Men's Soccer Hosts UAB in NCAA First Round

Nov. 13, 2000

Seattle, Wash. - The No. 13 Washington men's soccer team will host Alabama-Birmingham in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m., Fri., Nov. 17 at Husky Soccer Field. The Pac-10 champion Huskies (13-5-0) earned an at-large berth and will be making a sixth consecutive tournament appearance. They face the UAB Blazers (14-4-2), who also earned an at-large berth after finishing second in the Conference USA tournament.

The Huskies finished the regular season with a record of 13-5-0 overall and 7-1-0 en route to claiming the first-ever Pacific-10 Conference title. Washington entered the year as one of just 10 programs in the nation with a current five-year streak of appearing in the postseason tournament. With their bid to the 2000 tournament, the Huskies become one of only nine other programs in the country to match the feat. In all, Washington has made 13 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

The Blazers finished the year at 14-4-2 and ended the regular season with a 2-1 loss to St. Louis in the conference champioship game. They posted a record of 5-1-2 in the conference regular season play. This will be the first meeting between the Blazers and the Huskies.

'Our team is excited for postseason play,' said Husky head coach Dean Wurzberger, who is in his ninth year at Washington. 'They have had enough success and enough set backs this year that they know what it takes to win. They know they need to have the right mindset. All the individuals have to be playing well for the team to do well. Our slow start cost us a little bit (starting the season 0-2) and our loss to Portland at the end of the season cost us a bit. But we are playing at home and we're playing a good team at home. The biggest thing I'm excited about is that we are playing an out of region team. History will show that we've always matched up with another team from the west, Stanford, Portland, UCLA, someone we had already played. That used to be the old format, but the NCAA is moving teams around now. We are delighted to be playing someone out of region. Having said that, the last time we hosted was in 1998 and we got beat by North Carolina-Greensboro. So it doesn't mean this is an easy game. Hopefully we learned from that experience. Just because they are out of region doesn't mean they aren't a good team.

'We are coming off a great performance at Cal Friday,' Wurzberger added. 'Some of our best soccer of the season was in that first 30 minutes when we took a 3-0 lead. We've been asking for goals from our forwards and they've been coming lately. We're playing well. This team has been in the playoffs every year, so that helps with experience. They know they have to bring everything they have. The attitude is good. Everyone is anxious to get started and all the better that it's Friday, instead of having to wait until Sunday. We've got to make sure we are firing on all cylinders Friday night. We've been playing well lately. We are battle-tested, coming through the Pac-10. There is not a tougher conference. You play UCLA, Stanford, California and Oregon State twice, home and away, and that's tough.'

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