Nov. 14, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the 19th time in program history, the University of Notre Dame men's soccer team is headed to the NCAA Championship. The Irish were rewarded with their fifth straight top 16 national seed when the 2016 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship draw was unveiled on Monday.
The Irish drew the No. 13 seed into the 2016 NCAA tournament, and will host the winner of Loyola and UIC on Sunday at 6 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium. The first round matchup between UIC and Loyola is set to take place on Thursday at Loyola Soccer Park in Chicago.
Admission for Sunday's NCAA second round game will be free for any Notre Dame student who presents a valid student ID at the Alumni Stadium gate. For additional ticket information, call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit UND.com/BuyTickets, or stop by the Notre Dame ticket office inside Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame (11-6-2) is set to make its 15th NCAA Championship appearance in the past 16 seasons under head coach Bobby Clark, and its 11th as one of the event's 16 national seeds. The Irish were seeded seventh in 2015, were the top overall seed in both 2012 and 2014, and won the 2013 NCAA Championship as the third seed in its last four tournament berths.
The Irish are 17-16-2 (.514) all-time in NCAA Championship play, which includes a 16-12-2 record under Clark. Notre Dame has advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 on eight occasions, the national quarterfinals three times (2006-07, 2013), and claimed the national championship during the program's inaugural NCAA College Cup appearance in 2013.
Notre Dame previously faced 10 other qualifiers during regular season and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship matches entering 2016 NCAA tournament play. The Irish are a combined 5-4-2 (.545) against fellow NCAA competitors this season, including a 4-1-2 mark in matches played at Alumni Stadium.
The ACC established an NCAA men's soccer record by seeing nine affiliate teams earn berths into the 2016 NCAA Championship field. Along with Notre Dame, No. 2 Wake Forest, No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Louisville, No. 8 Syracuse, No. 9 North Carolina, No. 12 Virginia, Virginia Tech and Boston College are set to represent the conference on the road toward the NCAA College Cup.
A total of 17 of the last 19 winners of the NCAA College Cup, dating back to the 1997 season, are included in the field of 48 vying for the 2016 NCAA Championship. Notre Dame (2013), Indiana (1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2012), North Carolina (2001, 2011), Maryland (2005, 2008), Wake Forest (2007), Virginia (2009, 2014) and Stanford (2015) are all seeded in this year's tournament, with recent champions Akron (2010) and UCLA (1997, 2002) also in the 2016 field.
Loyola earned a home match during the first round of the NCAA Championship on the strength of a 13-3-1 record (6-1-1 Missouri Valley mark), most recently dropping a 2-1 semifinal decision to Missouri State in conference tournament play on Nov. 11. Prior to the defeat, the Ramblers had earned results in seven of their previous eight matches dating back to Oct. 1.
UIC (9-7-3) secured the automatic NCAA bid from the Horizon League after defeating top-seeded Wright State 1-0 on Nov. 12 in the conference tournament final. The Flames had previously downed Milwaukee 2-1 in overtime during the semifinal round on their way to claiming the fourth conference tournament championship victory in program history.
Following Thursday's first round and Sunday's second round games, the NCAA Championship continues with third round matchups on Nov. 26 or 27 at campus sites. The national quarterfinals will follow on Dec. 2-3 at campus venues. The 2016 NCAA College Cup will be contested on Dec. 9 (national semifinals) and Dec. 11 (national final) at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, live on ESPNU.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.