BY JEREMY SUMMITT
Daily Sports Writer
Published November 12, 2012
The Michigan men’s soccer team may have missed out on a Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday, but Monday was a new day and surely a better one for the Wolverines.
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The NCAA selection committee announced Monday evening that Michigan (3-2-1 Big Ten, 10-9-1 overall) would receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, ensuring that all was not lost following the bitter 2-1 overtime defeat to Michigan State in Evanston. Better yet, the Wolverines are slated to host the first-round tournament match against Niagara (6-1-1 MAAC, 13-1-4) on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the U-M Soccer Complex.
A home game is crucial for the Wolverines, as they will have the rabid Michigan Ultras at their backs, starving for a victory after making the trip from Ann Arbor to Evanston for the disappointing Big Ten final.
“The Ultras are the best,” said Michigan coach Chaka Daley. “Hopefully we can get them in full force for the first match and then see if we can get going (in the tournament).”
The Wolverines and the Purple Eagles have never met. Michigan is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since its prolific run to the College Cup semifinals in 2010, where they lost 2-1 to to eventual champion Akron, and are delighted to have a shot at the postseason. The Zips await the Wolverines in the second round should Michigan advance.
The Wolverines hold a 7-4 all-time record in the tournament, having yet to lose a first-round match in program history. Michigan will look to continue that trend as the squad begins to prepare this week for a highly anticipated postseason.