Herd draws Fordham in NCAA soccer tourney
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The 9th-ranked Marshall men’s soccer team will take on the Fordham Rams in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the selection committee announced on Monday. Kickoff is scheduled for May 2 at 1 p.m., from Gillette Field in Wilson, N.C.
The Thundering Herd finished the regular season 9-2-2 and won its second-consecutive Conference USA Championship on Sunday after a 2-0 win over No. 12 Charlotte at Hoops Family Field.
The Rams are 7-0-2 and won the Atlantic-10 Championship with a 2-0 win over George Washington on Saturday.
Along with Marshall and Fordham on their side of the bracket is a first round matchup between Jacksonville and American University. The winner of that contest will take on No. 1 seed Clemson. The winner of that match, and the Marshall and Fordham contest, will then meet in the third round on May 6 in Cary, N.C.
“Right now we will focus on Fordham and learn everything about them that we can and be prepared to win that matchup,” Herd head coach Chris Grassie said.
“If you want to win a national championship, you have to beat the best teams so we are really excited about being on this part of the draw. We don’t want to look any further than Fordham, that is going to be a tough game. This is the top 36 teams in the country, so every game is going to be tough now.”
The Herd returns to the NCAA Tournament after reaching the postseason for the first time in 2019 after taking the C-USA Regular Season and Tournament Titles.
Marshall, as the No. 11 seed in 2019, hosted a second round match against West Virginia. The Herd won the game 2-1 in front of the largest crowd (2,126) of any first or second round contest that year.
“It is an amazing feeling,” senior midfielder Pedro Dolabella said.
“Obviously the first time was amazing as well, but winning at home and being here already and having the (selection show) party prepared for us in the Cam was amazing. Seeing everyone here, waiting for our name to be called and seeing all the support from everyone, it has been an amazing journey so far.”
In the spring of 2021, Marshall has been ranked throughout the season with a top-ranking of No. 8. The Herd’s defense has been spectacular with eight of the team’s nine wins coming as shutouts. Marshall’s defense held three opponents to zero shots on goal.
On the offensive side, the Herd has been on the attack all season long while maintaining possession for the majority of each match. Marshall has outshot its opponents 223-71 and 98-21 on goal this season.
“We feel very confident having a good defense,” Herd’s leading goal-scorer junior Vitor Dias said. “We just have to have that little extra percent so that we can have more goals. So we feel pretty confident. I feel like if we do our thing, and what coach says, if we play our possession way, this great way of playing soccer than no one can stop us.”
The Kentucky Wildcats and the Charlotte 49ers received at-large bids giving Conference USA three teams out of 36 in the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky will take on New Hampshire and Charlotte will play against North Carolina. Coastal Carolina, who will join C-USA for men’s soccer in the fall of 2021, received an at-large bid and will take on Wake Forest.
All of the matches for the NCAA Tournament will be played in the state of North Carolina. The first and second round matches are all set in the cities of Wilson, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Matthews, Cary, and Wilmington. Every match of the third round and beyond will be played in Cary, the home of the College Cup.
For all of the latest information on the Marshall men’s soccer team, follow the Herd on Twitter @HerdMSoccer, Facebook at Marshall University Soccer and on www.herdzone.com.
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