No early news came down beforehand – a usual courtesy to the football staffs of NCAA Division III playoff-bound programs.
So if Pacific Lutheran was going to get into the national playoffs, players and coaches would have to find out at the same time (3 p.m. PDT) and in the same manner (live streaming on NCAA website) as everyone else would Sunday.
The Lutes did not wait long. The first matchup revealed came out of the West Region – and brought Northwest Conference rivals PLU (7-2) and third-ranked Linfield College (9-0) together for a first-round game at noon Saturday in McMinnville, Ore.
For the Lutes, who were one of seven pool “C” conference runners-up teams to receive a berth, it marks the first time they have made the NCAA tournament since 2001.
“It has been a while,” PLU coach Scott Westering said.
The Lutes played Linfield in the third week of the regular season. They built an early 14-0 lead but ended up losing 31-24 in Puyallup.
Since then, PLU (7-2) has won its past six games – scoring 30 points or more in each.
“To play like that (against Linfield) with that young of a team, coming out of it, mentally that was a growth game, and a belief game,” Westering said. “It kind of provided a foundation for what this team has become.”Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org @ManyHatsMilles