'Caps at College - Elite Eight and Final Four update

Five 'Caps alum looking to keep title hopes intact this week

Ben McKendry New Mexico Lobos

Photo Credit: 
Kim Jew Photography/New Mexico Athletics

VANCOUVER, BC – The successful seasons of a select few Vancouver Whitecaps FC youth development products remaining in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have culminated in potential national titles for Simon Fraser University and the University of New Mexico.

NCAA Division I

Midfielder Ben McKendry’s seventh-seeded New Mexico Lobos are the last school with Whitecaps FC alumni left in the NCAA Division I Tournament.

McKendry's Lobos blank Penn State, advance to Elite Eight

The Lobos kicked off their tournament with a big 1-0 triumph over George Mason, followed by a Sweet 16 2-0 shutout win over the Penn State Nittany Lions.

With the victories, New Mexico earned their second all-time berth in the prestigious Elite Eight, where they will meet second-seeded Washington State on Saturday.

McKendry, who was named to the All-Conference USA first team for the second straight year, has enjoyed a fantastic season for the Lobos. He started all 20 of his appearances, potted four goals, registered one assist and leads all midfielders and forwards with 1,721 minutes played.

The former ‘Caps Residency standout will be one of many depended on for the Lobos to rekindle their success from the 2005 season, where they earned a national championship appearance.

Click here to view the complete NCAA Division I bracket.

NCAA Division II

At Simon Fraser University, Whitecaps FC Residency alum Alex Rowley, Jason van Blerk, and Spencer DeBoice, along with former ‘Caps women’s head coach Alan Koch, have put together an incredible run to earn themselves a spot in the Final Four of the NCAA Division II Tournament for the second consecutive year.

The fourth-seeded Clan kicked off the run by dismantling fifth-ranked Cal Baptist 5-0, and then securing a 2-1 victory over Cal State University, Los Angeles. They then had a memorable battle with second-seeded University of California, San Diego where they drew 1-1 in regulation, but won 4-3 in penalty kicks to advance to the Elite Eight.

Koch talks about SFU's upcoming semifinal matchup

Rowley, who was named to the Daktronics All-West Region second team, converted one of the four penalty-kick tallies for SFU.

The Clan then took care of business in their biggest game of the season by blowing out the bracket’s first seed, Regis University, by a score of 5-0. They were named GNAC Co-Team of the Week for the performance, and now will meet the fourth-seeded Carson-Newman Eagles in the semifinal on Thursday.

Carson-Newman is coming into this match with a full head of steam as well, as they are the Southeast Region Champions. They defeated top-ranked Rollins to reach the Final Four.

Last season, the Clan fell to Saginaw Valley Cardinals in the Final Four – a result they will certainly be looking to avenge on Thursday.

Click here to view the complete NCAA Division II bracket.