Red Devils lose out on national tourney bid

Allen Community College’s men’s  soccer season will end without an appearance in the national tournament.



May 28, 2021 - 4:05 PM

Photo by Richard Luken

Allen Community College’s men’s  soccer season will end without an appearance in the national tournament.

The Red Devils learned Friday morning they were not included among the four teams to receive at-large bids for the NJCAA-Division II National Tournament in Wichita.

“This whole process has been kind of a nightmare,” Red Devil head coach Doug Desmarteau said.

The at-large bids were posted by NJCAA officials via social media Friday morning.

Allen’s exclusion became a matter of numbers — and being lumped in with the NJCAA’s West region, Desmarteau explained.

Phoenix College, which defeated the top-ranked NJCAA-II squad in the nation during the regular season, earned the West’s at-large bid. 

That’s because that same No. 1 team, Pima Community College, defeated Phoenix in their conference title game.

“Phoenix definitely deserved to be there over us,” Desmarteau said. “They played a tough region and beat the no. 1 team. I’m not complaining about that. I just wish they would have told us we were being put in the West.”

Allen was stunned last week in their district championship match when Southeastern Community College of Burlington, Iowa, scored twice in a matter of 80 seconds in the waning minutes to knock off the Red Devils, 2-1.

Had they won, the Red Devils would have received an automatic bid for their first ever national tournament.

“It comes back to us taking care of business,” Desmarteau said. “It’s just frustrating to have (a bid) in our grips, and have it taken away from us.”

Even with the bitter disappointment of the past week, Desmarteau will look back at the bizarre 2021 schedule — pushed back from the fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic — with a smile.

“We have some firsts here,” he noted. First conference title, first region title. Overall, it was a pretty good season with a good group of respectful kids. These guys were focused. It was a fun year.

THE UNBEATEN Red Devil women, who secured their first ever national tournament bid last weekend, will head to Evans, Ga., on Tuesday for their tournament, which begins Friday.

Allen will take on the nation’s second-ranked team in Holmes Community College and then St. Louis Community College in pool play. The best of the three will go on to the national semifinals.