It will be a battle of East versus West as well as a battle of survival Sunday evening when the Washington men’s soccer team hosts Boston College in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Husky Soccer Stadium.

The Huskies (15-3), as the No. 6 overall seed in the tournament, received a bye in the first round. Boston College (9-5-3) defeated Yale 3-0 to advance to Sunday’s game, which will begin at 5 p.m.

“We were expecting a closer game (between Yale and Boston College) because both teams are very talented,” said UW coach Jamie Clark, whose team was ranked No. 1 in the nation for several weeks. “The nice thing is when a team wins that resoundingly, it certainly gets your guys’ attention.”

What also got UW’s attention were two straight home losses — to Stanford and California — late in the season while ranked No. 1. UW rebounded with a 3-1 win at Oregon State to finish the regular season, and Clark said those losses might not have been a bad thing.

“We learned a lot in those games, and we made a few tweaks,” said Clark, who said his midfielders were getting too far forward trying to score goals. “We were getting to comfortable running away with games.”

The Huskies, after being upset in the opening round of the NCAA tournament the past two years, entered the season with a stated goal of winning the Pac-12 title. That was accomplished, but they are not satisfied.


“We want to be greedy and we want more, but there’s the satisfaction of having a piece of silverware in the trophy case (for winning the Pac-12) and hopefully that takes a little pressure off,” Clark said. “But I know these guys, and they won’t truly be satisfied unless we are in the College Cup (the final four). It’s sort of the high standard that has gotten us here. I know they want a lot more, and to be honest, I do too.”

This is the first time in 10 years that the Huskies have played a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“We are very excited to play an ACC team,” Clark said. “They take great pride in calling themselves the best soccer conference in the country, and we object to it. And they refuse to travel West to play games, so we are finally getting an ACC team out here.”

The Huskies relish the challenge, and being part of the tournament.

“These are the big moments that the players want to play in,” Clark said. “This is the fun (part). Pressure is a two-way street because we can use it to harness our focus and make sure we are firing on all cylinders. We have true belief that we are one of the best four or five teams in the country, but you have to prove it every day.”