Williams College women's soccer to host Cal-Lutheran in NCAA Division III Sweet 16

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When the Williams College women's soccer team beat Brandeis Sunday afternoon, it knew it would be advancing in the NCAA Division III tournament. It did not know who it would be playing or where.

"It might not be [Sunday] night. It might be [Monday]. We'll definitely get a scout, and can't wait to see. Hopefully we'll be back on Cole next weekend," Williams coach Michelyne Pinard said.

Done, and done.

The Ephs found out that they would be hosting the Round of 16 this weekend at Cole Field, and Williams will play its first game against Cal Lutheran on Saturday at 11 a.m. The second game of the doubleheader will feature Johns Hopkins and SUNY Geneseo at 1:30 p.m.

The regional championship game will be Sunday, and the winner of that heads to the Division III Final Four, to be played in Greensboro, N.C., in December.

Of the three teams that are coming to the northwest corner of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, two of them are nationally ranked.

Johns Hopkins arrives with a No. 11 national ranking in the United Soccer Coaches national Division III poll, while Geneseo is 12th.

Williams dropped from fourth to sixth in the Nov. 7 national rankings.

The Ephs are, however, the only regional No. 1 team coming to Cole Field. Geneseo, Cal Lutheran and Johns Hopkins were all No. 2 in their respective regions.

The Cal Lutheran Regals (16-3-3) had lost in the semifinal round of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament, and entered the NCAAs as an at-large team.

The Regals, another purple-wearing squad, beat UC-Santa Cruz 2-0 and then battled Pacific Lutheran to a 1-1 draw, before advancing 5-4 on penalty kicks.

Coach Frank Marino is in his ninth year at Cal Lutheran. It is the school's 13th NCAA tournament appearance, and its first since 2013.

SUNY Geneseo (18-1-2) needed overtime to get out of its sectional. Geneseo beat Penn State-Berks 2-1 in overtime and then eliminated Misericordia 1-0 in double overtime. The Knights were the SUNYAC champions.

Coach Nate Wiley is in his 12th season. Geneseo hosted a sectional for the first time in six trips to the tournament.

Johns Hopkins (17-2-3), also entered as an at-large team.

In the NCAA tourney, the Blue Jays beat Wilkes 2-0 and Staten Island 4-1.

It is the ninth Sweet 16 for coach Leo Weil, who has been at the Johns Hopkins helm since the program was started in 1992.

He has led the Blue Jays to 16 NCAA Division III tournament appearances, nine consecutive trips to the Sweet 16, and a national semifinal appearance in 2014, losing to Williams 1-0.

In fact, the Blue Jays are 1-2 against the Ephs in the NCAA Tournament.

Johns Hopkins lost 2-1 in 2016 in the Round of 16, but beat Williams 2-1 in double overtime in the Round of 16 back in 2013.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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