WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 – Storylines abound as six former Menace players prepare for the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship, which gets underway tomorrow.
Representing three of the championship’s 31 teams, these former Menace Premier Development League players hope to lead their teams deep into the tournament:
- Grand View University: Luis Piffer
- Lindsey Wilson College: Lebogang Moloto and Samuel Asante
- University of Mobile: Jubril Lawal, Stephen Okai and Jason Williams
Goal-scoring newcomer helps bring local NAIA program back to national stage
Piffer, the Midwest College Conference’s Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, has stepped in as a leader for a Grand View team that has outscored foes 59-12 while racking up an 18-1 record.
A year after Drake’s memorable Elite Eight finish in NCAA Division-I, Des Moines’ NAIA team aims to keep its postseason going into December. The MCC’s regular-season and tournament champions open at home, hosting St. Xavier (Illinois) on Saturday. The 2 p.m. match at Cownie Soccer Park marks the Vikings’ sixth trip to the national tournament.
Last year’s 12-6-1 club was left out of the championship field, but this year’s team has left little doubt. Head coach Blair Reid’s Vikings, who have returned to the national Top 25 rankings for the first time since 2007, are the tournament’s 12th seed.
Piffer, a member of the 2010 Menace who transferred from Marshalltown Community College, is one of four Vikings named to the all-MCC first team. The Brazilian with 13 goals to his name is joined by Scotsmen Jonny Macadam (15 goals, six assists), Danny Gillespie-O’Neil and Darren Martin.
Two former Menace players look to lead defending champs to ninth national title
Lindsey Wilson – a college in Columbia, Ky. (population: 4,600) – has enjoyed big-time success in NAIA soccer, winning all eight of its appearances in the national title game. No other school owns more championships at this level.
Moloto (2010 Menace) and Asante (2009 Menace) helped add another jewel to Lindsey Wilson’s studded crown last December. This fall, they have been midfield staples for the defending champs, combining for 35 appearances.
Moloto, the Outstanding Offensive Player of last year’s national tournament, is fourth on the team with six goals. He is a repeat selection to the Mid-South Conference’s first team. Asante has started all 19 matches. His four assists are third-best on the team.
The sixth-seeded Blue Raiders (15-3-1) have outscored foes 62-13 going into tomorrow’s first-round matchup with Southern Poly State (Ga.).
2010 Menace trio plays for host team, guaranteed spot in Sweet 16
Grand View and Lindsey Wilson need to win this weekend in order to move on to the final rounds. Mobile already has a spot in the Sweet 16, as the Rams host tomorrow’s 15 winners from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4 in Orange Beach, Ala.
Mobile was guaranteed a tournament bid before the season even got off the ground. With three members of the 2010 Menace in the starting lineup, the Rams (15-3-2) have shown they belong in elite company. Last weekend, they won the tournament for the Southern States Athletic Conference, which claims four qualifiers – more than any other conference.
Williams and Okai are first-team all-SSAC selections. Williams has posted a 14-2-2 mark, seven shutouts and a 0.70 Goals Against Average. Okai has collected four goals and three assists from the midfield. Lawal, who last summer became the youngest player (16) in Menace PDL history, has 18 starts and two assists from his backline post.
Left to right: Lawal, Moloto and Piffer
ABOUT THE MENACE: Iowa’s Premier Soccer Team since 1994, the Des Moines Menace is a member of the 67-team Premier Development League – the United Soccer Leagues’ highest amateur level. The Menace, the 2009 PDL Organization of the Year, is preparing for its 18th season, which begins in May 2011. The team plays its home games in a fun, family friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.