NORTHEAST KANSAS (KSNT) – College soccer’s not done in northeast Kansas.
Both Washburn University and Emporia State University (ESU) soccer received NCAA tournament bids Monday. Washburn is the 1-seed in the central region, and will host the opening two rounds of the tournament for the first time in program history. Emporia State is the 2-seed after winning the MIAA tournament, and will also host the first two rounds.
Despite the similar seeds, the two teams enter the tournament under very different circumstances.
“We had a really good year last year, but I think missing out kind of fueled the fire this year, and I think it gave the girls a lot of motivation really early on,” Washburn head coach Davy Phillips said. “They’ve been fantastic about staying committed to that throughout the season.”
Washburn is 16-3-1 and entered the MIAA tournament as the top seed. Emporia State is 12-5-4, including three losses in a row early in the season. However, the Hornets ended the regular season with five-straight wins and three more in the MIAA tournament.
“Before the tournament started, we almost had to win to get in,” ESU head coach Bryan Sailer said. “We were in that position, so the fact that we’re a 2-seed after we had to win one game just to find our way in is truly remarkable.”
Washburn starts the postseason against Ouachita Baptist. Emporia State opens against MIAA foe Fort Hays State.