Limestone will host Barry, Florida Tech, West Florida in Third Round
By Official Florida FC
The NCAA Division II tournament resumes this week with three Florida programs looking to advance to next month’s national semifinals in Matthews, North Carolina.
A Florida program has won the national title 11 times in the 51-year history of the tournament. Barry, Florida Tech and West Florida will all play in the third round on Nov. 26 in South Carolina. The winners will advance to the Division II quarterfinals on Nov.
Barry (13-4-1) at Limestone (15-2-2)
Barry was the last Florida program to win a national title in 2018 and the Buccaneers are seeking their second title this year.
The Sunshine State Conference Tournament champions have won eight straight matches, the latest of which was a 5-1 demolition of Lincoln Memorial in the second round.
Iker Berruezo scored on a pair of set pieces against Lincoln Memorial. However, Barry can score of set pieces and off the ground as well.
Berruezo is one of four Barry players with at least four goals. The team leader is junior midfielder David Polanco who spurred the Buccaneers into the national semifinals in 2022 and has 15 goals in 15 matches this season.
Florida Tech (12-2-4) vs. West Florida (12-1-5)
The saying ‘goals change games’ may not apply in this case.
West Florida has recovered results from losing positions four times this season.
The Argonauts have allowed one goal in their last four matches in the Gulf South Conference Tournament and NCAA Tournament. West Florida blitzed Wingate in the second round. Keegan Ancelin opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Josiah Fontenot scored his team-leading 12th goal in the 65th minute to put the game out of reach.
Fontenot may be the difference maker. The junior has turned his goal-scoring form that he showcased in high school into the college level with 12 goals in 758 minutes this season.
West Florida’s three-goal win over Wingate will not impress Florida Tech. The Panthers whooped Wingate 4-1 back in September. Since then, Florida Tech high-flying attack in the regular season has been stalled by its finishing.
Florida Tech produced eight shots on goal in two Sunshine State Conference Tournament matches. The Panthers conjured multiple chances against Lynn in its NCAA Tournament opener on Nov. 18 with 22 shots and 11 shots on goal, but finally put the Knights away in the 106th minute.