NCAA Championship Central | NCAA tournament bracket
Nov. 5, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford was awarded the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA women's soccer tournament and opens at home Friday (7 p.m.) against Idaho State.
The Bengals (11-5-3) of Pocatello, Idaho, earned the trip after beating Montana on penalty kicks, 4-3, in the Big Sky Conference tournament final Sunday after a scoreless draw at home. Idaho State had earlier finished in a three-way tie for the regular-season title.
The Cardinal (17-1-1), which captured its fourth consecutive Pac-12 title, will be playing in its 15th consecutive NCAA tournament and is seeking to advance to its fifth consecutive College Cup, fourth consecutive final, and successfully defend its national championship.
Coach Paul Ratcliffe denied there is any additional pressure on his Stanford team as defending national champion or as the consensus No. 1-ranked team in the country.
"There's pressure in every game because it's a must-win situation," Ratcliffe said. "There's pressure for everybody.
"It's always a difficult journey. We're going to have to perform to the best of our ability. The team's excited to get going. They're feeling good. They just want to get after it and compete as hard as they can."
The second-round matchup will pit the Stanford-Idaho State winner against Santa Clara (11-3-6) or Long Beach State (12-7). The third-round opponent could be Maryland, the other seed in Stanford's eight-team pod.
To reach the College Cup, Stanford would need to get past UCLA (15-2-2) or San Diego State (19-1-1) - the top-seeded teams on the bottom part of Stanford's 16-team bracket. Stanford has beaten both teams this season, though each was close. Stanford rallied to win at UCLA, 2-1, and used a first-half free kick by Courtney Verloo to beat San Diego State, 1-0, at the Santa Clara Classic.
The four No. 1 seeds are Stanford, BYU (18-1-1), Penn State (17-3-1), and Florida State (19-3). If the seeds hold, Stanford would play BYU in the College Cup semifinals and Florida State in the final.
Tickets for the first round will be sold beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m. They can be purchased by phone at 1-800-STANFORD, online at gostanford.com, or in person at the ticket office at Gate 4 of Stanford Stadium from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ticket prices are $17 for reserved seats. For general admission, adults are $10 and students, youths, and seniors are $8.
First-round matches will be played at campus sites. Just one round will be played the first weekend, followed by two rounds at a single campus site the following weekend (Nov. 16 and 18).
As long as Stanford remains in the tournament, there is a strong chance it will play host through the quarterfinals.
The 31st annual NCAA Women's College Cup will be played Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 at the University of San Diego. This will be the first College Cup on the West Coast since it was held at San Jose's Spartan Stadium in 1999 and 2000.