Men’s soccer travels to face Louisville in the NCAA First Round on Friday
The JU men’s soccer team will travel to face Louisville on Friday for the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m.

The Dolphins (11-8-1) earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament after rallying in two matches to win the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship in Buies Creek, N.C. on Nov. 15. The Cardinals (11-7-2) get an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament by reaching the Big East quarterfinals before falling to No. 9 Notre Dame.

The winner of this match will face No. 13 national seed North Carolina in Chapel, N.C. on Nov. 25 at 6 p.m.

“This is an exciting draw for us,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “The Cardinals are a good team. They have been ranked in the top-20 this season, including as high as seventh at one point. We don't know much about them, but they are a very good and well-coached team because they compete in one of the toughest conferences in the country (Big East). We are definitley going to have to play our best to get a good result."

The Dolphins reach the tournament for the first time since 1998 season, while the Cardinals in the dance for the second consecutive year.

This will be the second overall meeting between the two schools in their respective histories. The Cardinals downed the Dolphins, 2-1, at the FIU/Umbro Classic in Miami, Fla. during the 1998 campaign.

Currently, the Dolphins are led by senior midfielder Ramak Niakan Safi, who has a career-best nine goals heading into tournament. He also has a total of six goals in the last four JU wins, including two in the A-Sun Championship to earn Tournament MVP accolades.

Junior goalie Joey Sanchez has a career-best 56 saves, 1.10 goals against average and six shutouts to help man the Dolphins’ defense.

Freshman forward Colin Rolfe and senior midfielder Ryan McDonald each lead the Cardinals with five goals. Freshman goalie Andre Bourdreaux has held it down between the nets with a 0.96 GAA in 20 starts for an 11-6-2 record.