ACC champion Maryland is the No. 5 seed in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament, leading a record nine regional teams into the 48-team field.
The Terrapins (13-3-5) received a first-round bye and will await the Penn-Providence winner Sunday at Ludwig Field.
Coach Sasho Cirovski was disappointed that conquering the nation’s best conference did not translate into a higher seed.
“I am a little surprised we didn’t get a top-four seed but glad we got a bye,” he said. “You put it behind you and quickly look ahead to the first game.”
Three others from the area were seeded: Georgetown at No. 6, Virginia 8th and UMBC 16th.
George Mason, Navy, Virginia Commonwealth, William & Mary and Old Dominion will play first-round matches Thursday.
Last year’s national runner-up, Georgetown (13-4-2), will face Old Dominion (10-5-1) or Drexel (9-7-4) on Sunday at Shaw Field.
Virginia (10-5-5), which fell to Maryland in the ACC final, will play Delaware (14-4-1) or St. John’s (10-6-2) on Sunday at Klockner Stadium. America East champion UMBC, which at 16-1-2 boasts the best record in the tournament, will host Connecticut or Quinnipiac this weekend.
Patriot League champion Navy (15-3-2), making its first tournament appearance in 25 years and featuring a nation’s-best 14-game winning streak, will visit VCU (11-7-2) on Thursday evening, with the winner to play No. 14 seed Wake Forest (9-5-5) on Sunday.
Atlantic 10 champion George Mason (12-2-5) will carry a 12-game unbeaten streak to former CAA rival William & Mary (11-5-2) on Thursday. At stake is a trip to No. 7 seed New Mexico (11-5-2) this weekend.
Three of the four top seeds are from the West: UCLA (11-3-4), Washington (14-1-4), Notre Dame (12-1-6) and California (12-4-2). It was the opposite outcome in the 64-team women’s tournament unveiling last week as all top seeds came from the ACC (Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida State and North Carolina).
Twenty-three men’s teams received automatic berths for winning conference titles, while 25 claimed at-large slots. Despite an 8-11-2 record, defending champion Indiana squeaked into the field by winning the Big Ten crown. In the most intriguing first-round clash, the Hoosiers will visit Akron (16-3-1).
If the seeds hold form, none of the locals would host a quarterfinal match: Maryland would visit Cal, which defeated the Terps 3-2 in overtime in the second game of the season; Georgetown would go to former Big East foe Notre Dame; and Virginia would travel to UCLA.
The College Cup semifinals and final are Dec. 13-15 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
The complete bracket with dates and kickoff times for the first two rounds is available here.
“It’s a year of parity in college soccer,” Cirovski said. “It’s going to be wide open and unpredictable.”