A season’s worth of hard work and success for the Drexel men’s soccer team has come down to a final showdown against defending regular-season conference champion James Madison University. Unfortunately for the Dragons and the Dukes, Hurricane Sandy forced the match, originally scheduled for Oct. 31 at Vidas Field, to be postponed to Nov. 2 at 7 p.m..
That same night, Old Dominion University will host Northeastern University, and the results of the two matches will determine the winner of the regular-season title. Drexel, Northeastern and JMU are set as the top three seeds of the 2012 CAA Tournament, but the order of the seeding is still up in the air.
Drexel (7-1-1 in CAA, 22 points) currently leads the conference and can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win over JMU (6-1-2 in CAA, 20 points). Drexel could also earn the top seed with a tie against JMU and a tie between Northeastern (6-0-3 in CAA, 21 points) and ODU.
In order for JMU to finish first, the Dukes must win at Drexel, and Northeastern must tie or lose against ODU. Northeastern can claim the top seed with a win at ODU and a tie between Drexel and JMU.
The six-team CAA Tournament field has been set, but the seeding has yet to be determined. Drexel, Northeastern, JMU, Hofstra University, George Mason University and the University of North Carolina Wilmington will represent the CAA at the home field of the No. 1 seed.
JMU and Northeastern are the only 2011 tournament teams that will be returning in 2012. GMU will be making its first postseason appearance since 2008, and Drexel will be making its first since 2007. The University of Delaware and The College of William & Mary, the last two CAA Tournament champions, will be absent from the 2012 field.
The first two games of the CAA Tournament will be played Nov. 5, when the No. 6 seed takes on the No. 3 seed and the No. 5 seed faces the No. 4 seed. Each first-round matchup will be played at the home of the higher-seeded team. The two winners will move on to the semifinals, where the top two seeds will be waiting.
The importance of the No. 1 seed cannot be overlooked because the CAA regular-season champion will host the tournament semifinals and the final game. Due to Hurricane Sandy, the tournament semifinals have been moved from Nov. 8 to Nov. 9, and the final match will now take place Nov. 11 instead of Nov. 10.
Drexel midfielder Nathan Page has a lot on the line in the regular-season finale as well. The junior has scored a goal in six consecutive matches, and he looks to push his scoring streak to seven. Page leads the team with nine goals on the season and would become the Dragons’ first double-digit goal scorer since Phil Karn netted 14 in 1994.
Although Drexel’s all-time record against JMU is just 2-6-2, the Dragons have a 2-2-1 record against the Dukes in their past five meetings. A win would give Drexel its first CAA regular-season championship since 2007 when the Dragons shared the title with ODU.