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Women’s Soccer Headed to Stanford to Open NCAA Tournament

NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET
VIDEO: TEAM REACTS TO NCAA TOURNAMENT ANNOUCEMENT


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Big Sky-Champion Northern Arizona women’s soccer team will play the undefeated Stanford Cardinal, the No. 1 team in the country, in the opening round of the NCAA Women's College Cup on Thursday at 8 p.m. Arizona time in Palo Alto, Calif. Big West-champion UC Santa Barbara and BYU will meet in the other opening round matchup at 5:30 p.m. in the Stanford regional. Thursday's winner will meet on Saturday at 2 p.m. Arizona time, also at Stanford.

“We had a hunch that it might be Stanford because they’ve had such a great season. I thought we might be one of the lower seeds in the west so we might get paired with them,” head coach Andre Luciano said. “We’re in the NCAA Tournament, which was our goal all along, and now anything can happen. They’re a fantastic team and it’s going to be a really hard game, but we’ll try to do the best that we can and see what happens.”

The Lumberjacks earned their second-consecutive automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday after defeating Idaho State, 4-0, in the Big Sky Championship final in Portland. Last season, the Lumberjacks played at the University of Portland in their first NCAA tournament game in program history, falling 6-1 to the No. 2 seeded Pilots.

Stanford is undefeated in 2009 at a perfect 20-0-0 and has been ranked No. 1 in the country for most of the season. Senior Kelley O’Hara is the likely national player of the year, with an incredible 23 goals and nine assists in 2009. Not far behind is junior Christen Press with 16 goals and 13 assists for the season. Stanford has 70 goals in 20 games this season, outscoring its opponents 70-12 for the year.

Northern Arizona and Stanford have never met in women’s soccer.