Mary Nicholson headed in the game-winner in the 2-1 win at Washington last week
Nov. 13, 2012
Last weekend the Auburn soccer team made history by winning a NCAA Tournament match on an opponent's home field for the first time. This week Auburn will have to do that for a second straight week in order to make history again as it faces No. 2 BYU at Provo, Utah, at 7pm CT on Thursday as it seeks its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
"BYU may very well be the hardest place to play in the country," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "You are dealing with altitude, weather and their crowds are phenomenal but we certainly excited for the challenge."
Auburn (13-10-1) has never faced BYU (19-1-1) but the two have played three common opponents this season in UC-Irvine, Pepperdine and Washington. Auburn defeated just one of the trio (Washington, 2-1, last weekend at Seattle) while BYU downed all three.
"This is someplace we have never been and that was something we embraced with the Washington trip," Hoppa said. "So many of our players had never been to Seattle and I am sure most of these girls have never been to BYU."
Ranked No. 2 in the polls and the top seed in Auburn's bracket, BYU is the highest ranked team Auburn has faced since playing to a scoreless draw against No. 1 North Carolina on Sept. 20, 2009. However, Auburn has had success against top five-ranked teams, going 2-1-2 all-time against them.
BYU comes into the contest with a potent offense and a stout defense, having scored 49 goals while surrendering just 11. Auburn has scored 35 goals and allowed 28.
"BYU is good and they are a massive threat scoring goals," Hoppa said. "They play a basic 4-3-3, similar to us, and they play a mix of direct and indirect style but they are really dangerous because they score goals and they score goals early and put you on your heels. We will have to withstand some pressure early and try to bend-but-not-break early to where we can settle the game down."
The winner of the Auburn-BYU match will face the winner of the Marquette (17-2-2) vs. Princeton (14-3-1) on Saturday at 6pm CT at Provo.
Thursday's match will be available to listeners on www.auburntigers.com and WEGL 91.1 FM in the Auburn area. The match can also be viewed live on BYUTV on DirectTV (Ch. 374), Dish Network (Ch. 9403) and many other cable providers. The match can also be viewed online at www.byutvsports.com/gameday by filling out a simple registration form.
ON TO THE SECOND ROUND!
Auburn advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round for the second straight year and the sixth time overall by virtue of a 2-1 win at Washington. Auburn is 0-10-0 all-time in the NCAA Tournament Second Round and is looking to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.
WINNING ON THE OPPONENTS PITCH
To advance to the Sweet 16 Auburn will have to do something it had never done before last week as Auburn's 2-1 win at Washington marked its first-ever NCAA Tournament win on an opponents home field. Prior to the win Auburn was 0-2-0 on an opponent's home field in NCAA Tournament play, falling to Florida State, 2-1, at Tallahassee, Fla., in both the 2002 and 2003 Second Rounds. Auburn's previous five NCAA Tournament wins have either been at home (2004, 2008, 2011 First Rounds) or at neutral sites (2002 and 2003 First Rounds at Tallahassee, Fla.).
AUBURN AGAINST THE SECOND ROUND
Auburn played six matches against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round, going 2-4-0. The wins came against Texas Tech in the regular season (Sept. 8) and Texas A&M at the SEC Tournament (Nov. 2). Auburn did not face any of the seven remaining teams in its bracket.
BYU-AUBURN COMMON OPPONENTS
Auburn and BYU had three ropponents in common this year as both teams played UC-Irvine, Pepperdine and Washington. Auburn was 1-2-0 against the three while BYU was 3-0-0.
AUBURN VS. THE WCC
Auburn is 1-2-0 all-time against teams currently in the West Coast Conference. Auburn's win came against St. Mary's (Aug. 31, 1997 at Honolulu, Hawai'i - 3-2) while both losses have been to Pepperdine (Sept. 12, 2003 at Auburn - 0-4; Aug. 24, 2012 at Malibu, Calif. - 2-1).
AND THE WINNER GOES TO...
Should Auburn advance to the Sweet 16 it would create a new benchmark in program history. Once there it would face the winner of the Marquette vs. Princeton match. Auburn is 2-1-0 all-time against Marquette, with the last meeting coming Aug. 27, 2010 at Milwaukee. Auburn has never faced Princeton in soccer.
AUBURN IN THE BEEHIVE STATE
Auburn's trip to Provo, Utah, will be its first-ever to the Beehive State. Auburn has just one previous match against a team from Utah, defeating Utah State, 2-1, at Auburn in the 2011 NCAA Tournament First Round.
THE LAST TEN
Auburn is 5-4-1 over its last 10 matches, posting three shutouts and getting shutout four times. Auburn did not win back-to-back matches at any point during the last 10 and has not won consecutive matches since winning three straight from Sept. 28-Oct. 5, though it did go undefeated (2-0-1) from Oct. 25-Nov. 2.
AUBURN VS. THE RANKED
Auburn has played eight ranked team this season, winning and tying one and falling in the other six. Auburn is 22-49-5 (.322) all-time against ranked opponents. BYU, which is ranked No. 2, is the highest-ranked opponent Auburn will face since it tied No. 1 North Carolina, 0-0, on Sept. 20, 2009, at Duke. Auburn is 2-1-2 all-time against top-five ranked teams.
THE FIRST TO ONE WINS
Auburn has just one come-from-behind win this season, it coming after it trailed South Carolina, 2-0, just 19:34 into its match on Sept. 28. Conversly, Auburn has surrendered just two leads, those coming in 2-1 losses to Florida (Sept. 16 in overtime) and Kentucky (Oct. 21). Auburn is 12-2-0 this season when scoring first and 1-8-0 when the other team scores first.
Of Auburn's 24 matches, 12 have been decided by a single goal, with Auburn going 6-6-0 in those matches.
For Auburn soccer updates, follow on twitter @AU_Soccer.