Men's Soccer To Host NCAA First Round, Saturday At Noon Vs. Harvard
Nov. 17, 2008
AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass men's soccer team is returning to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row -- as an at-large team for the first time ever. The Minutemen, who won the Atlantic 10 regular-season title will host Havrard on Saturday at 12 Noon at Rudd Field. The winner will play at South Florida on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for Saturday's game will be on sale at Noon on Tuesday afternoon. Fans can order tickets in advance at the Mullins Center Box Office or by calling 866-UMASS-TIX.
This will be the third time in program history that the Minutemen (10-7-3) have advanced to the NCAA Tournament (2001, 2007). Last season, the Minutemen made a magical run all the way to the NCAA College Cup before losing in the National Semifinals to Ohio State.
"We are very excited about hosting another NCAA Tournament game and that the NCAA Committee felt we were deserving of hosting this game. This is a great moment for our senior class and for our program," said head coach Sam Koch, the 2008 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
The Minutemen were the only team from last season's College Cup that made its 2008 conference championship game and finished the season unbeaten in nine of its final 10 games. UMass fell to Dayton, 1-0, in the Atlantic 10 Championship Game this past Sunday in Pittsburgh.
"The fact that we were 2-6-2 and were able to fight back to qualify for the Tournament makes this very, very special for us. I am very proud of these players and how they kept believing in themselves and stayed focus throughout the season," said Koch.
Saturday will be the fourth NCAA Tournament game to be hosted at Rudd Field. The Minutemen were 3-0 at home in NCAA Tournament games last year defeating Boston University, Central Connecticut State and UIC. At the UIC game, a Rudd Field record 1,863 fans turned out to support the Minutemen.
"This is absolutely an amazing feeling to be able to get back to the NCAA Tournament. After going through it all last year, we wanted to get back and make a mark on the program," said All-American goalkeeper Zack Simmons (Durham, N.H.) "Having the home game is icing on the cake. It was an unforgettable experience last year to see all the fans come out to support us."
Harvard enters the NCAA Tournament with an 11-5-0 overall record and was an at-large berth as well coming from the Ivy League. The Crimson finished the regular-season as the third-ranked team in the conference. Harvard holds the advantage in the all-time series with UMass at 14-3-3. The two teams met last year in the regular-season with Harvard winning 2-1 in Cambridge.
The Atlantic 10 is well represented in the NCAA Tournament this year with tournament champion Dayton earning the automatic bid and Saint Louis also earning an at-large berth. Dayton will travel to Illinois-Chicago on Friday night (7 PM), while Saint Louis will host Drake on Friday night as well.