Stateside Scots | Clarks Lead Challenge In College Soccer’s National Championships

Written by Ian Thomson

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament commenced last week with a clutch of Scots hoping to survive the 48-team elimination event to become a national champion.

Father and son duo Bobby and Jamie Clark lead the Scottish challenge again. Former Aberdeen and Scotland goalkeeper Bobby guided Notre Dame to its first title in 2013. His men received a first-round bye this year before edging out Loyola University Chicago on Sunday night via a single goal from ex-England schoolboys forward Jon Gallagher.

No. 13 seed Notre Dame travels to No. 4 seed Louisville this Sunday with a place in the quarterfinal at stake.

Jamie led his University of Washington side into the last 16 with a 4-1 thumping of New Mexico in Seattle on Sunday night. The No. 11 seeded Huskies travel to No. 6 seed Denver in this weekend’s third round.

The Clarks are on opposite halves of the tournament bracket ensuring that they cannot meet until the final four schools travel to Houston for the College Cup semifinals and final on Dec. 9 and 11.

Other Scots competing in the college game’s various national championships this past week included:

College Soccer – Men’s Division I

Former Rangers and Scotland youth defender Jordan Wilson saw his impressive college career end as No. 16 seed Kentucky (11-5-3) lost 3-2 at home against Creighton in the tournament’s second round. Wilson was selected to the Conference USA All-Star team in each of the past three seasons.

Second-year defender Ben Davidson made a substitute appearance as South Carolina fell to a painful 2-1 overtime loss at state rival and No. 3 seed Clemson. South Carolina had edged Mercer by 1-0 in Thursday’s opening round contest with Davidson appearing as a substitute. The Aberdonian pitched in with a goal and two assists in 15 appearances as the Gamecocks finished the season with 11 wins, eight losses and one tie.

Edinburgh native Max Todd missed out on a potential clash with Bobby Clark’s Notre Dame when his Illinois-Chicago side lost 2-0 against Loyola-Chicago in last Thursday’s opening round. Former Hibernian and Scotland youth forward Todd scored eight goals and contributed nine assists in 20 games this year to lead the Flames (9-8-3) to the Horizon League crown.

Aberdonian defender Stuart Close and Glaswegian midfielder Bradley Mulvey saw their seasons ended last Thursday as Cal State Northridge (9-7-5) lost 1-0 to Pacific in the opening round. Close made 18 appearances as t

College Soccer – Women’s Division I

Scottish involvement in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament was extinguished on Friday when Lois Heuchan’s Kansas fell to a 2-0 loss at No. 2 seed and 21-time national champion North Carolina. The former Celtic and Scotland youth forward scored three goals in 21 games during her third season with the Jayhawks.

College Soccer – Men’s Division II

Stephen Al-Sayed, Ben Bruce and David Cross were eliminated from the NCAA’s Division II Tournament in the third round on Friday as their Drury side lost on penalties at No. 5 seed Rockhurst University.

All three Scots successfully converted their spot kicks before Drury fell 5-4 in sudden death. The Panthers had held a 1-0 lead for over 50 minutes before giving up an equalizer on 84 minutes.

Ullapool native Bruce and senior defender Cross tied for a team-leading eight goals as the Panthers ended the year with 13 wins, four losses and four ties.

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) – Men’s

Veteran head coach Blair Reid steered his Grand View University side to a 2-1 win at No. 12 seed Campbellsville University in a game that featured five Scottish players. The surprise result ended Campbellsville’s 36-game unbeaten run and advanced the Vikings to a 14-6-2 record this year.

Aberdonian defender Sam Pugh was named in Reid’s starting lineup while Kilmarnock native Craig Johnston came off the bench for Grand View.

Linlithgow’s Daniel Nimmo and Paisley midfielder Ross Lindsay started for the Tigers with Clydebank’s Mark Callaghan appearing as a substitute. Nimmo was shown a red card in the closing minutes as Campbellsville dropped to a 15-1-3 record.

Pitlochry native Tom Sibbald came off the bench to help Midland to a 2-0 win at No. 11 seed Baker in the NAIA National Championship’s opening round on Saturday. Midland (17-3-1) travels to Delray Beach, Florida next week to face Davenport University in the Round of 16.