IU men’s soccer to play NCAA opener at Akron

Fresh off Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship, the Indiana men’s soccer team learned its path to defending last year’s NCAA title on Monday afternoon.

The Hoosiers (8-11-2) will kick things off Thursday at Akron (16-3-1) in a 7 p.m. contest. IU boasts an all-time record of 24-6-2 against the Zips but has dropped the last three meetings by the same 1-0 score, including a loss in the third round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

“We’re familiar with the way they play, and we’ve seen them play a little bit this year,” IU coach Todd Yeagley said of Akron. “But a team you haven’t seen already, it’s nice. The seniors have played there, which is good, because it’s a loud atmosphere. I think that will help them going into it, and we’ll utilize that strength from our senior group, being very confident going to their place. (Akron)’s a team that wants to play, so I think it’s going to be a really entertaining game, and one where I think there’s going to be special plays made.”

Indiana will be making its 27th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 38th overall, and will look to improve its NCAA-best .745 (83-27-4) winning percentage in the tournament and all-time leading victory total of 83.