Virginia Earns NCAA Tournament Berth, Hosts Delaware Thursday

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia men's soccer team has earned an at-large berth in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and will play host to Delaware at 7 p.m. Thursday in a first-round game at Klöckner Stadium. This marks the 31st-straight year that Virginia has been selected to the tournament - the longest current streak in the nation.

The winner of the Virginia-Delaware match will advance to face No. 13 seed UCLA Sunday night in a second-round game in Los Angeles.

"We are very happy to be playing in our 31st-straight NCAA tournament," Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. "We're happy to be at home for our first game and playing in front of our home fans. We have a lot of respect for Delaware, as the CAA champions. We took a couple of days off over the weekend to rest and now have started preparations for Delaware."

Tickets for the first-round game are $9 for reserved seats, $7 for adult general admission and $5 for youth/student/senior citizen general admission. Fans can order tickets online at VirginiaSports.com and by phone through the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at 800-542-UVA1 (8821) or 434-924-UVA1 (8821). Tickets are also available at the gate beginning one hour prior to the start of play. Gates will open at 6 p.m.

Parking will be available for $5 in the University Hall and John Paul Jones Arena lots. Free parking will be available in the Emmet/Ivy Garage.

UVa owns a 52-26-4 record all-time in NCAA tournament play and is making its 33rd appearance in the NCAA field. The Cavaliers have won six NCAA championships (1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 2009). This also marks the 31st straight year that Virginia will play host to an NCAA tournament game; UVa has earned host-site status in 32 of its 33 all-time NCAA appearances.

Virginia enters the tournament with a 12-7-1 record. The Cavaliers finished in a third-place tie in the Atlantic Coast Conference after posting a 4-3-1 record. UVa has been besieged by injuries this year and will be without its leading scorer, Will Bates (Jr., Chester, Va.), after he suffered an injury Oct. 21. Despite this, the Cavaliers played their best soccer over the final half of the season, going 7-3-1 with wins over Maryland and Wake Forest.

Brian Span (So., Somers, N.Y.) and Hunter Jumper (Sr., Plano, Texas) each were named to the ACC All-Tournament Team on Sunday. Span scored two goals, including the game winner in double overtime, against Wake Forest, while Jumper added a goal and two assists from his left back position against Wake. Span has scored four goals since Bates went down and now owns seven scores as well as a team-high five assists this year.

Delaware is making its first NCAA tournament appearance in 41 years. The Blue Hens begin tournament play with a 12-5-4 record after winning their first Colonial Athletic Association tournament on Sunday. As the tournament's No. 4 seed, they won three matches in four days to capture the CAA title. Delaware defeated No. 5 seed Northeastern in a penalty kick shootout, then ousted top-seeded and nationally ranked James Madison in a shootout before downing second-seeded Old Dominion, 2-1, in the championship game. Sophomore midfielder Vincent Mediate was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. UD has won a school-record 12 matches this year.

This marks the first-ever matchup between Virginia and Delaware in men's soccer.