The opening round of the NCAA DI Men’s Soccer National Tournament kicks off today, so here is our preview of all 16 ties, starting off with the first game of the day;
Colgate University (10-10-1) @ University of Massachusetts (15-3-3).
Colgate have had a mixed season, but have come into form at just the right time, taking down the Patriot League Championship, with a disciplined 1-0 win over Holy Cross, to punch their ticket to the NCAA’s. UMass earned their shot at national glory by taking home the Atlantic Ten Conference title, beating Virginia Commonwealth University 3-1 in the final. Kick is scheduled for 1pm EST. The winner of this bout will play Michigan in the second round.
University of San Francisco @ University of California
The Green and Gold Dons of USF went 9-8 on the season and qualified for the national tournament by becoming the WCC Champions thanks to a 6-1 record in conference play including defeating Loyola Marymount University 2-1 in their final game to wrap up the championship, on senior night as well! The University of California Golden Bears (11-6-0, 6-4-0 Pac-12) clinched their 12th playoff berth under head coach Kevin Grimes and 18th overall appearance after a turnaround season highlighted by multiple stints in the top 25 on the United Soccer Coaches poll – their highest ranking coming in at 17th – closing the season ranked 22nd. The Golden Bears received an at-large bid and will host USF at 16:30 ET. The winner of this tie will meet the University of Louisville in the Last 32.
Seattle University @ University of Washington
Washington's men's soccer team will open the 2017 NCAA Tournament against a familiar foe, hosting cross-town rival Seattle University on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. at Husky Soccer Stadium. The Huskies (12-6-1 overall) are making their second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and their fifth in seven seasons under Head Coach Jamie Clark. Seattle U posted an overall record of 14-3-4 and won the Western Athletic Conference championship with a 2-1 victory over San Jose State on Sunday. It was the Redhawks' third WAC title in five years. The two teams have met before in the NCAA Tournament opening round back in 2013 with the Huskies winning 4-2. The winner of this one will face the University of Akron in the 2nd round.
University of Illinois Chicago @ University of Wisconsin
The final game in the bottom left half of the bracket sees the University of Wisconsin (10-4-5) face the University of Illinois Chicago (11-5-3). UW ran out the Big Ten conference champions after defeating #1 seed Michigan 4-0 and then toppling Indiana University 4-2 in PK’s after producing a stellar performance in the championship bout. Playing host to UIC who won the Horizon League Championship for the second straight year. The Flames defeated #1 seed Green Bay in the Championship match to advance to the NCAA’s. Whoever comes out on top of this one will face the University of Notre Dame in the last 32.
Air Force Academy @ Virginia Tech
The Hokies of VT (9-9) punched their ticket into the 48-team field for the second consecutive season Monday afternoon via an at-large selection by the committee. Tech boasts the fourth-toughest schedule in the nation as well as an RPI ranking of 22. Tech has faced plenty of elite competition, having played 11 games against teams in the field in 2017, owning wins over the 12-seed Notre Dame and NC State. In fact, all of Tech’s losses have come at the hands of tournament-bound opposition. Air Force (14-2-3) won the WAC regular season title, however, it fell in the conference tournament to San Jose State its last time out on the pitch. The Falcons’ RPI sits at 27 and the latest Coaches’ Poll has them ranked 12th. The winner faces Michigan State in the 2nd round.
University of Albany @ Maryland University
Maryland (10-5-3) earned its 17th straight and 37th overall bid to the NCAA Soccer Tournament. The Terps face Albany (14-4-2), who won the America East Tournament. The match will be played at Ludwig Field and will be the first meeting between the schools in their history. The winner of this one will face Western Michigan in the last 32.
Fairfield University @ University of New Hampshire
The Stags of Fairfield are 12-4-3 on the season and will travel to newcomers University of New Hampshire Wildcats (12-3-4). The Wildcats received an at-large bid to the national tournament and are making their first appearance since 1994. The Stags won the MAAC Tournament by defeating Rider, 1-0, in the championship game on Nov. 12. UNH won the last meeting between the two teams with a 1-0 victory on Sept. 7, 2014. The winner of this one will play Dartmouth on November 19th.
NC State @ Old Dominion University
The final bout of the bottom right side of the bracket throws up NC State & Old Dominion. The NC State Wolfpack (8-5-4) will travel to Conference USA champion Old Dominion (12-5-2). NC State qualified through an at-large bid, thanks largely to their strength of schedule. The winner of Thursday's match will play at national No. 2 seed Indiana on Sunday, November 19.
