Auburn Selected To Host First And Second Rounds Of NCAA Soccer Tournament
Nov. 10, 2008
AUBURN, Ala. - Monday was a day full of anxiety for the Auburn soccer team as it waited to see if its name would be called for the 2008 NCAA Soccer Championships. Monday night was full of elation as the team saw its name called to not only participate in its third straight postseason tournament but also to play host to the first and second rounds at the Auburn Soccer Complex this Friday night and Sunday afternoon.
"We were excited to see our name come up on the board and we are just thrilled to have the opportunity to play at home this weekend," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "It's a great opportunity for our girls, especially our seniors, to play at home again and it's an even better opportunity for Auburn University to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament."
"I didn't see our name come up at first, I just heard everyone else cheering," Auburn senior and First Team All-SEC goalkeeper Allison Whitworth said. "I was expecting to see our name in one of the later brackets, because we have had to endure that in the past, and I was just waiting without getting my hopes up too high. It was a very exciting moment when I realized we were in. It is very satisfying to get one more chance at the tournament with the opportunity to achieve the goals we set as a team before the season."
Auburn received an at-large bid to its seventh NCAA Tournament in the last eight seasons by virtue of an 11-8-2 record and it will be paired up against Atlantic Sun Conference champion Belmont (13-6-3) in Friday's first match at 5pm CT. Joining the two teams will be Florida State (14-2-3), an at-large selection from the ACC, and Mississippi Valley State (9-10-0), the winner of the SWAC championship, and the two will meet at 7:30pm Friday night.
"Belmont is going to be a very difficult team to play. They lost to Vanderbilt, 1-0, in double-overtime and they defend extremely well and are very well coached. (Belmont Head Coach) Lisa Howe does a fantastic job. This is a tough draw but we are certainly excited that it is at home," Hoppa said.
Auburn previously played host to the first and second rounds in 2004, defeating Clemson, 2-0, in the opener before falling to No. 14 Washington in the second round by a 1-0 count.
"I am very excited about playing at home. It was completely unexpected and quite a surprise to all of us. To be at home and to be able to prepare like normal, going to class and not having to travel, all those things that can cause extra stress will not be there. We will be able to completely focus on our game on Friday night," Whitworth said.
Friday's meeting will be the first between Auburn and Belmont, which is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
Auburn is 1-7-0 all-time against Florida State and faced the Seminoles earlier this year in Auburn, falling 3-0. Auburn is 0-3 against FSU in three previous postseason meetings.
Auburn has never faced Mississippi Valley State.
Tickets to the matches are $3 for college students with proper ID and under and $10 for adults. Fans need to purchase just one ticket for admission to both matches on Friday night. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-AUB-1957, ext. 1.
The championship game will be played at 2pm on Sunday.
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