Huskies Earn Second-Consecutive NCAA Berth
Nov. 9, 2009
SEATTLE - The Washington women's soccer team is headed back to the NCAA postseason for the second-straight season, with the Huskies grabbing one of 34 at-large selections into the 64-team tournament as announced Monday by the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Committee.
UW will begin its 10th trip to the postseason against Ole Miss (13-5-2) from the SEC on Friday at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex in Portland, Ore. One of four overall No. 2 seeds, Portland (18-1) will be the host school for the weekend and will play Denver (17-5-1) on Friday evening. The winner of the UW-Ole Miss game will play the winner of the Portland-Denver game on Sunday.
The Huskies are back in the tournament with an 11-5-4 overall record after advancing to the Second Round last season following three-consecutive losing seasons. The Huskies benefited from a difficult schedule and from competing in the Pac-10 conference, which proved to be arguably the strongest in the country this season. A total of eight teams from the conference earned berths in the tournament this season with Stanford and UCLA both earning No. 1 seeds. Also included in the field are Arizona State, California, Oregon State, USC and Washington State. UW tied for fifth in the conference with Oregon State.
The Huskies have used a mix of veteran leadership and young talent in 2009 to make it back to the tournament. Junior McKenna Waitley has had a breakout season for UW, leading the team with 17 points (6 goals, 5 assists) while senior Veronica Perez is not far behind with 15 points (6 goals, 3 assists). Fellow seniors Nikki Murray and Alex Kirk have stepped up with 11 and nine points, respectively this season while sophomores Kelli Stewart (9 points), Alex Webber (7 points) and Kate Deines (7 points) have added to the balanced scoring attack.
UW has also been anchored by a solid defense, led by senior Lindsey Kasser and juniors Hannah Greig and Kendyl Pele, while sophomore Kari Davidson has been steady in goal with a 0.95 goals-against average and four shutouts.
In addition to their difficult conference schedule, UW also played Portland this season in UW's second game of the season, which the Pilots won 2-0.
Washington will open with an SEC team for the second straight season after facing LSU in the First Round last season. Ole Miss, one of six SEC teams to advance, went 13-5-2 overall and finished third in the conference with a 7-2-2 record.
The 28th annual NCAA Women's College Cup will be played December 4-6 at Aggie Soccer Stadium in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M will serve as host. The Huskies traveled to College Station for last year's NCAA Tournament where they defeated LSU, 3-2, in the First Round before being eliminated by the Aggies.
More to follow