INDIANAPOLIS (WECT) — UNCW’s men’s soccer season will continue on Thursday after it was announced Monday that the Seahawks earned a berth in the NCAA tournament.
UNCW (12-5-2) will host Furman (13-6-1) at the UNCW Soccer Stadium at 7 Thursday night.
After losing three of four matches leading into the NCAA selection process, Seahawk players and coaches said they didn’t think they had any chance of earning an at-large bid.
“Nobody expected to be in today," UNCW junior Phillip Goodrum said Monday. "But when we heard our named called, everyone was thrilled to be in.”
“I am just pleased for the guys and really the seniors because they have done so well over their time here," said UNCW head coach Aidan Heaney. "Thankfully, they looked at the body of their work for the entire season and thought we were one of the deserving teams.”
Despite the late season slide, UNCW had four wins against top-50 teams and an RPI of 41.
Heaney says the Paladins present a formidable challenge for the Seahawks on Thursday.
“Furman is a legitimate side. They play good soccer," said Heaney. "They are going to be a real test and a real challenge so our guys need to be ready for it.”
UNCW is making its fourth appearance in the tournament and received its third at-large entry in the last five years. The Seahawks, who finished second in Colonial Athletic Association play this season with a 5-1-2 record, advanced to the CAA tournament semifinals, losing to Hofstra 2-1 on Friday.
Furman defeated UNC Greensboro 3-0 to win the Southern Conference championship Sunday and and earn automatic bid into the NCAA field.
The winner of Thursday’s game advances to a second-round matchup against Virginia, which earned the No. 10 national seed.