Rebecca Patrick and the Fighting Illini will host Xavier Wednesday in the NCAA Tournament
Nov. 5, 2000
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Taking Penn State to three overtimes may have been the convincing factor for the NCAA selection committee. The Illini women's soccer teams received its first ever NCAA bid tonight in the program's four-year history.
Illinois (13-7) will host Xavier, OH (14-6-1) at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at the Illini Soccer Field in the NCAA Tournament First Round. Xavier won the Atlantic Ten Conference Tournament Sunday with a 1-0 win over Dayton.
The winner of the Illinois-Xavier match-up will travel to Penn State for the second round match at 11 a.m. CST on Sunday. A total of 48 teams make up the NCAA Tournament: 21 automatic and 27 at-large selections. The top eight teams nationally are seeded. Penn State is the No. 7 seed in the country.
Other games in the Illini's quadrant of the bracket: Holy Cross (10-9-1) vs. Boston University (15-6) with the winner playing Dartmouth (13-4), Arizona State (13-6-1) vs. Southwest Missouri State (11-10-1) with the winner playing Portland (15-3), and Washington State (13-6) vs. Montana (17-2) with the winner facing second seeded Washington (17-2).
Four Big Ten teams made the field, all four will host games. Besides Illinois and Penn State Michigan will host Miami of Ohio, while Wisconsin hosts Princeton.
Both Illinois and Xavier come into the tournament on a high, another factor as to Illinois teams making it in the field. The Illini blasted Western Illinois (8-0) and Iowa State (6-1), scoring 14 goals last week, then posted a convincing 3-1 win over Michigan State with a barrage of second-half goals. Those games lead to the near upset of Penn State. After starting 1-6, Xavier has posted a 13-0-1 record in its last 14 games. The last loss for Xavier came on Sept. 20. The Musketeers have given up just three goals in that time.
"We're thrilled to be in the field of 48," said Illinois Coach Tricia Taliaferro. "It reflects the calibur of the Big Ten Conference and the way the team played toward the end of the year."