GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG's 13th-ranked women's soccer team learned Monday that it will face South Carolina in the first round of the 64-team NCAA Women's Soccer Championship on Friday.
The Spartans are in the Maryland quadrant of the bracket and were sent to Charlottesville, Va., where they will take on the Gamecocks at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Klöckner Stadium. Host Virginia, which earned one of four national No. 2 seeds, will take on Lehigh in the first round at 5 p.m. Friday.
The winners of those two matches will square off Sunday at 2 p.m. in Charlottesville.
"It's exciting to be in the tournament and be a part of the selection show," UNCG coach Eddie Radwanski said at the Spartans' selection show viewing party. "The girls have worked ever so hard, especially coming in in August, to get to this point and to achieve their objectives. We're excited to be in. We would have loved to have been in a position to host, but at the end of the day, you just want to be on the dance floor, and we're in the dance. …
"We certainly don't have any easy draw, because South Carolina is a very good team and a finalist in the SEC, and obviously, Virginia's in the other side of the bracket there. But our team is used to playing against very good teams and we'll be prepared to go out there and give it our best. We're not going to back down from anybody."
UNCG brings a 19-1-1 record and a 16-game winning streak into the NCAA tournament. The Spartans won the Southern Conference Championship over the weekend, securing the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with a 1-0 win over Samford in Sunday's title match.
UNCG will be making its ninth-ever NCAA tournament appearance and first since 2007. The Spartans are 5-8-0 all-time in the NCAA tournament, including a play-in game win in 1997.
"From the beginning of the conference tournament, we kind of set the standard that any game could be our last from here on out," SoCon tournament MVP Kelsey Kearney said. "So, we've kind of played with that idea in our heads from the very first quarterfinal game of the SoCon tournament. Going from there, we kind of understand that you've got to leave everything out on the field, because there's no turnaround now."
Friday's contest will be UNCG's second in the NCAA tournament in Charlottesville. The Spartans fell to Virginia on its home turf in the second round in 2000.
South Carolina was an at-large selection after falling in the Southeastern Conference Championship title game to Florida, 1-0. The Gamecocks are 14-5-4 on the season and played to 1-1 draws with Kentucky and LSU in the SEC tournament to earn their spot in the championship match.
USC, making its fourth straight NCAA appearance, has been ranked in the NSCAA/Hendrickcars.com Top 25 all season and sits No. 20 in the latest poll. The Gamecocks reached as high as No. 12 this season.
UNCG and South Carolina have played three times in their history. The Spartans took a 2-0 win in 2000 before the Gamecocks grabbed 2-0 wins in 2001 and 2002.
Tickets for each round are $9 for reserved seats, $7 for adult general admission and $5 for youth/student/senior citizen general admission. Fans can order tickets for the tournament online at VirginiaSports.com and by phone through the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at 800-542-UVA1 (8821) or 434-924-UVA1 (8821). Tickets are also available at the gate beginning one hour prior to the start of play each day.
Game-day parking is $5 per day. Parking is available at the Cage Lot and Emmet/Ivy Garage on Friday and at University Hall on Sunday.
NCAA First/Second Rounds • Klöckner Stadium • Charlottesville, Va.
First Round • Friday, Nov. 12
Virginia (13-4-2) vs. Lehigh (11-4-4), 5 p.m.
UNCG (19-1-1) vs. South Carolina (14-5-4), 7:30 p.m.
Second Round • Sunday, Nov. 14
First-round winners, 2 p.m.
- UNCG -