Junior defender Mark Raftrey from Palo Alto High returned from missing the 2013 season with an illness to help the Pomona-Pitzer men's soccer team reach the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time since 1980 with a 1-0 win over Redlands in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament finals on Saturday.
Raftrey started every game for the Sagehens this season, settling into a regular role at center back after beginning the season on the outside. His work on the defensive back four helped Pomona-Pitzer hold Redlands to just one shot on goal in 90 minutes in the championship game.
Raftrey helped the Sagehens to a SCIAC regular- season title in 2012, when the team recorded its longest winning streak since 1973 (11 games). After missing a year, he returned this fall to lead Pomona-Pitzer to a postseason title and its first NCAA bid in 34 years.
Raftrey attended Paly, where he was a member of the soccer team, and also played for the Palo Alto 93B Blue, which he helped to a 2011 state and regional championship.
Pomona-Pitzer opens up the NCAA Tournament with a road game at UT Dallas on Saturday. The winner of that game will meet the winner of the Trinity vs. Hardin-Simmons game on Sunday for the right to move on to the Sweet 16.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps earned an at-large bid on Monday to the NCAA Division III postseason tournament.
The Athenas' roster includes Palo Alto High grad Megan Coleman, Menlo-Atherton grad Regina Mullen and Menlo School grad Sarah Bruml. CMS boasts a 24-6 record and placed second in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) regular season and conference tournament.
CMS will face off against Mary Hardin-Baylor in the first-round match hosted by Cal Lutheran on Friday at 3 p.m.
Coleman, a senior libero, currently ranks 15th in the nation for digs per set at 5.91with 567 total digs on the season. She had 21 digs in a 25-19, 26-24, 25-18 loss to Cal Lutheran in the SCIAC Tournament finale on Saturday.
In the Ivy League, junior libero Sarah Daschbach from Sacred Heart Prep had a team-high 22 digs to help Princeton sweep Dartmouth while improving to 8-4 (13-9 overall).
Princeton, which also has Menlo School grad Maddie Huber and SHP grad Ellie Shannon on its roster, will head to Yale this weekend to match up against the reigning Ivy League champion Bulldogs. Both Yale and Harvard share the Ivy League lead with 10-2 records.