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Utah State Draws BYU, Denver Hosts Colorado College in NCAA Soccer Tournament
Courtesy: John Zsiray
Utah State Takes on BYU in Provo on Friday

LOGAN, Utah - Making its second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Utah State soccer team will be traveling a short distance to take on BYU in the first round on Friday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. at BYU’s South Field.

The Aggies earned the Western Athletic Conference's automatic bid by defeating No. 19 Denver in the finals of the WAC Tournament, 1-0 on Nov. 4. Last season, USU made its first trip to the big dance with a win against Fresno State in the WAC finals and played Auburn in the first round.

Utah State is 13-2-6 this season and has won eight-straight matches. The Aggies have an 11-match unbeaten streak with their last loss coming against BYU on Sept. 20.

The Aggies and the Cougars played earlier this season in Logan with BYU taking the close,  1-0, win. In the 10th minute, Dana Oldroyd Cusick scored the only goal of the match. This is the second-straight season that the Aggies lost 1-0 to the Cougars.

BYU leads the overall series, 10-0-0. The Cougars finished the regular season 18-1-1, on a 17-game unbeaten streak to earn the West Coast Conference Championship title and automatic big to the 2012 postseason. BYU is one of four No. 1 seeds along with Florida State,  Stanford and Penn State.

“We have played BYU earlier in the year, and they are an opponent  that we are very familiar with since we play them in the spring as well. The plus of it is that it is just a short bus ride down the road. Our legs aren’t going to be tired from traveling. We had such great fan base for our conference tournament and this allows those fans to see us play on the biggest stage in the country in the NCAA Tournament,“ USU head coach Heather Cairns said.

USU is one of two WAC teams to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Denver earned an at-large bid and will host Colorado College.

The Aggie team and coaching staff were able to watch the selection show together, gatherting on the third floor of the Laub Athletics-Academics Complex.

“That was so much more fun that last year since last year we on the way back from the WAC Tournament in Fresno. This year, to be able to be here with our coaching staff and support staff and see our name come up on the NCAA bracket, it was so fun and so exhilarating, and even to see that we are playing BYU. It is an opponent we know; it is an opponent we have played. We know it will be a dang good game,“ senior defender Natatlie Norris said.
First-round matches will be played at campus sites Nov. 9, 10 and 11. Second-round matches will be played Friday, Nov. 16 at campus sites, and third-round matches will be played Sunday, Nov. 18, at the same campus sites. Quarterfinal matches will be played Nov. 23, 24 or 25 also on campus sites.

The winner of the match between the Aggies and the Cougars will face the winner of the Washington (10-7-3) vs. Auburn (12-10-1) match in the Second Round.

Tickets for the NCAA First Round match are available at the BYU Ticket Office and can be ordered by calling (801) 422-BYU1 or by visiting Tickets will also be available at the door.

Denver Hosts Colorado College on Saturday

DENVER – The University of Denver women’s soccer team will host Colorado College in the NCAA Tournament First Round at CIBER Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium on Saturday at 12 p.m. MT.

“The thing that comes to mind right now is that this team got what it deserved, this time in a good way,” head coach Jeff Hooker said. “The fact that we did not get selected in 2010 when we won 19 games, didn’t sit well with some of the older players. They really took a lot from that and put a tremendous season together this year. Obviously we impressed more than one committee member with the work that we’ve done all season. That’s paid off with this selection into the Tournament.”

The selection marks DU’s first at-large NCAA bid, Denver’s eighth NCAA Tournament appearance and the first home NCAA Soccer Tournament match.

“We are very proud of the women’s soccer team for the wonderful accomplishment of being selected to the NCAA Tournament,” DU Vice Chancellor for Athletics, Recreation and Ritchie Center Operations Peg Bradley-Doppes said. “This team worked so hard to achieve the goals they set for themselves, and competing in postseason play was at the top of the list. Today’s announcement is made even more special because Pioneer fans will get to see the team host its first-ever NCAA Tournament game on CIBER Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium.”
Denver enters the tournament 15-2-4 with losses on either end of a 19-match unbeaten streak. The Pioneers were ranked as high as No. 18 in the Soccer America poll this year, and finished the regular season No. 19 in that poll. 

The first-round clash is a rematch of both teams’ 2012 opener, a match that the Tigers won 1-0 in Greeley, Colo., in the first game of the Second Annual Colorado Cup.

“Colorado College has had a great season,” Hooker said. “They’re part of helping our RPI, too. It’ll be a tough matchup, but I’m looking forward to a great crowd. It’ll be two teams that will come out to play, and play an attractive style of soccer.”  

Junior forward Kristen Hamilton (Littleton, Colo.), the 2012 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, leads the Pioneers with 32 points on 13 goals and six assists. Senior forward Kaitlin Bast (Centennial, Colo.) also cracked into double-digit goals last weekend, tallying 27 points on 10 goals and seven assists.

Senior goalkeeper Lara Campbell (Anchorage, Alaska) holds Denver’s all-time goalkeeper wins record with 60. Campbell and the Pioneers have recorded 30 shutouts in her career, including seven this season.

Saturday’s winner will play the winner of Maryland and Stony Brook in the second round at Stanford on Friday, November 16.
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