Monday, November 16, 2009

Men's Soccer: NCAA Tournament Edition

It's been a long while since we did a men's soccer post, but tonight they were given the No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament, giving them a first round bye in the field of 48 and home field advantage for at least the second round.

After the jump, we will look at the two teams Harvard can end up facing in the second round.

In the second round of the NCAA tournament, Harvard will face the winner of the UCONN vs. Monmouth game at Monmouth.

Scouting UCONN (11-4-3)
The Huskies and Crimson are familiar foes already. Harvard traveled down to Storrs, CT where they fell 4-0 to the Huskies. UCONN scored in the 33rd minute, and never looked back. They were only the second team at the time to hold Harvard off the scoreboard, and held the Johnnies to only 12 shots when the Crimson entered averaging 17.9 shots per game. It was the Huskies 6th consecutive shutout and ninth of the year at the time. Alan Ponce and Carlos Alvarez both registered two goals and an assist. The Huskies added three shutouts after this game. They fell to Providence in the first game of the Big East tournament but were the Big East regular season tournament champions, a team the Crimson beat on the road 2-0. The other three common opponents were Boston University, Dartmouth and Yale. UCONN lost to BU at home 3-0 while the Crimson beat BU at home 1-0, they tied with Dartmouth 0-0 in Hanover while the Crimson beat Dartmouth 2-1, and both teams won at Yale, with UCONN winning 2-0 and the Crimson winning 1-0 in 2OT. The Huskies currently have a three game winning streak over the Crimson.

Scouting Monmouth (18-1-1)
The MU Hawks, from the NEC, are the top team in the nation in shutout percentage, keeping opposing teams off the board 70% of the time. They are also second in the country in both goals against average and save percentage. The Hawks were the NEC regular season and tournament champions. They played at the Princeton Tournament, facing two common opponents with Harvard, Cornell and Princeton. They beat Cornell 4-1 and Princeton 1-0. Harvard tied Cornell 1-1 in Ithaca in 2OT, while they fell 2-1 to Princeton in double overtime at Ohiri Field. Both teams also faced Fairfield, who the Crimson beat 4-1 and the Hawks beat 2-1, both games being hosted by Fairfield.

Both teams look to be tough tests for the Crimson at Ohiri Field, but Harvard has shown it has the talent to beat either team as well. Should make for a great game, Sunday, Nov. 22nd at 1 p.m. at Ohiri Field.

Around the Ivy League/Harvard Season Opponents:
The ACC lead the field with 7 teams, and the Big East and Big 10 follow with 5, but four Ivy League teams made the tournament, showing the top level of play in the Ancient Eight conference. Here are their match-ups.

Dartmouth @ Boston College- First Round
The winner will take on No. 13 St. John's (New York) in the second round. Harvard defeated Boston College on the road 2-1, while defeating Dartmouth at home 2-0.

Stony Brook @ Brown- First Round
The winner will take on No. 5 North Carolina in the second round. Harvard defeated Stony Brook 4-1 in the season and home opener and they defeated Brown at home 1-0.

Bucknell @ Princeton- First Round
The winner will take on No. 2 Virginia in the second round. Harvard fell to Princeton 2-1 in 2OT.

TBA @ Wake Forest- Second Round
No. 3 Wake Forest (not in the Ivy League, but a Harvard season opponent) will host the winner of North-Carolina Wilmington @ Charlotte. Harvard fell 1-0 on the road to the Demon Deacons.

Harvard's schedule contained seven teams that made the NCAA Soccer tournament, with the Crimson posting a 4-3 record against those teams.

The rest of the bracket can be found here.

Congrats to the Crimson, and good luck in your Chase to Cary.

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