No. 3-Seeded Cal to Face Rice in NCAA First-Round Game

Nov. 7, 2005

BERKELEY, Calif. - The ninth-ranked California women's soccer team earned its 13th playoff selection - and seventh in the last eight years - Monday afternoon when the 64-team NCAA College Cup field was announced on ESPNews. Cal also earned a No. 3 seed in its 16-team grouping in the bracket, marking only the second time the Bears have ever earned a seed (No. 8 in 2000 under a different seeding setup). Sixteen teams received a seed for this year's tournament (1-4 in each quadrant).

Cal (14-3-2) faces Rice (13-6-1) in the opening round Friday, Nov. 11 in Austin, Texas. The winner of the Bears-Owls game meets the winner of the Texas (11-8-1) vs. UTEP (18-3-1) first-round contest on Sunday, Nov. 13 in Austin. Game times haven't been announced yet.

'The main thing is that you always want to be home,' said Cal head coach Kevin Boyd. 'Being a seeded team you'd hope that you'd be home, but even though they're sending us out, I feel so good about the way we're playing. You could put us against anybody right now, and we're going to play well. In terms of adversity on the road, we've been in some tough spots already, and we've responded extremely well.'

Cal finished the 2005 regular season with its best overall record since 2000 when the Bears went 17-3-1. This season, Cal finished second in the Pac-10 with a program-best 7-1-1 mark, and the Bears are 5-3-1 against teams selected to this year's College Cup, with wins coming against USC, Stanford, Southern Methodist, Dartmouth and Utah and a tie versus Arizona. The losses are to Santa Clara, BYU and UCLA.

Boyd, the winningest coach in Cal women's soccer history at 110-57-15 (.646), has led the Bears to the playoffs in seven of his nine years at the helm of the program. In Cal's last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004, the Bears lost to Santa Clara, 2-1, on the road after grabbing a 1-0 lead. The Bears' best NCAA Tournament performances were fifth place in both 1983 and 1986 and Final Four appearances in 1984, '87 and '88.

In 2005, Cal has netted 35 goals and has allowed only eight, which is on pace to break the school record for fewest goals allowed of 11, set in 1987 and 1989. The Bears are ranked fifth in the nation in goals-against average at 0.397. Senior goalkeeper Ashley Sulprizio (Gardnerville, Nev.) stands sixth in the nation in goals-against average at 0.383, having allowed seven goals in about 1,645 minutes in the net.

Three Cal players have tallied double-digit points, led by senior forward Liz Eisenberg (San Rafael, Calif.) with 23 points (10G, 3A) and senior forward Dania Cabello (Piedmont, Calif.) with 17 points (6G, 5A). Senior midfielder Lindsay Clute (Gresham, Ore.) has 10 points (5G).

The Pac-10 earned five bids to the 2005 NCAA Tournament - Cal, UCLA, USC, Arizona and Stanford. The College Cup concludes Dec. 2 and 4 in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M will serve as host.

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