Lutes Shunned by Tournament Selection Committee
A season that saw Pacific Lutheran tie a single-season record with 14 wins and also finish a strong second in the Northwest Conference came to a crashing end on Sunday when the Lutes were not extended an at-large bid to the Division III men's soccer postseason tournament.
PLU finished its finest season in more than a decade with a 14-5-0 record, including an 11-3-0 record in the conference, good for second place behind Whitworth. By virtue of winning the title, the Pirates received the conference's automatic berth in the postseason tournament.
Head coach John Yorke, his coaching staff and players figured that they had made a strong case for one of 17 at-large "Pool C" bids to the national tournament. Pool C bids go to non-conference champions. Among the Lutes' credentials were regular season wins over Whitworth and Ohio Athletic Conference champion Capital, in addition to strong numbers in the regional rating system.
What kept the Lutes from receiving a Pool C invitation were a number of conference postseason tournament upsets of regular season champions. Several of those schools moved into Pool C consideration that otherwise wouldn't have been there, and they were chosen ahead of the Lutes by the tournament selection committee.
"I'm sick over it. I'm sick for the guys," Yorke said.
Yorke added that an upset lost to last place George Fox in conference play prevented the Lutes from beating Whitworth for the NWC title, which would have assured PLU of its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. "You can't count on the NCAA or the committee. In the end, you have to do it yourself."
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