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Monday, October 31, 2005

WVIAC Soccer Tournament Preview

Shepherd will be an unaccustomed target this week as the #21 Rams enter the WVIAC Men's Soccer Tournament as the top seed. SU sewed up a WVIAC regular season title on Saturday with a 4-0 win at Charleston, but the road to the school's first-ever conference title could be rough. Six teams entered the regular season's final weekend with hopes of capturing the top seed and seven of the league's eight
teams finished at .500 or better in WVIAC play.

#8 seed Ohio Valley will travel to Shepherd in one of Tuesday's four
first round matchups. #2 seed Alderson-Broaddus hosts archrival #7 West Virginia Wesleyan. #3 Wheeling Jesuit welcomes #6 Charleston to the Northern Panhandle. #4 Salem International will be at home against #5 Davis & Elkins in the final opening round match. The semifinals are
slated for Thursday with the championship match set for Saturday. All
matches are hosted by the highest seed.

SU, the Appalachian Region's #4 team, has spent much of the latter part
of the season in the national rankings. The high scoring Rams have
outscored their opponents 72-17 in 2005 to post a school record 16 wins
against only two losses and a tie. Richard Smith leads the Rams with 16 goals, while Jamie Ritchie has contributed 11 goals and 17 assists. SU claimed an 8-0 win over opening round foe Ohio Valley on October 1
behind Ritchie's hat trick.

West Virginia Wesleyan has won seven WVIAC Tournament championships
since 1995, but the Bobcats have an uphill climb as the #7 seed. They
will face backyard rival Alderson-Broaddus on the Battlers' home pitch.
Senior Hans Schubert is a leader for an A-B side that has won four of
their past six contests. However, Wesleyan won the regular season
meeting 3-1 in Buckhannon on October 4.

#3 seed Wheeling Jesuit is peaking as the Cardinals posted a 7-1-1
record in October to overcome a slow start. WJU's roll began on October 1 with a wild 5-4 win at first round opponent Charleston. The Golden Eagles are the defending tournament champions, but UC has not been able to overcome a tough schedule in 2005.

#5 Davis & Elkins pays a visit to #4 Salem International in the final
first round battle. The Tigers won the first meeting 4-1 on the road
behind three second half scores. However, SIU stumbles into the
postseason on a five-match losing skid.

Tuesday, November 1
#8 Ohio Valley (4-13-1, 0-6-1) at #1 Shepherd (16-2-1, 5-2)
#5 Davis & Elkins (5-10-3, 3-3-1) at #4 Salem International (7-8-1, 4-3)
#6 Charleston (4-13-1, 3-3-1) at #3 Wheeling Jesuit (10-8-1, 4-3)
#7 West Virginia Wesleyan (5-10-3, 2-2-3) at #2 Alderson-Broaddus (9-9, 4-3)

Thursday, November 3
WVIAC Tournament semifinals at higher seeds TBA

Saturday, November 5
WVIAC Tournament championship at highest seed TBA

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