Six Pac-12 women's soccer teams to play in NCAA tournament

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.UCLA, WASHINGTON STATE, UTAH, STANFORD, CALIFORNIA, and COLORADO were selected to the field of 64 for the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, the NCAA announced Monday. The six teams will compete for the opportunity to play in the Women’s College Cup, which takes place December 6 and 8 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.

UCLA (17-1-2) is one of four No. 2 seeds after finishing the regular season unbeaten in Conference play to win its 11th Pac-12 title and first since 2008. This is the program’s 16th straight and 18th all-time appearance in the tournament. The Bruins have advanced to the College Cup eight times—including a seven-year streak from 2003-09—and finished as the runners-up in 2000, 2004 and 2005. UCLA hosts San Diego State in the first round at Drake Stadium on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. PT. The Bruins beat San Diego State, 2-0, on Friday, Sept. 13 after returning home from a road trip in which they faced four-straight ranked opponents, winning three of the four. 

Washington State (14-3-3) won their last five Conference games to finish second in the Pac-12, their highest Conference finish ever, and earn an at-large bid. This marks the third-straight and eighth all-time NCAA Tournament berth for the Cougars, who have appeared in four of the last five. The Cougars enjoyed an unbeaten August and September and entered the polls at No. 22/24 last week after receiving votes all season. They will host Illinois for a first round game in Pullman on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. PT. It is the Cougars’ first time hosting an NCAA tournament game since 2000.

Utah (10-4-6) used a dominating defense en route to a third-place finish in the Pac-12, its highest finish since joining the Conference prior to the 2011 season. The Utes’ seventh NCAA appearance is their first since 2006 after making the tournament five consecutive years from 2002-06. They will travel to take on Texas A&M in College Station, the SEC Champions and No. 4 seed in the region, on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. CT. 

Stanford (13-5-1) earned an at-large bid after an up-and-down Conference slate and a fourth place Pac-12 finish. This is the program’s 16th-straight and 22nd overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal has made five straight College Cup appearances, finishing as the NCAA runner-up in 2009 and 2010 before winning the NCAA Championship in 2011. The Cardinal hosts Cal State Fullerton on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. 

California (11-4-5) nabbed another at-large bid after finishing fifth in the Pac-12 and occupying a spot in or just outside the NSCAA top-25 all season. The Bears had their best start to a season since 1993, going unbeaten through 13-straight games. This is the 10th consecutive and 21st all-time appearance for the Golden Bears. Cal will travel a short distance to Santa Clara for the second time this season to take on the Broncos in a first round game in Santa Clara, Calif. on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. PT. In the previous meeting on Sept. 19, the Bears and Broncos battled to a 1-1 double overtime draw.

Colorado (12-6-2) received the last at-large bid for the Pac-12 after finishing tied for sixth in the final regular season standings. After a seven-year streak from 2003-08, the Buffs return to the tournament after a four year absence in their eighth appearance overall. They will head to Denver on Saturday to take on the Summit League Champions at 4:30 p.m. MT. The Buffs and Pioneers met earlier in the season in Boulder, ending in a 3-0 win for Denver.    

First-round matches will be played at campus sites. Just one round will be played the first weekend, followed by two rounds at a single campus site the following weekend (Nov. 22 and 24).

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