Blue Hens Menís Soccer to Host NCAA Tournament Match Against St. Johnís Thursday
NEWARK, Del. – For the first-time in over 40 years, the University of Delaware men’s soccer program will host a NCAA Tournament game at Delaware Mini-Stadium. The Blue Hens will welcome NCAA action to the Delaware campus this Thursday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. as Delaware will host St. John’s in an NCAA first round match.
The Blue Hens received the most exciting news of the 2013 campaign this afternoon during the NCAA Men’s Soccer Selection Show. Despite falling in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) semifinals on penalty kicks to eventual champion Drexel last Thursday, Delaware received an at-large bid to the 48-team bracket thanks to a program and league-best 14 overall wins.
“I am delighted for our athletic department, for our school, but most of all for our players,” said Blue Hen head coach Ian Hennessy. “We saw the player's excitement and reaction when they found out they will be the first team in over 30 years to host an NCAA game at Delaware Mini-Stadium.”
The last time Delaware received a bid to the NCAA Tournament was in 2011. The Hens beat University of Virginia, 1-0 in double overtime in the first round before falling to top-seeded UCLA, 1-0 in the second round. Delaware also hosted NCAA first round games in both 1968 and 1970.
“It’s huge,” said senior midfielder Vincent Mediate. “We had no guarantees that we were even going to get into the tournament, so just to see our name pop up first and to know that we are hosting St. John’s is a great feeling.”
St. John’s earned its berth to the NCAA Tournament with a 10-6-2 overall record, finishing seventh in the Big East with a 3-4-2 league record. The Red Storm competed against seven of the 48 teams who received bids to the NCAA Tournament this season, three of which received top-10 seeds.
“We faced St. John’s last spring in exhibition play, so we have a glimpse of what their returning players are like," said Hennessy. "I would say since there is so much parity and equality in the NCAA college soccer world right now, that on any given day any team can beat anybody. I’m sure we will see that on later on this week. We hope to have a packed house Thursday since we’ve had great crowds of 1,200 to 1,400 fans at Delaware Mini-Stadium this season. We know that there is a huge market here for our soccer brand.”
Admission to Thursday evening’s match will be $10 for adults and $7 for youths 18 and under. Delaware and St. John’s students will be charged $7 with a valid student ID. Due to seating limitations, bleacher seating is not guaranteed and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Ample standing room areas will be available.
The winner of Thursday’s contest will travel to Charlottesville, Va. to take on eighth seeded Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 24, in a 1 p.m. matchup.
In addition to Delaware, other CAA schools receiving bids to the NCAA Tournament were Drexel and CAA runner-up William & Mary. Drexel will travel to former CAA opponent Old Dominion Thursday night while William & Mary will host former CAA opponent George Mason.