Women’s soccer ousted by NCAA

editorial cartoon by Monica Schwarze

In the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the best teams do not always finish on top. Take a look at one successful Division III team at the University of La Verne which will not get the chance it earned to participate in the soccer championships.

The women’s soccer team finished its season ranked 25th in the nation. With a 16-2-1 record, one might think that the team would be on its way to the Division III playoffs. As it turns out, the women will not be because only two teams from the West were selected to compete. Unfortunately, La Verne was not one of them.

One team that made it, though, is Cal Lutheran, which finished its season No. 1 in SCIAC with a 11-0-1 record, 15-2-2 overall. La Verne was the only team it could not beat, tying the Leos last month, 3-3.

Another school that made it to the playoffs is Washington University of St. Louis, Mo. La Verne beat this team in the preseason, 3-2. Washington finished its season with a 10-5-4 record, yet was selected as one of the top 20. In fact, of the 20 teams selected, 14 had overall records below La Verne’s.

According to the NCAA, the top 20 teams do not always make it into the playoffs. If that is really the case, what then is the purpose of having playoffs? Is it politics? Is it that La Verne is from the West Coast, and therefore lacking respect?

The playoffs should be an opportunity for the best teams to compete against each other, regardless of where they come from.

The La Verne team gave Cal Lu its first ever tie in conference and finished with a better record than both the Regals and UC San Diego (14-2), the two West Coast representatives. The sorry thing is that often these decisions are made because of politics and money. The voting members often think more about the cost of sending the teams to the playoffs rather than if they are sending the most deserving teams.

“I thought they would take one more from here because the other region was weaker like the midwest,” said Head Coach Wendy Zwissler. “Every time a team from the midwest comes to play out here, they lose to the California teams.

“It’s all a matter of money and geographics because we are so far away from the other teams,” she added.

One problem is that this attitude translates to the other sports in the west. La Verne’s football team, for example, is 7-0 and outscoring its opponents by more than 30 points, but has yet to be ranked as one of the top four teams in the region, despite the fact that there are teams of higher ranking with losses. Unfortunately, the only thing guaranteeing a team a place in the playoffs is its league having an automatic berth, which SCIAC football does not have.

It is not fair that La Verne was not given a chance, just because it is from California. Regardless of its location, the women’s soccer team had an extremely successful season. It should be reaping every reward of a team that worked hard and won—especially when it proved to be better and/or just as good as the teams that made it.

There is speculation that the Leopards were not given an invitation because of it past records and the fact that La Verne only had one win in its first five years. However, those days are gone. Considering the success of the program under Zwissler, who has brought the program to the brink of a SCIAC title, it is inexcusable to hold this team accountable for its predecessors, but that is the one thing the NCAA does very well.

Regardless of what the NCAA thinks, the University of La Verne community and the women’s soccer fans know that this year’s team is capable of bringing home a championship. Its season should not be ending, but entering a new phase. If only the NCAA could be more understanding of why the Leos deserve to play.

Coach Zwissler could not convince the NCAA to give her team a chance to go to the playoffs. It is unfortunate that she had to even be in a position of begging to take her winning team to compete with others of its caliber.

There needs to be a better way of selecting teams to go to the playoffs. Letting only the best go seems like a reasonable option. Had it been that easy, La Verne would be there.

Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Campus Times Editorial Board.

Monica Schwarze

Related articles

Sweep lets Leopards reign over Regals

The Leopards kicked off Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play with a 3-0 sweep of Cal Lutheran Friday night at Frantz Athletic Court.

Leopards control the field against Beavers

The Leopards beat the Beavers, 2-0, on Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium to improve their record to 3-3-2.

Athletes look forward to exciting fall season

The fall 2023 season is upon us, and the Leopards are ready to get back to competing. Here is how each team stacks up to start the year.

Baseball gains bid for Regionals after playoff loss

The La Verne baseball team's SCIAC championship season looked just about over when they lost Saturday at Ben Hines Field, 16-8, to Chapman. However on Monday, the Leopards were offered a bid to play in the NCAA Division III championship tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, keeping their tremendous season alive for at least another two games.
Exit mobile version