Dec. 9, 1999
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Indiana has been to the NCAA soccer Final Four 13 times in 27 seasons under coach Jerry Yeagley, winning four times.
UCLA has been to 10 Final Fours, Connecticut five and Santa Clara four.
"It's like eating ice cream when you're a kid, though," Yeagley said as the Hoosiers (19-3) prepared to play UCLA (19-2) in Friday's semifinals. "You get a taste of that ice cream and you want a little more. It's always nice to get back."
Santa Clara (15-3-3) plays No. 4 Connecticut (19-4) in the other game.
"There are some very rich traditions," Yeagley said. "And I think it'll be an entertaining demonstration, fun for the crowd and the players as well."
UCLA has won its last three games against Indiana, including a 1-0 victory in the 1997 NCAA semifinals.
"I bet they've probably got some pent-up anger about that," UCLA midfielder Pete Vagenas said.
The event is in Charlotte after being staged the last four years in Richmond, Va., where crowds in excess of 20,000 were common.
Now that the event is moving to the home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers, early indications are that soccer is a tough sell in a region dominated by pro football, the NBA and college basketball.
The 73,250-seat facility was chosen in part because organizers had hoped to fill up the lower seating bowl, which holds about 31,000, to accommodate what was perceived as a growing demand for the sport. But as the event approached this week, only about 13,000 tickets had been sold.
"When I heard it was moving to Ericsson Stadium, I thought they were gambling a bit," U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena said. "But it's good for the sport, good for motivation. How will it look during the championship game with 10,000 or 20,000 in the stands?"