Columbia University @ William and Mary
The Columbia (11-2-3) men's soccer team travels to William & Mary (11-4-5) on Thursday, Nov. 16 in first round action of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship. Columbia finished second in the Ivy League Standings, putting together its third straight 10+ win season, which had not been accomplished since 1985 when the Lions posted double-digit wins for the eighth year in a row. William and Mary were the #5 seed for the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, defeating Hofstra 4-1, and James Madison 1-0 on their way to the final. The Tribe took home the trophy and NCAA ticket by beating UNCW 4-1 in the championship game. The winner of this one will play #1 seed Wake Forest University.
Lipscomb University @ Butler University
Lipscomb (11-7-2) will look to continue its magical postseason run on Thursday when the Bisons make the 300-mile journey to the Sellick Bowl where they will face the 15th-ranked Butler Bulldogs in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 6 p.m. Lipscomb took down the Jacksonville University Dolphins 3-1 in the ASUN Championship game, to punch their ticket to the NCAA’s, their first ever appearance. Butler is 12-4-2 overall and finished the BIG EAST regular season with an 8-1 record. The winner of Thursday's match will travel to VCU for a Sunday contest with No. 16 seed VCU, which received a first-round bye.
Cal State Fullerton @ Pacific University
The Titans (10-7-4) men's soccer program will make its 10th appearance in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship when it heads north to Stockton, Calif. to take on University of the Pacific at Knoles Field at 7 p.m. PT Thursday in the first round of the tournament. Fullerton (10-7-4, 5-4-2) clinched its berth in the NCAA Tournament after defeating UC Davis 4-3 in penalty kicks in the Big West Tournament Championship match. The winner of this one will face reigning national champions Stanford in the 2nd round.
Mercer University @ Coastal Carolina University
The final match of the top left side of the bracket sees the Chanticleers face the bears. The Chanticleers (12-6-1) who earned a first round home match based on their regular season body of work, winning both the Sun Belt regular season and tournament championships and posting an RPI of 23 thanks to recent road wins over #3 Maryland and #24 William and Mary. Mercer (7-8-6) punched its ticket to the NCAA postseason by winning its second consecutive Southern Conference championship, defeating UNCG in a penalty shootout (1-1; 3-2 PK) at Stone Soccer Stadium in Greenville, N.C. The Bears entered the SoCon tournament as the fourth seed, and defeated #5 Wofford (2-1) and #1 ETSU (0-0; 4-3 PK) prior to edging the Spartans in the championship. The winner of this one will face Clemson University in the 2nd round.
Presbyterian College @ University of North Carolina Wilmington
The Seahawks, who are 11-7-0 on the season, received their second at-large berth in four years after reaching the Colonial Athletic Association championship game on Sunday afternoon. UNCW previously played in the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2014. Presbyterian, the Big South Conference champion, earned the automatic berth into the field after edging High Point in a penalty kick shootout in the title game on Sunday. The Blue Hose are making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship and will carry a 6-8-5 record into Thursday's tilt. The winner of Thursday's UNCW-Presbyterian game advances to the second round on Sunday and will face North Carolina, which earned the No. 3 national seed.
University of Central Arkansas @ Southern Methodist University
SMU (15-2-1) opens NCAA Men's Soccer Championship first round action Thursday against Central Arkansas (9-10-1) at Westcott Field at 7 p.m. Top seed SMU defeated No. 2 seed UCF, 2-1, in overtime in the conference championship game to earn the American Athletic Conference automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Central Arkansas earned the Missouri Valley Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning a pair of heart-stoppers in the MVC Tournament. The winner of this one will face Georgetown in the last 32.
St. Francis College Brooklyn @ Fordham University
St. Francis Brooklyn (14-4-1), who defeated LIU Brooklyn to gain the Northeast Conference's automatic berth on Sunday, will be making their fourth NCAA appearance in the past five years. will make the short trip to the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx to take on the Rams, who earned their first at large bid in program history. Fordham (12-5-2) lost to UMass in A10 championship game in overtime this past weekend. The winner of St. Francis Brooklyn/Fordham will travel to Virginia to take on the #11 seeded Cavaliers on Sunday in Charlottesville, Virginia.
University of Nebraska-Omaha @ Florida International University
The No. 13 FIU men's soccer team (11-1-4) will face the Omaha Mavericks (10-5-3) in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship. First touch is slated for 7 p.m. from the FIU Soccer Stadium. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Panthers and the Mavericks. Omaha advances to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Summit League Conference Championship. The winner of this one will face Duke University in the 2nd round.