Virginia Opens NCAA Tournament Play Thursday vs. Delaware

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia men's soccer team kicks off the 2011 NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday when it entertains Delaware at Klöckner Stadium. UVa was selected to the tournament for the 31st straight year - the longest current streak in the nation.

The Cavaliers and Blue Hens will be playing for the first time in men's soccer. The winner will advance to face No. 13 seed UCLA in a second-round game at 10 p.m. ET Sunday at Drake Stadium in Los Angeles.

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. (Parking Map)

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

In stark contrast, Delaware (12-5-4) will be making its first NCAA tournament appearance in 41 years. The Blue Hens have had a remarkable season, winning a school-record 12 games in 2011 after battling through 14-consecutive losing seasons. Delaware captured its first-ever Colonial Athletic Association championship last Sunday and will be appearing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1970 and the third time in program history.

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's leading scorer Will Bates (Jr., Chester, Va.) is out for the season with a knee injury; he still ranks second in the conference and 11th nationally in scoring. In the five games since Bates went down, Brian Span (So., Somers, N.Y.) leads the team with four goals, while Brian Ownby (Sr., Glen Allen, Va.) owns three goals and a pair of assists. Bates was a first-team All-ACC selection, while Span and Ownby each were named to the second team.

Span 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, in the quarterfinals against Wake Forest, while Jumper added a goal and two assists from his left back position against Wake. UVa fell 1-0 in overtime in the semifinals to North Carolina, which is the No. 1 national seed in the NCAA tournament.

As the CAA tournament's No. 4 seed, Delaware won three matches in four days to capture the title. Delaware eliminated No. 5 seed Northeastern in a penalty kick shootout, then ousted top-seeded and nationally ranked James Madison in another shootout before downing second-seeded Old Dominion, 2-1, in the championship game. Evans Frimpong was named the 2011 CAA Player of the Year and ranks second in the conference with 29 points, scoring 12 goals and five assists this year.