Tulsa soccer team aiming for another deep NCAA Tournament run
BY JOHN D. FERGUSON World Correspondent
Sunday, November 25, 2012
11/25/12 at 5:40 AM
Five University of Tulsa men's soccer players have lived the peaks and valleys of collegiate competition.
When Michael Murray, Jenks graduate Cody Mumma, Jake Dobkins, Kyle Cumings and Matt Boullt were freshmen, the Hurricane reached the NCAA's Elite Eight before being eliminated. TU qualified for the NCAA Championship again in 2010, but failed to qualify in 2011.
The 2012 season has swung successfully back. The Hurricane is on a four-game winning streak and has only lost one game in the last nine dating back to Oct. 8, after topping South Florida (1-0 in OT) in the NCAA's second round.
TU ranks fifth in scoring offense (2.35 goals a game), sixth in total goals (47), eighth in total points (131), 18th in total assists (37) and 21st in won-lost-tied percentage (.725) nationally this season.
Individually, Union graduate Cristian Mata has a team-best 13 goals and 32 points while Bryce Follensbee has nine goals. Omar Mata, also a Union graduate, and Akeil Barrett have each netted seven goals. Goalkeeper Mark Pais has logged all 1,842 minutes in goal, picked up 72 saves and has eight shutouts this year.
"We got there four years ago and it's a dream for everyone to try and win the national championship," said Cumings, a forward. "This is a far cry from last year. It's been a good team effort this year."
Cumings pointed to a game with Oakland during a Dallas tournament as a turning point for scoring.
"We started off the season slowly. We were missing something," Cumings said. "Everything started clicking against Oakland."
TU won 7-5 and signaled a new scoring personality for the team.
The most surprising thing about the season for Boullt was the C-USA tournament's final game with SMU. The Hurricane won 5-0.
"We've followed our game plan and played to the best of our ability," Boullt said.
"Matt's an intense competitor and a good one-on-one defender," said coach Tom McIntosh. "He provides a good attack option out of the back (of the formation)."
Dobkins is not satisfied with just trying to reach the Elite Eight again.
"We not only want to get there, but all the way to the Final Four," defender Dobkins said.
"Jake's our vocal leader and a tremendous worker," McIntosh said. "He covers for so many of our guys and is the last line of defense for us."
San Diego defeated No. 25 Cal-State Northridge and No. 6 UCLA in the NCAA first and second rounds, respectively, to advance. The Toreros have gone 11-2 in their last 13 games.
San Diego's Dan Delgado has a team-high nine goals and nine assists for 27 points while Patrick Wallen has eight goals. Drew Ilijevski has played the majority of minutes between the posts and has 42 saves and four shutouts this season.
If Tulsa wins, it will play the winner of Georgetown and Syracuse, who play at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Original Print Headline: Tulsa aiming for deeper NCAA run
Vs. San Diego
5 p.m. Sunday
Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadium
Admission: $10 for adults and $5 for youth 16 and under.