On Monday morning, the University of Portland men’s soccer team earned an at-large bid for the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Soccer Championships. The team earned their spot in the playoffs thanks to a stellar 11-3-3 record that includes big wins over teams like Coastal Carolina, Oregon State and Syracuse.
The playoff field is made up of 48 teams, with 24 being automatic qualifiers for winning their conference and the other 24 being at-large bids, which are invitations to the playoffs based on how well a team performed during the regular season. Portland only finished third in the WCC this year, but their solid record and key wins early in the season helped the team earn that invitation.
The Pilots will play their first round game at home this Thursday at 4 p.m. against the UCLA Bruins. The last time these two teams faced off was in 2003. The winner of the game Thursday will get the opportunity to play Kentucky, the number three team in the nation, in the second round on the road.
Portland was one of three WCC teams to qualify, the others being Pacific and Saint Mary’s. It will be the program’s second appearance in three years and its 16th appearance in program history.
The Bruins finished the season with a record of 10-8 this year. This is their 45th appearance in the tournament overall, with a record of 73-40 in the postseason. This is also the 14th time in 15 years the program has made it into the playoffs under head coach Jorge Salcado.
Pilot head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt also served as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for three years at UCLA. He assembled the number one recruiting class in the nation every year he was there.
Kyle Garcia is the sports editor for The Beacon. He can be reached at email@example.com.