Starting this fall, the Mount Mary women's soccer team will have an opportunity to earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.
The school recently announced that it will join the Great South Athletic Conference as a Championship Member starting in the 2015-16 school year.
With the addition of the Milwaukee school, the GSAC now has members in six states across the country: California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The league only sponsors women's sports.
As a Championship Member, the Blue Angels will play in the GSAC conference tournament, which is scheduled for Nov. 7 to 9 this year. The winner of the eight-team tournament will be awarded a Division III tournament berth.
The Blue Angels (7-10-2 last season) will continue to play an independent schedule during the regular season.
"We are very excited about the opportunity our teams now have through this partnership with the GSAC,” Mount Mary athletic director Marc Heidorf said in a news release. “We are hopeful that this experience can serve as a springboard to a full-time conference membership in the near future."
- Northland International, which didn't field a men's soccer team last season, is returning to action this fall. The program's new coach is Josh Conover, a former Pioneers standout who was named to the second team of the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association Division II All-American team in 2010. Northland International, located in Dunbar, advanced to the NCCAA Division II national final in 2011, '12 and '13, losing to Moody Bible (Ill.) all three years. Rick Reed, who coached at Peshtigo High School from 2006 to '13, was named Conover's assistant. The Pioneers, who were 13-8-1 in 2013, have 13 games on their regular-season schedule.
- Two state goalkeepers earned honorable mention on the USL Premier Development League Team of the Week. Marquette's Mac Wheeler (Kettle Moraine) was lauded after making three saves in the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Under-23 team's 0-0 draw against the West Virginia Chaos on Sunday. Wheeler, who will be a junior in the fall, has a 1.25 goals-against average in four appearances for the Riverhounds (1-5-2). UW-Green Bay's Dani Alvarado also was honored after stopping six shots in the Thunder Bay Chill's 1-0 win over the Des Moines Menace on Friday. The senior-to-be has a 0.33 goals-against average in three appearances for the Chill (5-0-2), who lead the Central Conference Heartland Division.