Nov. 6, 2012
STANFORD, Calif.- Back in the NCAA Tournament for the 12th time in school history and making its fifth appearance in the last six years, No. 11 Stanford (16-6, 6-0 NorPac) will square off against No. 1 North Carolina (23-2, 5-0 ACC) when opening-round action gets underway this weekend.
The game will be played in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 8:30 a.m. PT. No. 8 Old Dominion and No. 9 Michigan face off in the second game at 11 a.m. PT. The winners will play each other on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. PT.
The first-round pairing represents a rematch from earlier this season, when the Tar Heels defeated the Cardinal 6-2 back on Sept. 23 in Chapel Hill, N.C. In that game, then-No. 1 North Carolina held advantages in shots (18-6) and penalty corners (7-4) while Jessica Chisholm and Hope Burke tallied goals for the Cardinal.
Prior to defeating Miami (OH) 4-1 in an NCAA Play-In game on Tuesday afternoon, Stanford captured its fifth NorPac Championship crown in six seasons over the weekend. The Cardinal, which checks in at No. 17 in the latest edition of the RPI, has been a fixture in the national rankings all year and for all but one week since the start of the 2010 campaign. The Cardinal navigated through a grueling non-conference schedule, compiling a 2-5 mark against top-25 teams while facing off against the nation's No. 1-ranked team at the time of the game on three different occasions.
North Carolina won the program's 18th ACC Championship last Sunday on its home field, beating Maryland 4-2 in the final. The Tar Heels, shooting for their seventh NCAA title, have played in the NCAA Championship game in four of the last five years, winning titles in 2007 and 2009 and finishing as the runner-up to Maryland in overtime in 2010 and 2011.
Meanwhile, Stanford is 0-11 all-time in NCAA Tournament competition. The Cardinal most recently qualified for the postseason last year, falling 5-0 at Duke in a first round match after earning an at-large bid for the first time in school history. Stanford also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
This year's field includes 16 teams (five automatic bids, eight at-large berths and three play-in winners) competing in a single-elimination format. The 2012 NCAA Championship is slated for Nov. 16-18 in Norfolk, Va., and will be hosted by Old Dominion.