Indiana men’s soccer, which finished 14-5-1 this season, earned the No. 15 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and will have a first-round bye following a runner-up performance in the Big Ten Tournament last week.
The Hoosiers have now earned a national top-16 seed in eight straight seasons — the longest active streak in the country — and made the tournament an NCAA-record 35 straight times.
“We’ll never take that for granted how hard it is to make the tournament,” head coach Todd Yeagley said during a press conference Monday. “You see some blue bloods out of it, and we’re happy to see the new season in front of us.”
A first-round matchup between the University of Louisville and Bowling Green State University will determine Indiana’s first match, and the team would likely face the No. 2-overall seed University of Washington in the Sweet 16. The field is wide open after that, but let’s break down what a potential Elite Eight run could look like for Indiana.
Louisville: The Hoosiers have already faced the Cardinals in a preseason exhibition match, which the Hoosiers won 5-4. The Cardinals have put together a 10-6-1 record this season with a 5-3 record in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Indiana and Louisville would face off in Bloomington, where Indiana has a 10-3 record this season. Louisville went 1-4 on the road and lost its ACC Tournament opening-round matchup against the University of Notre Dame at home.
The Cardinals’ high-powered offense, which is averaging 2.35 goals per match this season, would be a challenge for a Hoosiers’ defense, which allowed 0.8 goals per match and put up 12 clean sheets.
“They’re very dynamic,” Yeagley said. “That’s a good team that’s got a lot of firepower.”
Bowling Green: After posting a 10-5-3 overall record and 2-2-2 record in the Mid-American Conference play, the Falcons earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Bowling Green and Indiana haven’t met yet this year but both teams have faced the University of Akron, Michigan State and Ohio State this season. Bowling Green finished 1-2-0 against them with a 3-0 win against Michigan State on Sept. 6 and 5-1 loss to Akron on Oct. 22.
“That’s going to be one heck of a match, whoever we get is going to be a real challenge,” Yeagley said. “If you compare it to the field, I think this second-round game is as good or tough as anyone would face.”
Washington: The Huskies finished second in the Pacific-12 standings behind the No. 1-overall seed Oregon State University Beavers and earned the No. 2-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies finished the season 14-1-2.
With its first-round bye, Washington will face one of two familiar foes in the University of Portland or Seattle University. Washington beat both teams in the regular season, with a 2-0 win against Portland and a 2-1 overtime win against Seattle.
The Huskies dominated their competition this season with a 38-10 goal differential across their 17 games. Of the Huskies’ 10 goals allowed, five came in two games against the Beavers. They scored more than one goal in 14 of their 17 games.
“They gotta get some work done and we do,” Yeagley said. “You asked me about Washington but I can’t think past tomorrow’s training right now to be honest with you. But if in fact we’re fortunate enough to get there, then that’d be obviously a great challenge.”
Portland: The Pilots finished in a three-way tie for third in the West Coast Conference and finished with a 10-6-1 overall record this season.
Portland lost matches against Washington and Oregon State this season but won 3-2 against Seattle, 4-0 against Northern Illinois University and 1-0 against the University of Los Angeles, California, which all earned bids to the NCAA Tournament.
The Pilots had a 25-15 goal differential in its 17 games and 13 different players scored this season. No player scored more than four goals for the Pilots this season.
Seattle: After a sixth-place regular-season finish in the Western Athletic Conference, Seattle beat Grand Canyon University, which also earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament, in the conference tournament championship in penalty kicks.
The Redhawks finished 13-7-1 overall and won eight of their last nine games to finish the season. They scored 2.1 goals per match and allowed 1.33 per match. They scored 30 goals in their last nine games.
Seattle is led by sophomore midfielder Levonte Johnson and junior forward Declan McGlynn, who each scored eight goals this season. Eleven players scored for Seattle, eight of which scored multiple goals.