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Everything you need to know about the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament

In most years, the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament—or College Cup, as it’s better known—has rarely been in the minds of this generation’s Seton Hall sports fans, but this year’s tournament will be unique in that No. 6 Seton Hall will be taking part for the first time since 2005, after beating No. 2 Georgetown in the Big East Tournament final for an automatic bid.

With Seton Hall participating in this year’s tournament, here is a crash course on how this year’s College Cup will work amid the coronavirus pandemic.. S:

ncaa-soccer
Photo via NCAA

When and where will this year’s College Cup be held?

This year’s College Cup will follow the same format as the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments with all games taking place in North Carolina. Games will be held at numerous sites including Wake Forest, UNC-Greensboro, and UNC-Wilmington.

The tournament will begin with four games on April 29 in a similar vein to the first four in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, with lower seeded teams playing for the chance to face one of the tournament’s top four seeds. The top seed is ACC champion Clemson and Pittsburgh (at-large ACC), Indiana (Big 10 champ), and Stanford (Pac 12 champ) round out the top four.

The tournament has 36 teams this year instead of the usual 48. The tournament’s second and third rounds will take place on May 2 and May 6, respectively,and the quarterfinals on May 10 at various sites.

The tournament semis will take place on May 14, and the final on May 17. All games from the second round on will be played at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, a large suburb of Raleigh.

When will Seton Hall be playing?

Two days after their Big East title game triumph, the Seton Hall Pirates were awarded the sixth overall seed in the tournament.

In their first-round game, Seton Hall will take on Air Force, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) champions. Air Force is 7-4-1 and defeated San Jose State, UT-Rio Grande Valley, and Grand Canyon in the WAC tournament to qualify for the Cup. Michael Neacsu and Lathan Spadafora are the Falcons’ main weapons on offense with three goals apiece this season.

The Pirates will meet the Falcons on Sunday, May 2 at 8 p.m. at the Sportsplex in Matthews, North Carolina.

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What happens if a team has a player test positive for COVID?

The coronavirus has already reared its ugly head with the College Cup.

The University of Denver, the Summit League champion had a player test positive this week and was forced to forfeit the tournament. Conference runner-up Omaha has taken their place.

The sad case of Denver will provide incentive to all 36 teams heading to North Carolina to take the proper precautions, as no team wants to see their season end abruptly due to a positive case instead of a golden goal or penalty kick.

Are fans allowed?

In a word, yes. The NCAA is allowing friends and family to attend every College Cup game.

Attendance will be capped at 25% capacity in compliance with NCAA Medical Advisory Group guidelines.

Matt Collins can be reached at matthew.collins@student.shu.edu.

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