Men's Soccer Gets 1st Round NCAA Bye; Will Host Second-Round Game

Montclair, NJ (11/9/09) – For the fourth straight season, the Montclair State men's soccer team received a first-round bye as the bracket for the 2009 NCAA Division III Championship was unveiled on Monday morning.

The NJAC champion Red Hawks (17-1-2) will face Stevens or York College (NY) in the second round of the tournament at Sprague Field on Sunday, November 15 at MSU Soccer Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm. Stevens (15-3-1) and York (12-7-0) will sqaure off on Thursday, November 12 in Hoboken. The winner of Sunday's contest moves on to the NCAA Sectional Tournament which will be held on November 20-22 at sites to be determined. The Final Four is set for December 4-5 at Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio, Texas.

Montclair State earned its way back to the NCAA Tournament for a fourth straight year as the Red Hawks became the first team in 21 years to win four consecutive NJAC championships as they blanked Rowan, 1-0. Senior defender William Griffin (Bloomfield, NJ / St. Peter's Prep) scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the 16th minute as Montclair also captured the league's automatic bid with the victory. The victory was also the 129th for head coach Brian Sentowski, who became the all-time winningest coach in MSU history with the win.

This will be MSU's 10th trip to the Division III Tournament (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) and its 13th overall. Montclair went to three NCAA College Division Tournaments in 1968, 1969 and 1972. The Red Hawks are 7-11-1 in those 13 appearances, 5-8-1 in the Division III tournament. Montclair has advanced to the Sectional Tournament in each of the past three seasons.

In 2006, the Red Hawks knocked off Wesleyan, 1-0 in the second round before being ousted in penalty kicks by Dominican. The past two years, it was Messiah College ending Montclair's season. In 2007, the Falcons edged MSU 1-0 in Gratham in the Sectional Final and last year handed the Red Hawks their only loss of the season, 1-0 in double overtime in the Sectional Semifinal at Christopher Newport University.

Stevens, the 2008 NCAA Division III runner-up, returned to the NCAA Tournament after capturing the Empire 8 Championship on Sunday. Senior forward Terrence Johnson scored the game-winner in the 89th minute to lift the Ducks to a 2-1 win over top-seeded Nazareth College in Empire 8 Men’s Soccer Championship on Sunday afternoon in Rochester, N.Y. Junior Bryan De Faria assisted on the deciding tally as the Ducks advance to their seventh-straight NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship. Johnson was named the championship game’s Most Valuable Player, tallying both Stevens goals.

York punched its ticket as the Cardinals won their sixth CUNYAC Championship, the most of any CUNYAC school, with a 1-0 victory over Hunter. York’s Francisco Florez broke the scoreless tie in the 58th minute.  Junior Elysee Vilsaint set up Florez in the box, directly in front of the keeper. Florez then floated the ball high to the near post, just out of reach of the goalkeeper and into the net for the game-winning goal.  

Whichever team advances to the second round will be an unfamiliar opponent for Montclair State. The Red Hawks and Stevens have met seven times with MSU holding a 6-1 advantage in the series. However, they have not played since the 1997 season when Montclair State posted a 4-0 victory. The Red Hawks have never faced York (NY).