PROVIDENCE, R.I. – With a pair of first round games finished, there are eight teams vying for the BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship. The quarterfinals will be played on campus sites, with the semifinals and final held at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., for the third-straight year. The semifinals will be at 5 and 7:30 on Nov. 9, with the final played at noon on Nov. 11.
Of the eight teams remaining in the tournament, six are ranked nationally in the most recent NSCAA poll (Oct. 30). Georgetown leads the way at No. 4, while Connecticut is ranked sixth and Notre Dame is seventh. Marquette is the fourth BIG EAST team in the top 10 as the Golden Eagles sit at No. 10, while o. 12 Louisville and No. 13 St. John’s are not far behind.
Marquette, the No. 4 seed in the Blue Division, defeated Red Division No. 5 seed Cincinnati 3-0 on Oct. 31 in Milwaukee, Wis. The Golden Eagles advance to play at Red Division No. 1 seed Louisville on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. ET. The Cardinals went 7-1 in league play to earn the regular season title. The Cardinals have won five straight games and are unbeaten in their last eight matches. Marquette began the season with 12-straight wins and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the national polls.
On Nov. 4, the fourth seed in the Red Division, Villanova, recorded a 3-1 win against visiting Seton Hall, the No. 5 seed in the Blue Division. The game was originally scheduled to be played on Oct. 31, but had to be pushed back one day from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The Wildcats advance to the quarterfinals, where they will meet the top seed in the Blue Division, Connecticut.
UConn won its 12th BIG EAST regular season title and the eighth under Ray Reid. Connecticut recorded its 10th shutout of the year with a 2-0 win against Providence to close the regular season and has notched double-digit shutouts in six straight seasons. UConn also extended its home unbeaten streak to 35 games, the seventh longest in NCAA history.
After defeating the Pirates, the Wildcats improved to 12-5-2 overall, matching the school’s single-season record for wins, established in 1980.
In the other two quarterfinals, which will both be played on Nov. 3, No. 3 Red seed St. John’s will visit No. 2 Blue seed Georgetown at 1 p.m. and No. 3 Blue seed Notre Dame will play at No. 2 Red seed Syracuse at 7 p.m.
Georgetown, ranked No. 6/8 nationally, clinched a share of its second BIG EAST Blue Division Championship in three years. The Hoyas finished the regular season with a mark of 15-2-1 overall and went 6-2 in BIG EAST play.
St. John’s is appearing in the BIG EAST Tournament for the 22nd-consecutive season, the longest active streak in the conference. The Red Storm are ranked No. 13/25 nationally and defeated Connecticut 1-0 last year to win the BIG EAST Championship title at Red Bull Arena.
Saturday will be the first meeting between the Fighting Irish and the Orange since the 2008 season. The Irish won that contest 3-0 at Notre Dame. Notre Dame is 9-2-2 all-time versus Syracuse. The Orange earned the No. 2 seed in the Red Division to qualify for the conference tournament for the first time since 2005, when they also faced Notre Dame. In that match, the Orange and Irish drew, 0-0, with Notre Dame advancing on penalty kicks. Syracuse is making its 14th BIG EAST Championship appearance and its first appearance in the quarterfinals since 2000.
Notre Dame ranked No. 8/7 nationally, extended its streak of reaching the tournament every year since 2001. The Fighting Irish finished the regular season 13-3-1 overall and 5-2-1 in BIG EAST action. Notre Dame is making its 12th-straight appearance in the playoffs.