PROVIDENCE, R.I. -
Seven BIG EAST women's soccer teams will participate in the 2009 NCAA Championship, including first-time entrant St. John's. It is the second time in league history seven BIG EAST teams have been selected to the field, a feat that also was accomplished in 2006. The total was one shy of the league record of eight berths which came in 2001. The 64-team field was announced earlier this evening on ESPNews and on ncaasports.com. Thirty conferences earned automatic berths, while 34 teams were selected at-large. Only the top four teams in each region were seeded.
Six of the seven BIG EAST teams will be on the road for their first weekend of play. Notre Dame is the lone league school selected to host during the initial weekend. BIG EAST teams compiled a 28-19-5 record on the road this season equaling a .587 win percentage.
(17-3-1) captured its 11th
BIG EAST tournament championship on Nov. 8 with a 2-1 victory over Marquette. The Irish will host a First and Second Round site, beginning with a contest against IUPUI (17-4-0) on Nov. 13. If the Irish advance they would take on either Central Michigan or Purdue. Notre Dame earned the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship and its 17th
consecutive postseason bid. Last year the Irish advanced to the national title game before bowing out. This season the Irish have been ranked in the top-10 of the national polls the entire year. Junior forward Lauren Fowlkes was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year as well as the tournament's Most Outstanding Offensive Player. In addition, sophomore teammate Courtney Barg was named the BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year. Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 5 in the Soccer America
(15-5-2) earns its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship and its eighth appearance overall. The Golden Eagles will head to Dayton, Ohio and face the Flyers (16-0-5) on Nov. 13. If Marquette advances they would take on either Murray State or Virginia Tech. The Golden Eagles are having one of their best seasons ever having won the BIG EAST American Division regular-season title and advanced to the title game of the BIG EAST Championship. Head coach Markus Roeders was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year, while sophomore Rachael Sloan was named an All-BIG EAST First Team honoree. Marquette is currently ranked No. 10 in the Soccer America
(13-3-4) earns its fifth NCAA Championship berth in the last nine seasons, its third trip in the last four years and its sixth bid overall. The Scarlet Knights will head to Columbia, S.C. and face Duke (8-8-4) in the first round. If Rutgers advances it would take on either host South Carolina or Davidson. Last year the Scarlet Knights advanced to the Third Round of the NCAA Championship (Sweet 16) for just the second time in school history. Rutgers is currently ranked No. 23 in the Soccer America
poll. The Scarlet Knights are led by senior goalkeeper Erin Guthrie and senior defender Jenifer Anzivino. Both were All-BIG EAST First Team selections, while Guthrie also was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year.
(9-6-6) earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Championship, its 10th
consecutive appearance overall. The Mountaineers will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. and take on Loyola Md. (15-4-3) in the first round on Nov. 13. If West Virginia advances it would face either Kennesaw State or host Wake Forest on Nov. 15. West Virginia is led by midfielder Carolyn Blank who was an All-BIG EAST First Team pick.
(13-6-1) earns its first NCAA Championship berth in the program's 27-year history and will face Virginia (9-5-5) in first round action at Penn State. If the Red Storm advances they would face either host Penn State or Colgate. The 2009 campaign for St. John's can arguably be called one of the best in program history. The team advanced to the BIG EAST Championship semifinals for only the second time in school history, recorded three top-25 victories, earned its first-ever ranking in the NSCAA top-25 poll and tied program records with six BIG EAST wins and eight home victories. The Red Storm are under the direction of 16-year head coach Ian Stone.
(10-7-2) is back in the NCAA Championship field following a one year hiatus. The Huskies will face New England rivals in their early-round matchups taking on Boston University (14-5-2) on Nov. 13. The game will be played on the Boston College campus in Chestnut Hill, Mass. If the Huskies advance they would take on either host Boston College or crosstown foe Harvard on Nov. 14 on Nov. 15. The Huskies are led by redshirt senior Brittany Taylor who was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. The Huskies have already met with Boston University once this season during the UConn Classic on Sept. 11. UConn and BU battled to a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation, but the Huskies took the 1-0 win in overtime.
(11-5-5) also is making a return trip to the NCAA Championship field following a two-year hiatus. The Wildcats will face Washington State (13-5-2) on Nov. 13 in College Park, Md. If Villanova advances it would take on Monmouth or host Maryland. The Wildcats are led by senior defender Kelly Eagan who was named an All-BIG EAST First Team selection this year. In addition freshman teammate Heidi Sabatura was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. The Wildcats are under the direction of second-year head coach John Byford.
First round matches will be played Nov. 13, at campus sites, while second round matches will be played on Nov. 15, at the same campus sites. Third round games will be played at on-campus sites Nov. 20, 21 or 22. Quarterfinal matches will be played November 27, 28 or 29. Times will be announced. The 28th
annual 64-team NCAA Women's College Cup will be played Dec. 4 and 6 at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. The semifinals and title match will be aired on the ESPN family of networks.
A BIG EAST team has advanced to the College Cup 10 times in the past 14 years (since 1995). In addition, a BIG EAST squad has played for the women's soccer national championship seven times in the last 12 seasons and claimed a pair of national titles (Notre Dame in 1995 and 2004).