Senior defender Rumbani Munthali, leads the Blazers to their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Nov. 13, 2000
UAB'S men's 13th-ranked soccer team is headed off to Washington after earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Soccer Tournament. It is the trip to the NCAA's and second straight for the Blazers.
UAB will play the University of Washington, this Friday, Nov. 17 at 9 p.m. CST, in Seattle. The winner of that match will face the winner of the Indiana-San Jose State match.
UAB finished the year as the runner-up in Conference USA, falling to Saint Louis 2-1 in the C-USA Championship, Sunday afternoon. The Blazers are 14-4-2. The loss to the Billikens broke an 11-game unbeaten streak. Saint Louis will host Kentucky in the first round.
Washington won the PAC-10 with a 4-2 win over Cal this past Sunday. However, the Huskies had to gain an at-large bid since the PAC-10 does not receive an automatic bid.
"We're certainly happy," said Blazer head coach Mike Getman. "This is where we expected to be at the beginning of the season. But, when you don't win your conference tournament you put things in other peoples hands."
Last year the Blazers advanced to the "Elite Eight," after defeating Southwest Missouri State at home and SMU on the road in the first two rounds. National runner-up Santa Clara defeated the Blazers in overtime 3-2, in Birmingham, in the quarterfinal match.
"These are two teams who believe they can go a long way in the tournament," said Getman. "Washington has a great soccer tradition. It should be a great game. We've got a tough trip ahead of us, across two time zones. However, we're the healthiest we've been all year and will go in at full strength," said Getman.
This is the first at-large bid for the Blazers. UAB went to the tournament in 1994 after winning the Great Midwest Conference title. Last the Blazers advanced after defeating Saint Louis for the C-USA Championship.
Getman, in his ninth year with the Blazers, has led UAB to a 31-10-2 mark the last two years. UAB finished one-half game behind Saint Louis in the regular season before falling in the championship match. Saint Louis was the only C-USA team to beat UAB this year.
North Carolina is the top seed in the tournament. The Blazers handed the Tar Heels one of its two losses, 2-1 in the NIKE UAB CLASSIC, early in the season. UAB also defeated Furman, ranked 16th, who will face second-seeded Clemson in the first round