Nov. 8, 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University will face the University of California in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship, the NCAA Selection Committee announced this afternoon. The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions and 2002 College Cup finalists, are the tournament's 16th overall seed, and will host the first and second rounds of the 23rd NCAA Championship at Buck Shaw Stadium this Friday and Sunday.
The coaches and team members watched the selection show at The Bronco and then participated in a press conference. The Bronco is a late-night venue located in the Benson Memorial Center on campus. Friends of the program, athletic department staff, faculty members and other varsity squads were also in attendance.
The Broncos will face the Bears at Buck Shaw Stadium at 2 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday. Stanford and Cal Poly will face each other in the other game at 4:30 p.m. The winners will face each other on Sunday in a time to be announced on Tuesday.
The Broncos, ranked fourth in the country with a 14-4-2 record, will be making their 16th straight NCAA postseason appearance. Santa Clara received the West Coast Conference's automatic berth into the Tournament after winning its fourth straight West Coast Conference Championship on November 6. The Broncos have advanced to the College Cup on nine occasions.
"We are very excited to be a seeded team and to have the opportunity to play at home," head coach Jerry Smith said. "Although we are disappointed in our seeding, the trick in the tournament is to take it one game at a time. We're looking forward to our match-up against Cal and hopefully advancing through the tournament."
Senior captain Leslie Osborne echoed Smith's sentiment, adding, "If we're going to be national champions, we have to be able to beat any team on any given day. We're ready for this challenge."
Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Adult admission is $8 and seniors, youths and students will be admitted for $6.
California is 11-5-3 on the season and earned an at-large berth into the tournament. The Broncos defeated the Bears 3-1 during the regular season, however, the all-time series favors Cal 11-14-3. The 11th-ranked Cardinal (12-5-3) was also an at-large bid, while the Mustangs (11-2-6) won the Big West Conference Championship to earn an automatic berth.
Of the 64 teams selected, 14 are from the West. West Coast Conference opponents Portland, San Diego and Pepperdine were placed in the draw. SCU went 5-3-1 against the tournament field during the regular season. North Carolina is the tournament's top seed, followed by Penn State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Portland, Ohio State, Princeton and Kansas.
The ACC leads all conferences with eight teams in the tournament. Five teams will represent the Big 12, Big 10 and the Pac-10; four teams will represent the WCC. In the championship, 29 conferences were awarded automatic berths with 35 teams receiving at-large selections.
The third round will be held November 19-21 and the quarterfinals will be played November 26-28. The 2004 Women's College Cup will be held December 3 and 5 at SAS Stadium and is hosted by North Carolina State University and the Capital Area Soccer League in Cary, N.C.