DU Earns 6th Overall Seed in NCAA Tournament
The University of Denver men’s soccer team is exactly where it wants to be heading into the NCAA Tournament: a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the second round.
“That’s what we expected,” says Sam Hamilton, a senior midfielder. “We knew where we were in the RPI [rating percentage index]. We knew where we were in the coach’s poll. We took care of business late in the season, which I think pushed us to that sixth seed.”
The Pioneers will play this Sunday the winner of the first-round game between San Diego State and University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “We play an up-tempo game at home and a lot of teams can’t hang because of the altitude,” says head coach Jamie Franks. “We’re excited; it’s a fortress we’ve made dominant, and we look forward to continuing that.”
Over the last two years, the Pioneers have gone undefeated in the regular season, the first team to do so since Clemson in 1977–78. Their overall home record is 20-1-1, with that one loss coming against Southern Methodist University last year in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament.
“We’ve been preparing for this all year since we lost to SMU last year,” Hamilton says. “This game has been on everyone’s mind since December, and I think the group is ready to perform.”
If DU is able to win this weekend, it would guarantee at least one more home game for the weekend of Nov. 26–27.
“Survive and advance is the name of the game here,” Franks says. “We always talk about how champions are not made on the day of the game. For 11 months we feel like we’ve had high standards and high accountability from the group, and we’ve been preparing for this moment.”