Fresh off their heartbreaking 1-0 defeat at the hands of SMU in the American Championship Sunday, the UCF Knights Men’s Soccer team learned they are the #9 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament during Monday’s Selection Show.
NO. 9 NATIONAL SEED IN THE TOP LEFT CORNER:— NCAA Soccer (@NCAASoccer) November 18, 2019
UCF#NCAASoccer | @UCF_MSoccer pic.twitter.com/C1BGIIBjO5
As one of the top 16 seeds, the Knights get a bye for the second straight year in the 48-tam field. They will play the winner of Missouri State and Denver in the second round at the UCF Track and Soccer Complex on Sunday, November 24th at 6 p.m. ET.
The Knights’ reaction was somewhat reserved upon seeing their names on the bracket:
Back to back seasons as a national seed! ⚔️ #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/6kx8byZD7V— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) November 18, 2019
Afterwards, head coach Scott Calabrese and striker Cal Jennings said all the right things:
The grind don't stop, especially when it comes to the NCAA Tournament ⚔️ #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/AAsZuvItsL— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) November 18, 2019
Still there has to be some disappointment after the loss on Sunday. Even so, SMU was tabbed with the #8 seed, which means the Mustangs and Knights would face each other for a third time this season in the third round if both squads won their opening games.
The winner of that game would likely play #1 overall seed Virginia in the next round.
Making things worse was UCF finished at #5 in the RPI, four spots ahead of their seed.
Last year UCF lost in their opening game to Lipscomb 1-0 despite gaining the bye and hosting as the #14 national seed.
2019 marks the first back-to-back appearances in the NCAAs for the Knights since 2010 and 2011. UCF’s last win in the tournament came in 2011, a 1-0 overtime win over FGCU thanks to a golden goal by Kevan George, who now plays in the USL.