Nov. 17, 2008
ROCHESTER, Mich. - The Oakland University men's soccer team (14-4-1) will host 2007 national runner-up Ohio State in the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer championships, the NCAA announced Monday. The Golden Grizzlies and Buckeyes will square off in a 1 p.m. contest on Saturday, Nov. 22. Oakland will be playing in its fourth NCAA tournament.
Oakland made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and '03. The Golden Grizzlies fell to UW-Milwaukee, 2-1, in '02, and dropped a tough 3-2 decision to Tulsa in double-overtime in '03. Last year, OU topped Michigan State 2-1 in an opening-round game before falling to No. 10 Notre Dame, 2-1.
OU picked up an at-large bid to the field of 48 teams after advancing to the championship game of The Summit League tournament, fighting UMKC to a 1-1 draw and falling 4-3 on penalty kicks. Seniors Ian Daniel, Gabe Hernandez, and Piotr Nowak were named to the All-Tournament team for their efforts during the championship.
The Buckeyes enter the NCAA tournament after going 9-8-2 this year, posting a 2-4-0 mark in Big Ten play. Ohio State dropped a 1-0 decision to Indiana in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament. The Buckeyes do have extensive postseason experience, including last season's run to the national championship game, where OSU fell 2-1 to Wake Forest.
"We're very excited that we got selected as an at-large team into the NCAA tournament," said head coach Gary Parsons. "It goes to show the kind of season we had. It's our second at-large bid, and those don't come easy. You have to earn your way in and it's nice to see our team rewarded for their play this year."
Oakland is one of two Summit League schools all-time to draw an at-large bid to the NCAA championships, and this year marks OU's second at-large bid. The Golden Grizzlies previously earned an at-large bid in 2003, and Green Bay earned an at-large bid in 1983 when the league was known as the Association of Mid-Continent Universities.
The winner of Saturday's game will travel to Akron to face the Zips in a 7:30 p.m. contest on Tuesday, Nov. 25. OU faced Akron earlier this season, in Akron, falling 2-1.