UNC, NC State, Duke head for NCAA tourney
North Carolina earned one of four No. 1 seeds, and Duke and N.C. State were among a record 10 ACC teams to make the field when the bracket was announced Monday for the 37th annual NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.
The Tar Heels (17-3-1), who own a record 21 NCAA titles, will face tournament newcomer Howard (12- 6-2) in the first round. Game time has tentatively been set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Koka Booth Stadium in Cary’s WakeMed Soccer Park.
Duke (14- 4-3) landed a No. 4 seed and will host Rutgers (11-3-5) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Despite an 11th-place finish in the highly competitive ACC, N.C. State (10- 6-3) earned its third consecutive NCAA bid and will host Northwestern (10- 4- 4) at 7 p.m. Friday. Northwestern also failed to make the Big Ten’s eight-team conference tournament but still garnered an NCAA atlarge berth.
ACC champion Florida State (15- 4-2), which edged UNC 3-2 on Sunday in the ACC tournament final at WakeMed Soccer Park, also earned a No. 1 seed, joining reigning champion Stanford (17- 0-2) and Georgetown (17- 0-3) on the top lines of the regional brackets. WakeMed will also be the site of the College Cup on Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
The other ACC teams in the field are No. 3 seed Virginia (15- 4), No. 4 seed Boston College (14- 4-1), Clemson (12-8), Louisville (12- 6), Virginia Tech (97-3) and Wake Forest (8- 8-1).
The 10 ACC teams represent a record for a single conference, breaking the old mark of nine set by the ACC in 2011 and 2012.
The ACC has had at least six teams in the NCAA field in each of the last 19 seasons.
An ACC team has reached the College Cup, soccer’s final four, in 35 of the 36 years since the tournament was inaugurated in 1982, and in each of the past 13 years. The ACC has had 48 teams in the College Cup all-time, the most by any conference. The Pacific 12 is a distant second with 23.
The ACC champion has gone on to win the College Cup 15 times, most recently by Florida State in 2014.
Current ACC teams have combined for 25 NCAA championships: 21 by UNC, three by Notre Dame (all prior to joining the ACC in 2013), and one by Florida State.