NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament Preview

Story posted April 23, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Bourandas

The bracket is set and it’s almost time for the NCAA tournament for men’s soccer. Despite both of the top two seeds being ACC schools, the field of 36 is talented and should make for an interesting tournament.

The Clemson Tigers come in as the number one overall seed in the tournament. Despite being ranked fourth in the nation, the Tigers defeated Pittsburgh, the top team in the nation, 2-0 in the ACC automatic qualifier match. The win not only pushed the Tigers to the top spot but also moved the Panthers down to the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament.

The highest non-ACC school seeded in the tournament are the Indiana Hoosiers. The third seed in both the tournament and the nation walked away with a Big Ten championship after defeating Penn State 3-2 on penalty kicks. The Hoosiers have only lost once all season, that being a 1-0 loss against Northwestern.

Stanford is the other team in the top four in the tournament, despite being ranked eighth in the nation. Like Indiana, the Cardinal were able to win their conference in thrilling fashion as they defeated Washington 1-0 in overtime to win the Pac-12 championship.

Those four teams are the only teams to not know who they are playing for their first game as they await their first opponent. The first four matchups of the tournament will be play-in games with the winner facing one of the top four teams.

Elsewhere in the tournament, the top goal scorer in the nation Gloire Amanda and his Oregon State Beavers are matched up against Virginia Tech. Amanda led the NCAA in goals this season with 15.

While not being rated as one of the higher seeds, Highpoint comes into the tournament as the top-rated offense in the country and will face Georgetown, the eighth seed in the tournament. The Panthers scored 2.92 goals per game with an offense that features the NCAA’s second leading goal scorer in MD Meyers.

On the defensive side of the ball, James Madison enters the tournament as the top defense in the country. The Dukes allow only .231 goals per contest and recorded a shutout in all but two games this season. They open up their tournament against UCF.

All across the board there are good matchups to watch in what should be an exciting NCAA tournament. The action starts with the play-in games on April 29 before moving into the second round a few days later on May 2.

Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.