The UT Tyler women's soccer squad and the men's and women's cross country teams begin what they hope is a long journey in the NCAA postseason this weekend.
The Patriot soccer squad, under coach Stefani Webb, competes in the NCAA Division III tournament for the second straight year on Friday in San Antonio, while the cross country teams, under coach Bob Hepler, are headed to Winchester, Virginia for their regional on Saturday.
Also, the UT Tyler women's basketball team will play the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks in an exhibition on Friday in Nacogdoches, while the Patriot men's hoops team opens its season Sunday against Texas Lutheran in Seguin.
Trinity University will be hosting the first round of NCAA D-III soccer tournament in the Alamo City.
The No. 6-ranked Patriots (17-1-1) will meet No. 1 Trinity (19-0-1) at 5 p.m. Friday. Hardin-Simmons (17-2-1) plays the University of California-Santa Cruz (5-10-2) at 7:30 p.m. The first-round winners advance to Saturday's second round, slated for 6 p.m.
Saturday's winner moves on to Sectionals Nov. 20-22.
UT Tyler and Trinity will be meeting for the second time this season with the teams playing to a 1-1 tie on Sept. 11. Nikki Gordon scored the tying goal for UT Tyler off an assist from Chestley Strother in the 58th minute after TU's Julia Camp gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with a 16th minute goal.
The Patriots are making their second trip to the national postseason after a season where it has already set program records for wins (17), goals (82), assists (56), points per game (11.58), assists per game (2.95), shots (612), shots on goal (294) and is one shy of matching the program record with 13 shutouts.
Last year, Trinity scored a 3-0 win over the Patriots in the first round.
Strother, a senior from Whitehouse, leads the Patriots with a program-record 17 assists this season and 32 in her career. Morgan Monzingo, a junior from Cedar Hill, paces the Pats with 15 goals and comes into the national tournament with 29 career goals.
The American Southwest Conference champion Patriots (both men and women) will be competing in the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional meet at Kernstown Battlefield.
This will be the eighth regional meet for the UT Tyler men, while the women will be competing for a sixth time.
UT Tyler's men's team will be represented by Matthew Markert (senior, Lucas), Conner Benson (senior, Humble), Gerardo Viera (senior, Mesquite), Steven Harvey (junior, Statesboro, Georgia), Justin Tokuz (freshman, Rockwall), Andrew Hernandez (sophomore, Diboll) and Miles Zeorlin (junior, Tyler), while the women's team consists of Brittany Brunson (senior, Austin), Bethany Cox (junior, New Orleans), Krista Painter (sophomore, Mission Viejo, California), Paige Maly (senior, White Oak), Lauren Halliday (junior, Lewisville), Holly Nohavitza (junior, Portland) and Rachel Willis (sophomore, Hallsville).
Markert and Benson won the ASC individual championships held on the UT Tyler campus on Oct. 31.
The women's 6K will start at 10 a.m. (CST) and will be followed by the men's race at 11:30 a.m. The Patriot men finished 13th at last year's regional and the women were 12th.
The UT Tyler women and the SFA Ladyjacks will tangle in an exhibition basketball game at 7 p.m. Friday at William R. Johnson Coliseum on the SFA campus.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN3. The Patriots won the regular-season ASC title last season, while the Ladyjacks captured the Southland Conference.
The Patriots enter the season ranked No. 16 in the USA Today poll, at No. 21 by D3hoops.com and are the preseason pick to win their third straight ASC title. UT Tyler has won the last two regular-season ASC titles, while compiling a 54-7 record. SFA was 23-8 last season, including a 16-2 SLC record.
Both programs have new head coaches this season as the Patriots are now led by Kendra Hassell who coached in the Southland the last two seasons as an assistant at Abilene Christian and SFA is under head coach Mark Kellogg who was at West Texas A&M for the last two seasons.
After the exhibition, the Patriots' season opener is Nov. 20 against Southwestern in Georgetown.
UT Tyler's home opener is Nov. 24 against Rust College.
The Patriots open their season against Texas Lutheran on the road Sunday. The contest has a 7 p.m. start.
UT Tyler will then play an exhibition on Monday in San Marcos against Texas State. Tipoff is 7 p.m.
The Patriots' home opener is Nov. 24 against Rust College.
Jamon Copeland is entering his third season as the head coach of the UT Tyler having compiled a record of 19-33.