Men’s Soccer to Play Drake in NCAA First Round
LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 18 Kentucky will play Drake in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 7:05 p.m. at The Bell on Thursday.
Kentucky is making its second-consecutive and third NCAA Tournament appearance in the last four years.
The Wildcats (12-4-2 [W-L-D]) earned the right to play Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Champion Drake (12-4-3). The winner of Thursday’s match will play No. 12-seed Creighton – which received a first-round bye as a top-16 team – in Omaha, Nebraska, on Sunday.
The match will be broadcast on SEC Network+.
UK finished the 2015 regular-season 12-4-2, and as C-USA regular-season champions having run through the regular portion of the league schedule 7-0-1. The Wildcats became the fourth team in league history to run through the regular league schedule unbeaten.
UK allowed one goal during the regular portion of the C-USA schedule, and Friday’s goal was just the second UK allowed against a C-USA team this year. UK has scored 29 and conceded 11 goals this year.
Kentucky went 10-2-1 in its last 13 matches.
UK has the sixth-best goals-against average (0.58) in the NCAA. Kentucky ranks eighth nationally in shutout percentage holding opponents goalless 56 percent of the time.
Drake earned its third trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history by winning the MVC title last Sunday.
Kentucky and Drake will be meeting for the first time.
Drake holds a 3-2 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, losing in the first round in 2008, while going 3-1 in the 2009 event, falling one match short of the College Cup.
Tickets are available from the UK ticket office for $8 for adults, $5 for youth (ages 3-18) and seniors (ages 65+). Fans aged two and younger get in for free.
UK students with valid ID will be provided a complimentary ticket, courtesy of UK Athletics, by checking in at the marketing gazebo at the main entrance. Fans may purchase tickets in advance by ordering online or by calling (800) 928-2287. Fans may also purchase tickets in person beginning on Thursday at The Bell ticket windows.
Parking for the match is first come first served located outside the stadium’s main entrance. Overflow parking will be available above the soccer practice field.
The NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship has a field of 48 teams. Twenty-three conference champions qualify automatically; the balance of the field was selected at-large by the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Committee.
UK NCAA History
UK has a 1-6-2 record in the NCAA Tournament all-time. The Wildcats reached the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time since a three-year run from 1999-2001.
Kentucky’s best NCAA Tournament finish was a Sweet 16 in 2000.
Kentucky has now made the NCAA Tournament in all-but one of head coach Johan Cedergren’s four years at the helm of the program. Cedergren reached three NCAA Tournaments in quicker succession than any other coach in UK history.
The Wildcats dropped their most recent NCAA Tournament game, 2-0 to Oakland at The Bell last season.