Of the eight teams remaining in the 2011 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship, three are from the BIG EAST. No. 3 seed Connecticut, No. 7 seed USF and No. 12 seed Louisville will play this weekend in the quarterfinals, looking to advance to the NCAA semifinals at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. on Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The final will be played at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11. All three games will be televised live on ESPNU.
No. 3 seed Connecticut will host Charlotte at 1 p.m. on Dec. 4. It will mark the first meeting between UConn and Charlotte. Charlotte comes into the game tied with the most goals scored in the NCAA Tournament after three rounds. The 49ers and Louisville have scored seven goals scored in the 2011 postseason.
The Huskies earned a first-round bye and defeated Monmouth 2-1 in the second round. Against No. 14 seed James Madison, UConn posted a 3-0 victory to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007 and the 11th time in program history.
The Huskies are ranked second nationally with a 0.22 goals-against average. The defense is led by BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Andrew Jean-Baptiste. BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake ranks second in the nation with a .36 goals-against average and is fourth nationally in save percentage (.893).
No. 7 USF will play at No. 2 seed Creighton in Omaha, Neb., on Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. Junior forward Dom Dwyer leads the Bulls and ranks 10th nationally with 0.80 goals per game. Creighton goalkeeper Brian Holt leads the nation in save percentage (.915), allowing only five goals in over 1,970 minutes.
The Bulls, who return to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008, earned a first-round bye before defeating UCF (1-0 in double-overtime) in the second round. USF earned revenge after UCF knocked the Bulls out in the first round 3-0 in 2010. In the third round, USF battled to a double-overtime, scoreless draw against New Mexico. The Bulls advanced on penalty kicks, 6-5 to reach the quarterfinals.
No. 12 seed Louisville will play No. 13 seed UCLA in a rematch of last year’s NCAA quarterfinal round matchup. Louisville will host the game on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.
The Cardinals defeated UCLA 5-4 in 2010 and eventually advanced to the title game of the NCAA championship, falling to Akron 1-0.
This year, Louisville defeated Bradley in the second round, 3-2 in double-overtime, before defeating No. 5 seed Maryland 4-2 in the third round. Against the Terps, senior Colin Rolfe had a goal and three assists, tying his career high for assists and making him the only player in the nation with two three-assist games this season.
The fourth quarterfinal will pit No. 1 seed North Carolina against St. Mary’s. That game will be contested on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m., hosted by the Tar Heels.
The BIG EAST had seven teams selected to compete in the 2011 NCAA Championship, leading all conferences and tying the league’s own record for the most teams selected.