Eight Wisconsin natives are headed to Kansas City, Mo., where the NCAA Division III men's and women's soccer championships will be played Friday and Saturday at Sporting Kansas City's Swope Soccer Village.
Half of the state contingent plays for Loras (Iowa), which takes on top-ranked Calvin, Mich. (24-0-1) in a men's semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The 11th-ranked Duhawks (17-4-1) have won eight games in a row in advancing to the final four for the third time in the past four years. No. 6 Amherst, Mass. (17-1-1) faces eighth-ranked SUNY Oneonta (19-3-1) in the other semifinal, with the national championship game set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Senior Jorge Simon (Kimberly) leads Loras with eight goals and has added three assists in 22 appearances (14 starts), and the holding midfielder also was named the Iowa Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Junior forward Jonah Jacke (Green Bay Southwest), the son of former Green Bay Packers kicker Chris Jacke, has three assists in 20 games (three starts). Sophomore midfielder Chris Alfaro (Oak Creek) and senior defender Sammy Johnson (Gibraltar-Sevastopol) have made 13 and 12 appearances for the Duhawks, respectively.
Freshman defender James Jeninga (Milwaukee Lutheran), meanwhile, has played in 17 matches for Calvin. The Knights have won 24 consecutive games and have allowed just five goals on the season, posting 20 clean sheets.
On the women's side, Washington-St. Louis (Mo.) has a trio of Wisconsin players on its roster. Senior forward Liz Collins (Brookfield Academy) has a goal and four assists in 22 appearances (10 starts) for the Bears, while Megan Wolf (Racine Prairie School) has one goal and one assist in 18 games (four starts) and fellow sophomore defender Elise Brown (Madison West) has made three appearances.
Washington-St. Louis (20-2-0) also brings an eight-game winning streak into its national semifinal against top-ranked Messiah, Pa. (22-0-2) at 11 a.m. Friday, including a 1-0 victory over UW-Whitewater in the quarterfinals Nov. 22. No. 6 Williams, Mass. (19-1-2) plays ninth-ranked Centre, Ky. (21-1-1) in the other semifinal, with the national final at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.