11:52 AM

UST Men's Soccer vs Chapman

The 2022 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference men's soccer tournament champions, University of St. Thomas-Houston, will appear for the first time in the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship Tournament as the Celts take on Chapman in the opening round. NCAA Release | NCAA Bracket

St. Thomas (14-1-3) earned the SCAC automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs by virtue of winning its second-straight league tournament titles with its 3-1 victory over Trinity. 

The Celts will travel to Belton, Texas, for its opening round contest against Chapman University, the automatic qualifier out of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) on Nov. 12. While this will be the first meeting between the two programs in the NCAA Tournament, the SCAC holds a 6-2 record all-time against SCIAC foes.

“We are proud to be the first team from St. Thomas to reach the NCAA National Tournament,” Head Coach Ian Clerihew said. “This is now an incredible opportunity in front of us to continue our journey this season at national level.”

On the other side of the bracket, Pacific Lutheran (16-3-0), an at-large selection from the Northwest Conference, takes on the American Southwest Conference champion and host of the weekend matches, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (11-2-2).

The winners of the Nov. 12 matches play the following day with a trip to the sectionals on the line. 

St. Thomas got strong performances this season from SCAC Tournament Offensive MVP Daniel Castro and Taty Aleman as the duo combined for 32 of the Celts’ 59 goals and dished out nine assists for 73 total points. On the defensive side, SCAC Tournament Defensive MVP Ivan Leon and Hamilton Estrada lead a Celts defense that allowed just 15 goals for the year and posted a 0.83 goals against average.

“Nothing’s more fun than doing what people said you couldn’t do before,” Sophomore Daniel Castro added. “Now officially a part of NCAA, we keep moving forward!”