Auburn celebrates upon hearing the news its one of the 16 national seeds for the NCAA Tournament
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Karen Hoppa says her Auburn soccer team should be proud of the fact it was named one of the 16 national seeds Monday for the NCAA Tournament. Now, the coach who has now led Auburn to 13 NCAA appearances wants more.
"We remember the pain of the second-round game last year when we lost when we felt we were the better team. We felt the unfinished business. Now, we have a chance to play in the NCAAs again," she said after the NCAA announced a Saturday night first-round game between No. 4-seed Auburn and Southeastern Louisiana. The Tigers, who are 9-1 at home, will host at 6 p.m.
"We've had such a good record playing at home… It's a nice present," said senior Kala Faulkner.
Auburn, one of six SEC teams to make the NCAA field, is 14-5-1 with the second-most wins in school history. Southeastern Louisiana, the Southland Conference champ, is 13-4-4. The winner of the Auburn-Southeastern Louisiana game will play the winner of the Texas Tech-North Texas game next week.
It is only the second time Auburn has been selected as a national seed.
"We're just thrilled," Hoppa said. "It's a testament to everything the girls have accomplished throughout the year. I'm really happy for them and proud for them. It's an honor. But now that doesn't matter anymore. Every team we play will be quality.
"It's great to play at home again, and really that was the goal. We were really disappointed on Senior Night in our last home game, and we really wanted to give these seniors another chance to play at home. I'm happy we accomplished that. Now, we have to go out and play our best game on Saturday night."
Hoppa said she knows Southeastern Louisiana coach Blake Hornbuckle, and knows what to expect.
"They won their conference championship for a reason. I know their coach really well. He'll have them organized, and they play hard and they play quality soccer."
Ticket information is here.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine