Soccer hosts Central Regional

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Senior midfielder Kayla Shain (4) is third on the team in points this season. (Photo by ANDREW MATHER, Photo Editor)

Story by Alex Agueros, for The Muleskinner
The No. 12 Jennies Soccer team earned the top seed in the NCAA Division-II Tournament, earning a first round bye, and home field advantage throughout the Central Region portion of the tournament.
The team hopes to carry their regular season attitude and success into the tournament.
“It is nice hosting and having a bye in tournament play,” senior midfielder Kayla Shain said. “We’re grateful going into the tournament, and we like our chances, but the mentality won’t change just because we are a higher seed. We’re taking it one game at a time.”
Head coach Lewis Theobald shares this focused attitude, noting that every school in the tournament boasts talented teams.
“The reality is there’s not a lot of difference between one and six (seeds),” Theobald said. “All the teams here are good. What is good is the first round bye and home field.”
During Theobald’s six years as head coach, the Jens have played in the tournament five times. One season saw the Jens advance into the Sweet Sixteen, and another season had a top-seeded Jens team exit after one game.
Theobald explained those experiences separate this team from past seasons.
“Experience is big,” Theobald said. “The returning players have all been in this environment. It’s a tough tournament to win in, and we can draw on our experience.”
Theobald also says the team’s rigorous regular season schedule factors into their tournament’s success.
“[The top seed] speaks volumes to the strength of our schedule,” Theobald said. “Our preparation has been good, and we’ve played at a high level all season. We won’t be overwhelmed.”
The four-seed Minot State (15-3-3) will play the five-seed Southwestern Oklahoma (19-0-1) at 1 p.m. on Friday. The Jens will face the winner of that match at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Both matches are at the South Recreation Complex.