November 26, 2016
Kathryn L. Knapp
ALL BETS ARE OFF
IU hosts Virginia Tech Sunday at noon in NCAA Tournament
Chicagoland Soccer News Contributing Editor
When it comes to the end of the soccer season for menís college teams. Itís all about playing a complete game and finishing. Sunday afternoon, the Indiana Hoosiers host Virginia Tech in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Both teams enter the match with their eyes on the prize Ė the College Cup. At this point in the season, all bets are off. Anything is possible.
No. 7 seeded Indiana (12-1-7) enters the match on a nine-game unbeaten streak. During that stretch the Hoosiers have posted a 6-0-3 record, scoring 14 goals, while allowing five and recording five shutouts. The last time out, Indiana topped Akron 1-0 in a convincing defensive performance. IU is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the round of 16 for the 36th time in club history.
Indiana has outscored opponents 29-14 this season. Tanner Thompson leads the offense with eight goals and three assists (19 points). Six additional players have scored multiple goals for the Hoosiers. Defensively, Christian Lomeli has started the last six games for the Hoosiers, allowing just two goals for a 0.31 goals against average, while posting four shutouts. Combined with goalkeeper Colin Webb, the team holds a 0.65 GAA and 11 shutouts.
Virginia Tech (12-4-4) heads into the contest after upsetting No. 10 seeded Charlotte last Sunday, pulling off a 3-2 come-from-behind win. In the first round, Virginia Tech posted a 1-0 win over Tennessee State to advance. The Hokies return to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in club history, but the first since 2007.
Offensively, the Hokies have outscored opponents 36-18 this season. Marcelo Acuna leads the team in scoring, with 11 goals and two assists for 24 points. Alessandro Mion is second with four goals and one assist (nine points). Defensively Ben Lundgaard stands strong in goal, with a 0.88 GAA, while making 72 saves in 20 appearances. Virginia Tech has posted nine shutouts in the 2016 campaign, allowing their opponents to tally just four shutouts. The Hokies rank 33rd nationally in GAA, while the Hoosiers rank 12th.
Sunday will mark the first time that Indiana and Virginia Tech have met. Two more wins for either team equals a trip to the College Cup. The advancing team will face the winner of No. 2 seeded Wake Forest-SIU in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament. IU hosts Virginia Tech at noon EST Sunday at Bill Armstrong Stadium.