Nov. 10, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's soccer team will find out who they will be playing and where they'll be playing at when the NCAA announces its 64-team Championship bracket Monday at noon during its annual selection show.
The 30-minute presentation will air live on Fox Sports Net South, Fox Sports Net New England and Fox Sports Net Northwest. Additional regional sports networks may be added and the show is also available on satellite. The audio portion of the broadcast will be available on SantaClaraBroncos.com.
The Broncos, ranked second in the country with a 19-2 record, received an automatic berth in the 2001 Tournament after winning the West Coast Conference Championship on November 4. The format for the women's tournament will have 16 campuses hosting the first and second rounds. Four teams will be selected to the sites with the first and second rounds being played on November 16 and 18 respectively.
Last week, the NCAA announced that as a result of the September 11 tragedies and concern for the welfare of the student-athletes, the Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet and Management Council have approved adjustments to seeding, site selection and pairings for the championship. The memo added that the changes are being implemented in light of the unstable world climate in order to minimize air travel and mitigate risk, inconvenience and travel delays to the greatest extent possible.
The changes include seeding only eight teams. If there are too many seeded teams from the same region, seeded team(s) may be moved to another region. The remaining teams will be placed in their most proximate geographic region. This means that the NCAA is not guaranteeing that a top-seeded team will host and that site selection will be based on geographic location.
"I think things have changed since September 11 and I'm all for taking that into consideration, but the girls worked so hard to become a top seed in the country and we're really hoping that, as a top seed, we'll play home games and maybe start out with teams that are not ranked," Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith said.
"The benefit of being a highly-ranked team is playing at home and maybe not starting out with the toughest opponents and the memo by the NCAA suggested that highly-seeded teams should not count on home games and things will be done more regionally in terms of the seeding," he added. "That's disappointing, because right behind us is UCLA, Portland, Stanford... a bunch of good teams that are also local to us. The reason we put so much into our regular season schedule is so we can put ourselves in the best position to win games in the postseason. And now that's in doubt. Everyone's kind of in the same boat, especially on the west coast, because that seems to be where all the strength is this year. It'll be a little tougher, but we'll take whatever is given to us and try to meet the challenge."
The third round will be held November 23-25 and the quarterfinals will be played November 30-December 2. The 2001 Women's College Cup will be held December 7 and 9 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
The NCAA Championships expanded this year from 48 to 64 teams. Three seasons ago, the women's bracket was increased from 32 to 48 teams. In the championship, 28 conferences will be awarded automatic berths with 36 teams receiving at-large selections.