Saturday’s National Spotlight – Croup’s Corner

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

 This is fun. Well, kind of.

Point Park will send four teams to nationals from the fall sports season, the most ever in one sports season.

The women’s soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country teams will all represent Point Park at National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Tournaments.

This part is fun.

At the start of the season, on paper, none of these teams were re­ally projected to reach this point.

The men’s cross country team was picked 4th in the Kentucky In­tercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

The women’s cross country team was picked to finish second behind the reigning KIAC champi­on Asbury.

They’re both going to Char­lotte, N.C. for the NAIA Cross Country National Championship Meet this Saturday.

The women’s soccer team was chosen 3rd in the preseason poll. The Pioneers finished the regular season as the No. 2 seed and came out on top as conference champions.

They’re going to top-seeded Lindsey Wilson in the NAIA Na­tional Championship Opening Round this Saturday.

The volleyball team was the favorite in the KIAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, but went on to lose nine straight games. Point Park en­tered the conference tournament as the No. 3 seed and went on to lose in the championship to No. 1 seed and regular season champion Indiana University Kokomo.

Because IU Kokomo was the reg­ular season champion and already claimed an automatic bid to nation­als, Point Park received an automatic bid just by reaching the finals.

They’re going to Georgetown (Ky.) Saturday for the NAIA Opening Round.

Every one of the above men­tioned teams are in action Saturday on the national stage.

Now, this part is not fun:

The only fall sports team not competing on the national stage this weekend is the men’s soccer team.

The Pioneers finished 10-7- 1 and lost in the semifinals of the KIAC Tournament. It was the fifth-straight year Point Park put up a double-digit win total on the field.

But as Kristin Snapp reported in our cover story, the team will forfeit its 2014 season, last year’s 15 wins disappear.

After a player was deemed ineli­gible that played in the 2014 season, the Point Park men’s soccer team from 2014 that went 15-3, reached the KIAC Tournament Finals and was ranked in the NAIA Top 25 now has a 0-18 record – although the record has not been officially changed yet.

It was the winningest season in team history.

But because of an “administrative clerical error,” that season is gone.

Nothing about this situation is ref lective of the teams’ performance on the field. The players still won 15 games and still earned their spot in the NAIA Top 25 Poll.

It’s not their fault. It’s in the past.

More information may become available at a later date, but the team as a whole has to move on.

From the player’s perspective, this sucks. There’s no easier way to put it. This stings. But they still worked for their 15 wins. This story does not take away from the time and effort they put in to their 2014 season.

This is not fun.

Just as they would after a tough loss in a regular season game, the team has to move on and look ahead to next season. This year, and last year for that matter, is over.

While four fall sports teams move on to their respective nation­al tournaments, the men’s soccer team must move this situation and this year’s semifinal tournament loss and begin looking ahead to next year.