Dec. 8, 2010
Michigan travels to Santa Barbara, Calif., this weekend to take part in the 2010 NCAA Men's Soccer College Cup, marking the Wolverines' first trip to the event. No. 10 Michigan (17-4-3) will square off with No. 3 Akron (20-1-2) in the national semifinals at 11 p.m. ET on Friday at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
The Wolverines are the first Big Ten team to advance to the College Cup since Ohio State advanced to the national championship in 2007, falling to Wake Forest in the title match. After winning its first three matches in this year's tournament, Michigan holds an all-time record of 6-3-1 in the NCAA Championship. The Wolverines, who enter the match on a nine-game winning streak, are 3-5-0 all-time against Akron, including a 7-1 loss to the Zips on Oct. 19.
Michigan boasts one of the most active offenses in Big Ten history, holding conference records in shots (471) and shots per game (19.62). Big Ten Freshman of the Year Soony Saad has made a name for himself in the conference records book as well, holding the single-season record for shots (148), as well as cracking the top 10 in goals (fourth, 19) and points (T-fifth, 43). Teammate Justin Meram is not far behind, holding top-10 marks in points (T-eighth, 40) and goals (T-ninth, 16). Meram's four goals in the NCAA Championship rank first among all players in this year's tournament.
Michigan entered the 2010 NCAA Championship as the No. 10 seed, earning a bye into the second round after winning the Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverines topped Central Florida in overtime, 2-1, in the second round before facing No. 7 South Carolina in the round of 16. Michigan scored three goals early on in the second half against the Gamecocks to take the lead for good, winning a 3-1 contest to advance to the quarterfinals.
The Wolverines then defeated No. 2 Maryland, 3-2, in double overtime after Fabio Pereira put away the game-winning goal in the 104th minute to punch their ticket to the College Cup. Maryland scored the first goal of the game in the 17th minute, but Michigan reeled off two unanswered goals to take the lead in the second half. The Terrapins knotted the score at 2-2 in the 79th minute, sending the match to overtime. After a scoreless first overtime period, Pereira came through with the game-winner for the Wolverines early on in the second.
With a win, Michigan would advance to Sunday's national championship match against the winner of Friday's first semifinal between No. 1 Louisville and No. 4 North Carolina. The championship match is set for 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.