The NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Committee released the 64-team field for the 34th Division I women’s soccer tournament, and the Florida State Seminoles earned the top-overall seed.
The Seminoles (14-2-3), who are the defending national champions, will have the opportunity as the No. 1 seed to host each of the first four rounds, according to the Florida State Athletic Department. Florida State earned an automatic bid after winning the ACC championship by defeating then top-ranked Virginia 7-6 in penalty kicks.
Florida State will open up the tournament by hosting Evansville (6-10-3) at the Seminole Soccer Complex on November 13. This is the 12th time that the Seminoles are hosting a tournament game, where they 35-1-0 all-time in the postseason.
“When you start the preseason, you have an awful lot of teams that are hoping for this moment, looking at the bracket and hoping their name will be called,” said FSU head coach Mark Krikorian. “Fortunately, after finding the result yesterday, we knew we’d be called. We’re obviously flattered that the committee thought enough of us to put us on the top line. But at the end of the day, there are 64 of us that are all going to be fighting for the same prize. All of our attention will now go to Evansville.”
Evansville is making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2008 after defeating Loyola 5-3 in penalty (0-0 in regulation).
No. 2 Clemson (13-4-1), No. 3 North Carolina (14-4-1) and No. 4 Auburn (14-5-1) earned the other top seeds in the Tallahassee Regional. Clemson will host Furman (17-4-1), North Carolina will host Liberty (13-7-1), and Auburn will host Southeastern Louisiana (13-4-4). Other regional matchup includes Murray State (15-4-0) at Mississippi (13-5-2), Washington (12-6-2) at Texas A&M (15-6-1), North Texas (19-3-3) at Texas Tech (13-3-5), and LSU (13-5-4) at South Alabama (17-2-2).
Virginia, Penn State, and Stanford also received No. 1 seeds. Virginia is the only top-seed not to receive an automatic bid, as Penn State earned the Big Ten’s automatic bid while Stanford claimed the Pac-12 bid.
The Augusta Free Press reports that Virginia (16-1-2), a perennial power, is making its 22nd straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 28th overall. Virginia has reached the College Cup – soccer’s Final Four — the last two years.
The Cavaliers, who are the No. 2 scoring offense in the nation (3.26 goals per game), will host SWAC Champion Howard (13-7-1) in the first round. The Bison upset Alabama State in the SWAC final and are the No. 3 scoring offense in the nation with 3.2.
Big Ten Tournament runners-up Rutgers (16-3-2) earned the No.2 seed in the Charlottesville Regional and will host Fairleigh Dickinson (16-4-0).No. 3 seed Notre Dame (13-4-1) hosts Oakland (12-6-1), while No. 4 USC (14-5-1) hosts Cal State Fullerton (16-3-1). Other Charlottesville Regional matchups includes: North Carolina-Wilmington (14-6-1) at South Carolina (12-4-3), Boston College (11-6-2) at Princeton (13-3-1), Siena (12-6-3) at Connecticut (17-3-0).
Penn State (16-3-2) earned a No. 1 seed by capturing its sixth Big Ten title and will host America East Tournament champion Albany (11-8-1). The Nittany Lions are playing in their ninth consecutive national tournament while the Great Danes are making their first appearance, per the Centre Daily Times.
No. 2 West Virginia (16-2-1), No. 3 California (13-5-3), and No. 4 Virginia Tech (14-3-2) also earned top seeds in the State College Regional. West Virginia hosts Duquesne (12-9-1) while California hosts Loyola Marymount (13-5-1) and Virginia Tech hosts Cincinnati (13-5-5). Boston University (15-3-1) at St. John’s (15-2-1), Butler (16-6-1) at Ohio State (11-6-3), South Dakota State (12-5-3) at Minnesota (11-6-3), and Northwestern (13-5-2) at Washington State (14-5-0) are the other games in the region.
According to the Palo Alto Online, Stanford (16-2-0) is making its 17th consecutive NCAA Tournament and 25th overall. The Cardinal, who have advanced to the College Cup in seven of the past eight years, hosts Mountain West Champion San Jose State (10-7-4).
SEC Champion Florida Gators (17-3-1) received the No. 2 seed in the Palo Alto Regional, and will host Western Michigan (14-3-4). No. 3 Duke (10-5-4) will host James Madison (14-6-2), while No. 4 Santa Clara (13-5-2) hosts Long Beach State (11-6-3). Other games in the regional include: William & Mary (14-4-2) at UCF (12-6-1), Florida Gulf Coast (13-5-2) at South Florida (15-3-3), Northern Colorado (13-7-2) at Arizona (12-5-2), and Utah Valley (14-6-1) at BYU (15-2-2).
The ACC received the most bids among the 31 conferences, with eight. The SEC and Pac-12 each had six bids, and the Big Ten got five invites. Each of the 31 conference tournament champs received an automatic bid, leaving 33 at-large bids.
First-round games will be played November 13, 14, and 15. Second-round games will be played Friday, November 20, and third-round games will be played Sunday, November 22, at the same campus sites. Quarterfinal games will be played November 27 or 28.
The 34th annual NCAA Women’s College Cup will be played December 4 and December 6 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
[Photo courtesy Florida State’s Women’s Soccer / Twitter]