Huskies To Play Oklahoma In NCAA First Round
Nov. 8, 2010
SEATTLE - Back to Portland we go! The UW women's soccer team watched the NCAA Selection Show on Monday afternoon in their team room and saw "Washington vs. Oklahoma" pop up on the television screen as cheers filled the room. The Huskies drew the Sooners in Portland, Ore., at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 at Merlo Field.
The Huskies (11-8-1) and Sooners (12-7-3) will play the first game of that regional followed by No. 1 seed Portland and UTSA at 7 p.m. The tournament is single elimination and the winner of each of the first games will play Sunday at noon.
"We are excited for our program," said head coach Lesle Gallimore. "I'm excited for the players on our team that I felt worked extremely hard in the offseason to make this a special season for us. It's a great chance for us to take a deep breath. We have played some outstanding soccer and it's great to have the opportunity to continue our season."
For the third-straight season UW was one of 34 teams to receive an at-large bid. The Huskies are 9-9-1 in the NCAA Tournament and making their 11th overall appearance. UW advanced to the second round each of the last two seasons. The furthest a Husky team has ever gone was the Elite 8 in 2004.
While Oklahoma is not a very familiar team to the Huskies, Merlo Field is. The Huskies have played three games on that field this season, defeating Penn State, 2-1, and falling to then-ranked No. 24 Rutgers, 1-0 in the Portland/Nike Invitational, Sept. 10-12. UW fell to then-ranked No. 4 Portland in double OT on Oct. 3.
Washington played at Merlo Field in last year's NCAA Tournament, defeating then-ranked No. 25 Ole Miss 1-0 before falling to No. 2 Portland, 2-1.
"We are going back to a place that we are familiar with," Gallimore added. "We get great crowds there and it's a short trip for us but at the end of the day our team has to take our preparations and lessons into the game against Oklahoma and play that day."
Oklahoma received an at-large bid with 12 wins and a 5-4-1 record in the Big 12. They fell in the conference tournament championship to Oklahoma State in penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie. The Sooners have wins this season over top 25 teams Texas and Texas A&M. This will be the second-ever meeting between the Huskies and the Sooners and the first in the postseason. The only other meeting was a 2-1 UW victory on Aug. 26, 2006 at a tournament in Hawai'i. This is the second NCAA postseason appearance for Oklahoma in its history and first since 2003.
"Oklahoma is a good team," said Gallimore. "They lost on TV to Oklahoma State in PK's. They are a solid team, well coached and the only common opponent we have is USC in which the Trojans beat them 4-1 so we will take some of that information but we need to prepare well this week and make the most of our opportunity."
The Portland Pilots enter the tournament as the No. 2 overall seed and the host of this regional. Their season record is 18-1-1 and with a 6-0-1 record in the West Coast Conference they won their fourth-consecutive league championship, earning the automatic bid. Portland has the longest active home win streak in the nation at 35 and currently has a nine game overall winning streak. This is the Pilots' 18th NCAA appearance in the last 19 years. They won the 2002 and 2005 NCAA Championships, becoming only the third program in history to win multiple championships. Portland has competed in three championship games, eight College Cup semifinals and has advanced to the quarterfinals 15 times. For the past four seasons, Portland has lost in the quarterfinals by one goal. The Pilots lead the overall series with UW 23-2-1.
The University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners have a 13-7-2 record on the season and a 6-2-1 conference record. They received the automatic bid to the tournament as the Southland Conference Tournament champions, defeating Lamar, Stephen F. Austin and regular season champion Southeastern Louisiana. This is the program's first conference title in their five-year history and first trip to the NCAA Tournament. UTSA and UW have never met in women's soccer.
Tickets will go on sale Wednesday at 11 a.m. through all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com, by calling (800) 745-3000 or in-person at the Pilot Box Office. Prices are $9 for adult bleacher seating and $5 for youth bleacher seating. Stadium chairs are $19 and bench backs are $12.