Men's Soccer Vies For NCAA Tournament 'Sweet 16' Trip On Wednesday Night At Northwestern
Nov. 27, 2007
Chicago, Ill. - The city rivalry between the UIC men's soccer team and Northwestern will have a lot more at stake than the usual regular season derby on Wednesday night as a trip to the NCAA Tournament `Sweet 16' will be on the line when the Flames (11-5-6) and Wildcats (12-4-3) square off at Lakeside Field in Evanston at 7 p.m.
The winner of Wednesday's tilt will advance to meet the victor of Creighton and SMU on Sunday, Dec. 2.
The 2007 campaign marked the first time in the last 17 years that UIC and Northwestern did not meet during the regular season, so it was only fitting that the two squads were reunited in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for their first-ever postseason match.
The Flames earned a spot in the `Round of 32' for the second straight season by advancing past Saint Louis on penalty kicks on Nov. 23 after 110 scoreless minutes of play.
The Wildcats, who earned the No. 9 national seed in the tournament, had a bye in the opening round and will be playing their first match since falling in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament back on Nov. 9.
UIC is playing its best soccer of the season, owning a 5-0-1 ledger in its last six contests, while allowing just a single goal during that stretch.
The Flames have not had the benefit of any layoff over the last three weeks, playing three matches en route to winning the Horizon League Tournament and advancing past the Billikens in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament since Northwestern played last.
The Flames are led on the pitch by seniors Cesar Zambrano (6 goals, 7 assists) and Pavle Dundjer (5 goals, 3 assists), as well as a crew of stingy defenders patrolling the backline in front of All-Horizon League keeper Jovan Bubonja (0.54 GAA).
UIC has enjoyed success over the years against Northwestern, owning a 12-7-1 all-time record against the Wildcats, including a 1-0 victory last season at Flames Field.
The Flames last advanced to the 'Sweet 16' in 2000, which marked UIC's deepest run in the NCAA Tournament.
Northwestern will be looking to continue the run of success it enjoyed in NCAA Tournament play last year. The Wildcats advanced all the way to the quarterfinals, before bowing out of the tournament with a 3-2 loss to eventual national champion UC Santa Barbara.