UMass men’s soccer team earns At-Large bid to NCAA tourney

Staff Reports
Published: 4/19/2021 12:42:22 PM

The UMass men’s soccer team is dancing.

The Minutemen had their name called Monday, when the NCAA Division I Tournament field was announced, and they’re slotted into the bracket for the first time since 2017.

UMass (7-1-3) will play Penn State (8-1-2) in the NCAA second round, with the match scheduled for Sunday, May 2 at 1 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C. at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.

The 36-team field is made up of champions from 22 conferences, who qualified automatically, in addition to 14 teams that were selected at-large. The Minutemen received one of the 14 at-large bids handed out, while Fordham earned the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid. This year’s entire tournament is taking place in Cary, North Carolina, and the surrounding area.

Preliminary round games of the tournament will take place at the campus venues of University of North Carolina Wilmington, UNC Greensboro and Wake Forest, in addition to Bryan Park (Greensboro, North Carolina), J. Burt Gillette Athletic Complex (Wilson, North Carolina), Sportsplex (Matthews, North Carolina) and WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, North Carolina).

Four first-round games will be played Thursday, April 29, while all second-round action will take place Sunday, May 2. The third round will be played May 6, while the quarterfinals will be played May 10.

The winner of UMass-Penn State will play the winner of the second round game between No. 8 Georgetown and High Point. Clemson is the overall No. 1 seed in the field.

The Minutemen capped their regular season on Sunday with a 3-3 tie against Virginia Tech. The Hokies are also in the tourney field. UMass’ lone loss this season came in double overtime to eventual A-10 champion Fordham.

The NCAA berth is the fifth in program history and first since 2017. After winning the A-10 tournament title, UMass fell to Colgate, 2-0, in the opening game of the NCAA tourney. The school reached the College Cup Final Four in 2007.

UMass finished its regular season ranked 10th-nationally in scoring offense with 2.36 goals per game while ranking 14th-nationally in total goals. The Minutemen also finished with both the leading goal scorer in the Atlantic 10 in Alec Hughes while Yosuke Hanya and Ben Shepherd tied for the league's top spot in assists. Hughes ranked 13th in the country in total goals while Hanya and Shepherd ranked sixth in total assists and 11th in assists per game.

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