For an NCAA-best 31st straight season, the IU men’s soccer program will be in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hoosiers received the No. 2 overall seed in the 2017 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament.
While watching from the Spirit of ’76 Club at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers awaited their fate. It was expected the Hoosiers would be among the top four overall seeds after going undefeated through the regular season and Big Ten Tournament.
On Selection Monday, it was confirmed.
After losing the Big Ten Tournament Final Sunday, the NCAA Tournament will be a chance for the Hoosiers to turn to the page to something bigger.
“The committee, they look at one, the fact that we have not lost, that’s a huge deal in college soccer," IU Coach Todd Yeagley said. "It’s very difficult, and two, the margins that we’ve done. They’re aware of the shutouts, they’re aware of the 42 goals, 4 against. That’s very compelling against a very good schedule.”
With being a top-16 seed, the Hoosiers earned themselves a bye through the first round of the tournament.
North Carolina State and Old Dominion will play a first-round match Thursday that will determine who moves on to face IU at 1 p.m. Sunday at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington.
Also on IU’s side of the bracket is the No. 15-seed Dartmouth, who the Hoosiers could face in the Round of 16.
A big storyline this season has been about IU's freshman class. IU has gotten a lot of production from those players, but also from the more experienced players.
However, the NCAA Tournament will be a new experience for the freshmen, including IU goalkeeper Trey Muse.
“I don’t really know what to expect,” Muse said. “We know that it’ll be tough, we know that nothing will be given to us, so we got to come in with the right mindset. I know we’ll do our best to prepare and the coaches will do the best to prepare us for the challenges ahead. We’re excited though.”
Just like the Big Ten Tournament, the NCAA Tournament hasn’t been kind to IU since its last National Championship in 2012. The Hoosiers have not advanced past the Round of 16 since that season.
Something that is different than those past appearances, though, is that IU could play matches at home until the College Cup, which represents the final four stage of the tournament.
“What we want to do is take out all of the things that we can’t control,” Yeagley said. “A lot of that is if you travel and have tough environments or climates or field conditions, that’s a factor that is maybe an equalizer. When it’s at home, everything is there for us, it’s familiar and now we have to perform.”
Yeagley said the Big Ten was also the second-best RPI conference in the country. The conference was represented well.
Michigan earned a 13-seed, Wisconsin earned an at-large berth and Michgian State and Maryland were both drawn on IU's side of the bracket. Both the Spartans and the Terrapins are potential opponents for the Hoosiers later in the competition.
But for IU, 31 straight seasons of NCAA appearances speaks to the dominance of the program.
“It’s a testament to the quality of our program and the consistency,” Yeagley said. “I look out there and there’s a lot of good teams not on the board today. To be there and continue it, you see a storied program like UCLA not in the field, we don’t take that for granted. We have our eye on making a deep run.”
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