California to Play Auburn in NCAA Tournament
Nov. 6, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. - The California women's soccer team earned its 14th playoff selection - and eighth in the last nine years - Monday afternoon when the 64-team NCAA Tournament field was announced on ESPNEWS. The team, administrators and friends of the program gathered in the Haas Pavilion Club Room to watch the selection show.
Cal (11-4-5) faces Auburn (11-5-3) in the opening round Friday, Nov. 10, at 8:00 p.m. ET in Tallahassee, Fla. The winner of the Golden Bears-Tigers game meets the winner of the No. 2-seeded Florida State (14-3-4) vs. Jacksonville (11-9-1) first-round contest on Sunday, Nov. 12, in Tallahassee. Florida State and Jacksonville play each other Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET, and the first-round winners battle Sunday at 1 p.m. in the second round.
'I'm not surprised that we got in,' said Cal head coach Kevin Boyd. 'We felt pretty comfortable about that. I was not expecting to travel to Florida. I thought we would be in the Bay Area. Not that many West teams got in and only four Pac-10 teams, which was a surprise, and only three WCC teams. I don't think the West got enough teams in. I don't know anything about Auburn. That'll be our homework for the next couple of days.'
Cal finished the 2006 regular season with an 11-4-5 overall record and in sixth place in the Pac-10 with a 3-3-3 mark. The Bears are 2-1-3 against teams selected to this year's NCAA College Cup, with wins coming against Santa Clara and Stanford. The ties were to Cal State Fullerton, USC and Vanderbilt, while the loss was to UCLA. Cal is 3-0-1 over its last four games, including wins over No. 4 Santa Clara (1-0 OT) and No. 11 Stanford (1-0).
Boyd, the winningest coach in Cal women's soccer history at 123-62-20 (.649), has led the Bears to the playoffs in eight of his 10 years at the helm of the program. In Cal's last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2005, the Bears advanced to the third round for the first time since 1988. Cal posted a 2-0 triumph over Rice in the first round and a 2-1 win over UTEP in round two, before falling to Florida State, 2-1, in Tallahassee. The Bears' best NCAA Tournament performances were semifinal appearances in 1984, '87 and '88.
In 2006, Cal has netted 24 goals and has allowed only 12. The Bears own a 0.57 goals-against average and have recorded 12 shutouts, including four straight. Last year, Cal tied the school record of 14 shutouts.
Senior forward Katie Ratican leads Cal in points (13), goals (5) and assists (3).
'We didn't put ourselves in a position to be seeded, so it doesn't matter to me who we're going to play,' said Boyd. 'I feel like we can beat anybody out there. We got in, and that's what we needed to do. After a rocky area in the middle, we're playing good soccer, and we'll go play whomever.'
The Pac-10 earned four bids to the 2006 NCAA Tournament - Cal, UCLA, Stanford and USC. The College Cup concludes Dec. 1 and 3 in Carey, N.C.