By Tim Goodenow for MSNsportsNET.com
November 9, 2009
NCAA BRACKET |
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia University women’s soccer team will start its quest for the 2009 NCAA College Cup against Loyola University Maryland in the opening round of NCAA tournament Friday, Nov. 13, at W. Dennie Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“Any time you make the NCAA tournament, your first reaction is excitement,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We knew we would be traveling somewhere within in a driving radius. We are excited to be playing in such a tough bracket and our preparation for Loyola begins tonight.”
Wake Forest will serve as one of 16 host schools for the first and second rounds of the national tournament. The other first-round match in Winston-Salem features 10th-ranked Wake Forest versus Kennesaw State. The Mountaineers and Greyhounds will kickoff on Friday at 3 p.m., while the Demon Deacons and Owls begin at 5:30 p.m. The winners of Friday's games will face off in the second round on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. Tickets prices have been set at $5 for students and seniors and $7 for adults.
The Mountaineers are 9-9 all-time in NCAA tournament play, including a 3-1 mark against teams on a neutral site. WVU has played only one match all-time at W. Dennie Spry Stadium – a 2-0 loss to Virginia in the 2006 NCAA first round. West Virginia and Loyola have met twice before, with both contests coming during the NCAA tournament (2002, 2003).
The 64-team NCAA tournament field includes 30 conference champions receiving automatic bids and 34 at-large selections. Wake Forest, the No. 3 seed in the 16-team North Carolina region, and West Virginia were at-large picks. Kennesaw State won the Atlantic Sun Conference and Loyola won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to earn automatic berths.
Loyola carries a 15-4-3 record on the season and is riding a program-record 14 game-unbeaten streak (12-0-2). The Mountaineers own a record of 9-6-6 after advancing to their eighth BIG EAST Championship semifinal.
West Virginia now has made 10-consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, a mark tied for the ninth-longest streak in the nation. The Mountaineers first made the field of 64 in 2000 and have not missed since, advancing to the Sweet 16 twice and the Elite Eight in 2007.
Seven BIG EAST women's soccer teams (Connecticut, Marquette, Notre Dame, Rutgers, St. John's, Villanova and West Virginia) made the NCAA tournament, a feat also accomplished in 2006. The seven teams selected is one shy of the league record of eight set in 2001.
“The number of teams from the BIG EAST each year shows how good the conference is,” said Izzo-Brown. “We played all six of those teams this season and all of us can make deep runs in this national tournament.”
A BIG EAST team has advanced to the College Cup 10 times in the past 14 years. In addition, a BIG EAST squad has played for the women’s soccer national championship seven times in the last 12 seasons and claimed a pair of national titles.
Third round games will be played at on-campus sites Nov. 20, 21 or 22. Quarterfinal matches will be played Nov. 27, 28 or 29. Times will be announced. The 28th annual 64-team NCAA Women’s College Cup will be played Dec. 4 and 6 at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.