Courtesy of Akron Athletic Communications
AKRON, Ohio – In a match up of two of the last three national champions, The No. 8 nationally-ranked University of Akron men's soccer team will host Indiana in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as announced by the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Committee Monday.
Winners of the Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament titles, the Zips (16-3-1) will kick off against the defending NCAA champion Hoosiers (8-11-2) Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field. The winner will advance to face No. 9-seed Marquette (12-5-2) on the road Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
Also seeded in the Zips' region are No. 1 UCLA (11-3-4), No. 8 Virginia (10-5-5) and No. 16 UMBC (16-1-2). The remaining top-four seeds went to No. 2 Washington (14-1-4), No. 3 Notre Dame (12-1-6) and No. 4 California (12-4-2).
The 2013 College Cup will be played at PPL Park in Philadelphia, Pa., on Dec. 13 and 15.
When postseason play begins, the Zips will join an elite group of just eight Division I programs that have qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of the past seven seasons. Only Connecticut, Indiana, Louisville, Maryland, South Florida, UCLA and Virginia can share that claim.
In all, the Zips, who have won six straight matches and are unbeaten in their last 10 (9-0-1), will be making their 28th all-time appearance in the NCAA postseason. UA has advanced to the Round of 16 in each of the last five seasons and captured the school's first national championship in any sport in 2010.
As the No. 5 seed last fall, Akron defeated Michigan in the second round at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field before being eliminated by Creighton in a penalty kick shoot out in the following round.
Indiana, which went 2-4 in the Big Ten during the regular season, earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Big Ten Tournament. In order to do so, the Hoosiers had to defeat Michigan (2-1 OT), Penn State (0-0, 5-3 PKs) and Michigan State (1-0). IU defeated Georgetown (1-0) to win the NCAA Championship last year in Hoover, Ala.
Tickets for Thursday's match are on sale now and can be purchased on-line at GoZips.com/tickets, on the phone at 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or by visiting the C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field (located at the southwest corner of the venue, near Gate 1, at the corner of East Exchange and South Union streets).
Reserved bleacher back seats are available for $15. General admission ($10) and Family Plan Packages ($35) are also on sale.
As a tribute to the AK-Rowdies, the Zips Athletics Department has purchased 500 student tickets for Thursday's match. UA students may pick up their ticket from the Ticket Office and other campus locations with valid ID while supplies last. Once the allotment has been distributed, UA student tickets can be purchased for $1.