Soccer’s playoff push – Croup’s Corner

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

Both Point Park soccer teams are in line to host a playoff game this year.

The men and women both had difficult schedules, but have stepped up to the challenge thus far.

The women currently hold first place in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) with a 6-0 record in conference play and a 10-4-2 overall record. Three of the four Pioneer losses came against teams in the top 25 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) polls.

Point Park’s difficult non-conference schedule prepared the team for KIAC play.

Through its first six conference games, Point Park allowed just two goal, shutting out four opponents by a combined score of 32-2.

That’s good.

The women have two more conference games left this year against Asbury (Ky.) and West Virginia Tech who are second and third respectively in the conference.

Point Park controls its own destiny to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. A first or second place finish in the regular season gives Point Park a first round bye in the conference tournament. The winner of the KIAC Tournament earns an automatic bid to the national tournament.

The men have a tougher road to nationals than the women do.

The men entered the week with a 7-6-1 overall record and 2-2 KIAC record which puts them in third place in the conference.

Point Park’s two conference losses came against current No. 1 ranked Rio Grande (Oh.) and West Virginia Tech. The Pioneers are in position, if they win out, to host the KIAC quarterfinal game.

Both the three and four seeds in the conference host the quarterfinal game. A win in the quarterfinals would give Point Park a rematch with either West Virginia Tech or Rio Grande, depending on where they fall in the final regular season standings.

As of now, they control their own destiny to hold the third seed.

The challenge will then be getting past West Virginia Tech, who shut out Point Park 2-0 earlier this year, and/or Rio Grande, who shut out Point Park 4-0 this year.

Not only did Rio Grande shut out Point Park, the Red Storm have since earned a unanimous number one ranking in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. Rio sits at 16-1, 6-0 KIAC and is the obvious favorite to win the tournament.

Last year, however, Point Park handed Rio its only regular season conference loss. Rio got its revenge in the conference tournament championship when the Red Storm defeated Point Park 3-2.

There is no telling how far each team will go in their conference tournaments.

As of now, they are both in good positions to have good starts in the tournaments.