also defeated MVNC 2-0 earlier this season in the championship match of the 1998 Pizza Hut Cougar Invitational.
The final first round match will feature third-seeded Judson (IL) College versus sixth-seeded Christian Heritage (CA) College at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The Eagles (17-7-1) won the NCCAA North Central Region title, while the Hawks (15-5) claimed the NCCAA West Region championship.
Each team will play three matches in the tournament with the winners advancing to face each other, while the losing teams go into the consolation bracket. The Cougars will play at either 2:00 or 8:00 p.m. in Thursday's second round with the final round being played on Saturday.