PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Four BIG EAST women’s soccer teams were selected for the 2011 NCAA Championship, including the league’s tournament champion West Virginia. Three BIG EAST schools will serve as host sites for First Round games: Louisville, Marquette and West Virginia. Notre Dame also was selected to the field and rounds out the league contingent.
West Virginia (17-4-0, 10-1-0 BIG EAST) captured its third BIG EAST Championship in the last five years and earned the league’s automatic berth. The Mountaineers will host a First Round contest against Virginia Tech on Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. WVU is led by senior Blake Miller, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player. Miller has totaled 27 points along with 10 goals this season. If the Mountaineers advance they would take on either LSU or No. 3 seed Texas A&M. WVU has participated in the NCAA Championship for 12 consecutive seasons, advancing as far as the Elite Eight in 2007. West Virginia is ranked No. 12 in this week’s NSCAA poll and No. 11 according to Soccer America.
Following its third-straight regular-season championship, Marquette (17-3-0, 10-1-0 BIG EAST) will host a First-Round contest against Toledo. MU earns its fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship and its 10th overall. The Golden Eagles tied West Virginia for the league’s American Division crown. Marquette is ranked No. 10 in this week’s NSCAA poll and No. 13 according to Soccer America. If the Golden Eagles advance they would take on either Army or No. 4 seed Penn State.
Louisville (12-6-3, 8-1-2 BIG EAST) makes its third appearance in the NCAA Championship and will host a First Round game against Dayton. Having won their first BIG EAST regular-season title, the Cardinals advanced to the title game of the BIG EAST Championship and are 8-1-0 in their last nine games. The Cardinals are led by sophomore Christine Exeter who leads the team with 31 points and 14 goals. If Louisville advances it would take on either UT-Martin or No. 4 seed Memphis.
Notre Dame (10-7-3, 6-3-2 BIG EAST) will travel to Illinois for its First Round matchup. The Irish were selected for their 19th straight NCAA Championship berth and are the defending NCAA Tournament champions. Led by senior offensive star Melissa Henderson (a league-leading 44 points and 18 goals), the Irish are 53-4-3 all-time when Henderson registers a point. If the Irish advance, they would take on either Arkansas-Pine Bluff or No. 2 seed Oklahoma State.
First-round matches will be played at campus sites Nov. 11, 12 or 13. Second-round matches will be played Nov. 18, at campus sites, and third-round matches will be played Nov. 20, at the same campus sites. Quarterfinal matches will be played Nov. 25, 26 or 27 also on campus sites.
The 30th annual NCAA Women’s College Cup will be played Dec. 2 and 4 at KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga., with Kennesaw State serving as host. The first national semifinal will be played at 5 p.m. ET and will be shown live on ESPNU, while the second semifinal will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. and be shown live on ESPN3.com and tape-delayed for 11 a.m. Dec. 4.
The national championship match will occur at 1 p.m. on Dec. 4 and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
A BIG EAST team has advanced to the College Cup 12 times in the past 16 years (since 1995). In addition, a BIG EAST squad has played for the women’s soccer national championship eight times in the last 13 seasons and claimed three national titles (Notre Dame in 1995, 2004 and 2011). In addition, the BIG EAST has secured 21 NCAA selections over the past four years.