North Carolina will try to defend its 2011 NCAA College Cup title while making its 20th appearance in the NCAA Division I mens soccer championship. The Tar Heels look to advance to the College Cup for the fifth straight year.
Highlighted by three Top-16 national seeds, the Atlantic Coast Conference placed five teams in the field of 48.
ACC champion Maryland (17-1-2) received the No. 2 seed, while North Carolina (15-3-2) is seeded ninth and Wake Forest (11-3-5) 15th. Those three teams received first-round byes for the tournament, which gets under way Thursday.
Virginia (9-6-4) and Boston College (8-5-5) also received at-large bids and will play first-round games on Thursday.
The Tar Heels, who lost in the ACC tournament final to Maryland, will host the winner of Thursdays first-round game between Maryland-Baltimore County and Old Dominion on Sunday.
Wake Forest will play the Elon, Coastal Carolina winner on Sunday.
Maryland will make its 30th NCAA Championship appearance and 12th straight. The Terps own three NCAA College Cup titles, with the most recent coming in 2008. Maryland has reached the College Cup Final an ACC-high 11 times.
Virginia extends the nations longest active NCAA Championship appearance streak to 32 straight, while earning its 34th invitation to the big dance. The 32 straight NCAA Championship appearances is also an ACC record that dates back to 1981. Virginia has won six mens soccer national titles with its last coming in 2009.
ACC teams have won the NCAA Tournament 15 times and have appeared in the title game on 22 occasions.
The 2012 College Cup will be held Dec. 7 and 9 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.
49ers get familiar foe
The Charlotte 49ers drew a familiar opponent for the first round of the NCAA soccer tournament.
Charlotte (14-3-3) will face Alabama-Birmingham (10-7-2) Thursday at 7 p.m. at Transamerica Field in a rematch of the 49ers 3-1 victory against the Blazers in last seasons second-round game in Birmingham, Ala.
This will be the fourth time in three seasons the 49ers and Blazers have played. UAB beat Charlotte 2-1 in overtime in the 2010 regular season, while the 49ers and Blazers tied 1-1 earlier this season.
And next year, the two programs will see each other even more regularly when the 49ers move to Conference USA.
This is a good thing: Its always good to play someone who youre familiar with and have some experience against, said Charlotte senior Isaac Caughran. Charlottes victory against the Blazers in last seasons tournament helped propel the 49ers to the College Cup, where they lost in the final to North Carolina. David Scott, Charlotte Observer