Huskies In! UW Hosting Air Force Thursday At 7 p.m.
Nov. 12, 2012
SEATTLE - Although confident they were in this time, the Washington men's soccer team was still nervous waiting to get its named called on NCAA.com on Monday afternoon on the Washington campus, but the third time is the charm as Jamie Clark's team was selected to host Air Force in the NCAA First Round on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Husky Soccer Stadium.
"I'd like to say no there was no doubt but I'd say I had the smallest doubt in the back of my mind because two years in a row we were left out," said senior and co-captain Dylan Tucker-Gangnes. "This year was more clear-cut but until you see your name up there you never know."
The winner of the Washington - Air Force game will play 12th seeded Creighton on Sunday at 3 p.m. PT in Nebraska. Creighton was the home of Coach Clark for one season before he came to Seattle two years ago.
"You are nervous the whole way and to finally see your name on the screen it's a feeling of relief but the real work starts now," said fellow senior co-captain Ben Fisk. "All of the guys have been pushing all year to get this spot in the tournament. Once you see your name on the screen its anyone's game. It takes one goal, one minute."
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.
Air Force earned the automatic berth by upsetting No. 9 New Mexico for the third time this year in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) tournament on penalty kicks. They are 10-8-4 on the season and 3-6-1 on the road. Kevin Durr leads the way with five goals and five assists. Matt Underwood has played every minute in goal and posted six shutouts.
Senior Patrick Pacheco is familiar with Air Force and the NCAA Tournament having played three seasons at New Mexico and reaching the Sweet 16 with the Lobos.
"I'm fortunate I'm four-for-four now," said Pacheco. "I couldn't be happier. It wasn't much of a shock for me to see Air Force up on the board against us. They defend with a lot of pride. They are super in shape, really hard working and they have a strong center mid. More than anything for us will be finding a goal for us. This trip is extra special for me because it's my senior year. I've never won a national championship and I'm hoping to make the furthest run I ever have in the tournament this year."
Junior Michael Uyehara, who transferred to the UW from Navy is also very familiar with Air Force's soccer team. "All military academies play the same way. The training you get at a school like that rubs off in every aspect. They will be well organized, disciplined and in shape. They have a creative player in the middle and they know what they are doing. They got here for beating New Mexico who is a good team but I know we have what it takes to make it to the next round."
Clark's father, Bobby Clark, led Notre Dame to the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. Pac-12 Champion UCLA is the No. 6 overall seed and earned a first round bye. The Bruins will play the winner of San Diego and Cal State Northridge on Sunday.
"It's fantastic to host. Our field is tough to play on. Hopefully we get a good crowd and good atmosphere," Fisk added.
For tickets please call the Husky ticket office at (206) 543-2200.