The third round of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship begins this Sunday with Indiana and Northwestern still in the hunt for the national crown. After playing host in the opening rounds of competition, both teams will travel to meet third-round opponents. Winners from the round of 16 will advance to the quarterfinals with games being played on either Dec. 4, 5 or 6.
The Hoosiers travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. where they will face No. 5 seed North Carolina in their second straight third-round appearance and the third in the lat four years. Indiana advanced to the third round by beating Louisville (2-0) and No. 12 seed Butler (1-0). The Hoosiers will look to improve on their Division I-best 76 wins and all-time record of 76-24-4 (.750) in national tournament play in Sunday's matchup against the Tar Heels, which is set to kickoff at 2 p.m. ET. The game will mark the third NCAA tournament meeting between the Hoosiers and the Tar Heels with North Carolina proving victorious most recently with a 2-0 win in the 2001 NCAA College Cup title match. In 2000, Indiana downed the ACC foe 1-0 in the quarterfinal round. Indiana is currently 5-2 in its last seven matches while shutting out its opponents in four of its last five NCAA tournament matches.
Ninth-seed Northwestern will journey to Tulsa, Okla., to face No. 8 seed Tulsa for a third-round matchup set for 3 p.m. ET. The Wildcats ousted Notre Dame (3-1) in their opening round while the Golden Hurricanes survived a narrow 4-3 overtime decison over Saint Louis to advance in the bracket. The NCAA bid mark the Wildcats' fifth tournament berth, marking the 2009 NU senior class the first to compete in the NCAA Championship in each of its four years.
The 16 remaining teams will be vying for the chance to compete at the 2009 NCAA Men's College Cup, scheduled to take place Sunday, Dec. 13 in Cary N.C., at WakeMed Soccer Park. North Carolina State University, the Town of Cary and the Capital Area Soccer League will serve as Championship host.