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Six local teams earn NCAA Division III Tournament berths

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Messiah missed out on the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 years, but there are plenty of teams from the area competing in the field of 61 this year.

Messiah College, 10-time winners of the NCAA Division III national championship in men's soccer, missed the tournament this year for the first time in 18 years, but there are six teams from the Philadelphia region that did make it into the 61-team field.

Two of those teams, Eastern University and Rutgers-Camden, will play each other in the first round on Saturday afternoon in Oneonta, New York, where long-time soccer fans will remember was once home to the Soccer Hall of Fame.

Eastern earned an automatic bid after going 16-2-2 and winning the MAC Freedom Championship. The Eagles last made the tournament in 2007, where they were knocked out in the second round. The Scarlet Raptors went 13-7-2 and earned a spot in the field with a penalty kick win to claim their fourth NJAC title in the last five years. Rutgers-Camden lost to Messiah in the 2013 national championship.

Haverford College, which is ranked No. 7 nationally, earned a first-round bye and will open tournament play at home on Sunday, November 15 against the winner of Washington & Lee and Methodist. The Fords went 16-3 on the season and earned an automatic bid by winning the Centennial Conference Championship.

Cabrini College will travel to Morrisville, New York, for an opening round game against Morrisville State on Thursday, at 6 p.m. The Cavaliers (15-2-3) earned an automatic bid after wining the Colonial States Athletic Conference Championship. It will be their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012. The winner will face No. 6 Amherst, whose goalkeeper Thomas Bull spent time with the Philadelphia Union Academy.

Franklin & Marshall College, which has former Union Academy goalkeeper Josh Gotlib on the team, will host Babson in a first-round game in Lancaster. The Diplomats earned an at-large bid after going 15-3 on the year. It's their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in the last eight years and the 26th overall.

Rowan University, which earned an at-large berth into the tournament, will travel to Williamsport, to play No. 21 Dickinson College in a first-round match on Saturday, November 14, at 1:30 p.m. The Profs finished the season 16-5 to earn their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2003 and their 25th overall.