UNC chases 5th straight College Cup vs. Indiana tonight
Two of the more storied programs in recent men’s collegiate soccer meet at 6 tonight when No. 9 seed North Carolina hosts No. 16 seed Indiana at Fetzer Field in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament quarterfinals.
The winner will advance to the NCAA College Cup. Defending national champion UNC (16-3-3) has advanced to the last four College Cups — soccer’s version of the Final Four. If the Tar Heels advance, they would be the fifth team in NCAA history to make it to five consecutive College Cups and the first since Indiana did it from 1997 to 2001.
Carolina and Indiana (13-5-3) are no strangers. The teams have met three times in the last four years, with UNC winning twice. Since losing to the Hoosiers in the 2000 NCAA quarterfinals, the Heels have won three straight against Indiana in the tournament, winning their first national title over the Hoosiers (2-0) in 2001 and taking 1-0 quarterfinal wins in 2009 and last season.
The Tar Heels are making their 20th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament and will be playing in their 52nd NCAA Tournament match and are looking to become the first team since Indiana in 2003-04 to win back-to-back national championships.
UNC is 5-2-1 all-time in the NCAA quarterfinals with the last setback coming in 2005 against SMU.
Indiana has the 29th-best scoring offense in the country and will face the nation’s top defense in Carolina and the Hoosiers will be looking to snap a 307-minute shutout streak that the Tar Heels hold since the 2000 contest.
Carolina reached the quarterfinals with a second-round shootout win over Maryland-Baltimore County and a 1-0 overtime win in the first round over Fairleigh Dickinson. Indiana downed Xavier 4-1 before dispatching No. 1 seed Notre Dame, 2-1, in overtime in the second round.
Carolina enters tonight’s match with the lowest goals against average in the country and the fourth-lowest in a single season in NCAA history, surrendering just six goals while posting 17 shutouts and a 0.26 goals against average.
Given an early lead, UNC has been unbeatable of late. Since Sept. 28, 2010 the Tar Heels have won 40 straight games when scoring the first goal of the match.
The numbers are similar at Fetzer Field. UNC is only the second side in NCAA history to go unbeaten in 40 straight home matches.
Post-overtime shootouts are another UNC strength. The Heels have won six straight shootouts over three seasons, including three in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
NOTES—The 2012 College Cup will be held at Regions Field in Hoover, Ala., Dec. 7 and Dec. 9. The host school is the University of Alabama-Birmingham.