The NCAA tournament field of 48 was unveiled Monday, and as expected the field has plenty of Philadelphia Union Academy connections. A total of twelve teams boast players with academy experience either in their starting lineups or among the reserves.
Leading the way in the field are Andrew Herr and Michigan State as the No. 3 seed despite losing to Maryland on penalty kicks in the Big 10 tournament semifinal over the weekend. Maryland, with sophomore goalkeeper Zack Steffen and senior forward Alex Shinsky in the starting XI earned the No. 4 seed after completing a Big 10 double with the regular season and tournament championships.
Sophomore defender Billy McConnell and Indiana are the No. 5 seed, followed by Georgetown and academy trio Keegan Rosenberry, Melvin Snoh and Brett Campbell at No. 8, Shane Campbell and Louisville at No. 13 and Darius Madison and Virginia No. 16. The seeded teams in the tournament get a first-round bye and begin play on Sunday, November 23.
Big 10 offensive player of the year Connor Maloney and Penn State missed out on a seed after a late-season slump and will host Hartwick in a first-round match in State College tonight. Nittany Lions Brandon Savino, Michael Gonzalez and Christian Kaschak also have experience playing for the Union Academy.
Other games tonight include Todd Pratzner and Xavier, who lost to Providence in the Big East Final at PPL Park on Sunday, hosting Matt Jeffery, Jelani Williams and Monmouth, and Colton Storm and North Carolina hosting Colonial Athletic Association champions and goalkeeper Kyle Morton's James Madison Dukes. Surprise Atlantic 10 conference champions Fordham with Kyle Bitterman in the lineup will travel to play Ivy League champions Dartmouth and freshman reserve Matthew Greer in a 5 p.m. game.
James Madison, thanks in part to Morton's all-tournament team performance shutting out the high-powered Delaware attack for a second time this season, Fordham, Dartmouth, Maryland behind Steffen's outstanding defender of the tournament honor and Monmouth won automatic bids.
Louisville was two seconds away from capturing the ACC tournament championship in their first season when Clemson equalized before winning in overtime.