Less than 24 hours after posting the program's first conference championship, the Cal State Stanislaus men's soccer team learned that it will be heading to the NCAA Championships for the first time.
The Warriors are seeded No. 4 in the West Region, which is part of the Super Region No. 4 with three teams from the South Central. Cal State Stanislaus (11-4-3) will face No. 5 Notre Dame de Namur (13-4-1) of Belmont, Thursday at 7 p.m. in Hayward.
Cal State East Bay will serve as host of this half of the regional bracket since top-seed Simon Fraser (Burnaby, B.C.) is unable to do so across borders. Simon Fraser (16-1-1) awaits Thursday night's winner for a second round match on Saturday at 7 p.m.
"This is new for the school and it's awesome for you guys, I am so proud of you and so happy for you," said head coach Dana Taylor as he addressed the team following the selection show viewing in the team room. "This was one of your goals for the year. You wanted to win conference, you knocked that off. You wanted to play in the national tournament and now you are there!"
As the Warriors watched Cal State Stanislaus appear on the bracket, the room erupted into song and dance. Then, when they realized who they are playing, Notre Dame de Namur, more cheering and clipping went on. Finally, once the team realized that the match will be close to home, they were again elated.
In an unusual situation, Simon Fraser, the top-seed team, has asked Cal State East Bay to host the three-team affair at Pioneer Stadium.
"This is practically a home game for us but it is also a home game for (NDNU)," Taylor added. "There will be a lot of fans there from both sides and we just have to be ready and play our game."
The Warriors are familiar with Pioneer Stadium. They posted a 1-0 victory back on Oct. 7 against Cal State East Bay. In the last four seasons, the Warriors are 3-0-1 on the Pioneer Stadium turf field.
The last time Stanislaus played NDNU in a match that counted was the beginning of the 2011 season, a 2-1 Warriors win. The two teams did play in a scrimmage prior to the start of the 2012 season in Belmont.
On the other half of the West Region bracket, No. 2 Grand Canyon will host No. 3 Seattle Pacific and No. 6 Cal State L.A. in Phoenix, also on Thursday and Saturday.