Nov. 5, 2012
Printable NCAA Bracket | Interactive Tournament Bracket
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - After an impressive late season surge that saw the Illinois women's soccer team claim victories over No. 24 Michigan and No. 3 Penn State while finishing runners-up in the Big Ten Tournament, the Illini have gained entry into the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Illinois (10-8-3 overall) will travel to Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. CT.
"We have been talking for a long time how every win buys us one more game and that is certainly true right now," said Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield. "I think we are playing great soccer but i also think we are playing with amazing heart and tenacity and an incredible sense of pride. Those are intangibles that are hard to create. I think we have a resolve that's nice going into postseason play."
Illinois trails the Tigers in the overall series, 3-4-1. The last time these two squads clashed was in Columbia, Missouri for the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008. Illinois and Missouri tied 1-1 through two overtimes, but the Illini advanced after downing No. 13 Mizzou 4-3 in penalty kicks. This season, Mizzou is 14-7-0 overall, finished fourth in the SEC Eastern Division with a 8-5-0 mark and produced an 8-2-0 home record. The Tigers are coming off of a 3-0 SEC Tournament semi-final loss to Florida.
The matchup will mark the 11th appearance in program history in the NCAA Tournament where the Illini have a record of 10-10-1. The Orange and Blue have reached the Sweet 16 three times, including a program best elite eight appearance in 2004. Last year, Illinois became the first team ever to end a defending champion's season in the opening round when they defeated Notre Dame 1-0.