Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine Selected To NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament
2014 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament Bracket | Men's Soccer Release No. 15
Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine will represent the Big West in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship, marking the sixth time in the last eight years that the conference produced multiple postseason entries.
The Titans drew a first round road matchup against San Diego, the champion of the West Coast Conference. CSF and USD square off this Thursday at Torero Stadium for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. The two sides already played earlier this season in San Diego, and battled to a 0-0 tie on Sept. 1.
The two schools also have NCAA history between them with three previous meetings. CSF owns a 2-1 edge with wins in 1993 and 1994, and a loss in 1998.
The winner of that first round match will face national No. 2 seed UCLA in the second round on Sunday, Nov. 23 in Westwood.
The Anteaters earned a first round hosting opportunity against UNLV, the regular season and tournament champion of the Western Athletic Conference. UCI (14-5-3, 4-5-1) and the Rebels kick off this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. inside Anteater Stadium.
These two clubs also have prior history this season as UCI handed UNLV (14-4-3, 7-2-1) one of its four losses, winning 4-2 to open up the Rebel Classic on Sept. 26. This is the first NCAA Tournament meeting between the ‘Eaters and Rebels.
The winner of that first round match will travel to national No. 6 seed Stanford for a second round showdown on Sunday, Nov. 23.
Cal State Fullerton earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA’s by virtue of winning the program’s first Big West Tournament. Fullerton defeated UC Irvine – 3-2 in penalty kicks – after both teams battled to a scoreless draw through 90 minutes and two overtime periods. The No. 3 seed in the South Division, the Titans reached the title game with victories against UC Davis (2-1) in the first round and UC Riverside (3-0) in the semifinals.
CSF (10-7-6, 3-4-3 Big West) is making its seventh overall NCAA appearance, and first since 2000. It is just the program’s second trip to the NCAA’s as a member of the Big West/PCAA, with the previous appearance a first round loss to UCLA in 1986. The Titans are 6-5-1 all-time Division I postseason record.
Under first-year head coach George Kuntz, the Titans have achieved their first winning season and first 10-win campaign since that 2000 NCAA club finished 15-6-1 overall. Kuntz has CSF on a season-best five-match unbeaten streak (2-0-3). The Big West Tournament title – CSF’s first since the tournament inaugurated in 2008 – was Kuntz’s fifth as he captured crowns with UC Irvine in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
This is UC Irvine’s fifth overall NCAA Tournament appearance – all coming since 2008. The Anteaters are 2-4 all-time in the postseason, and 2-2 on their home field with first round victories coming in 2008 versus Cal Poly and 2013 against North Carolina.
In his first season as the head coach at UCI, Chris Volk took the program to a record No. 3 national ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll on two occasions (Sept. 29 and Oct. 20) as the Anteaters opened the year on a 10-match unbeaten streak and were 11-1-2 at one point.
UCI’s 14 victories are tied for the second-most in the nation entering the NCAA Tournament. The Anteaters finished in second place in the tough Big West South Division, and reached the finals of the Big West Tournament for the fifth time in seven years of its existence.