USAFA, Colo. -- The Air Force men’s soccer team knew it was in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, but a loud cheer still erupted from the squad when Air Force popped up on the TV screen at Champps Restaurant Monday afternoon. The Falcons, champions of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, will travel to Seattle, Wash., for a first-round matchup against the Washington Huskies on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. (PT) at Husky Soccer Stadium.
The winner of the Washington - Air Force game will play 12th seeded Creighton on Sunday at 5 p.m. CT in Nebraska. Creighton was Air Force’s last opponent in the NCAA Tournament, with the Bluejays coming away with a 3-2 victory in 1997. This will be Air Force’s 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and it has a 4-10 overall record.
"We are thrilled that we are still playing," said fellow Air Force head coach Doug Hill. "Our storybook season continues after three great games last weekend."
Air Force (10-8-4) earned the automatic berth by upsetting No. 9 New Mexico for the third time this year in the MPSF championship game 5-3 on penalty kicks after the two teams were tied at 1-all following two overtime periods. Senior Kevin Durr, who tied the game against New Mexico with 16 seconds remaining en route to being named the most valuable player of the MPSF Tournament, leads the way with five goals and five assists. Senior goalie Matt Underwood has played every minute and posted six shutouts this season.
Washington earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 by finishing second in the Pac-12 and with a 12-4-3 overall record and No. 24 ranking last week in the NSCAA poll. The Huskies have made 18 total postseason appearances and are 6-6 at home in those games.
The Huskies are 7-1-0 all-time vs. Air Force with the last meeting in 2006. These two teams have never met in the postseason.