BYU, Utah Valley soccer teams earn berths in Big Dance, Cougars get a No. 12 seed, first-round bye
BYU will be making its eighth appearance in last nine NCAA women’s soccer tournaments, will meet either Virginia or SIU-Edwardsville in second round
There was a little bit of uncertainty, but for the eighth time in the last nine seasons the BYU Cougars will be playing in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament.
BYU (11-3-1) was awarded a No. 12 seed, meaning the Cougars were safely in the tournament, and earned a first-round bye in the Big Dance. The Cougars, ranked No. 17 in the last coaches poll, will meet the winner of the first-round match between Virginia and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Saturday, May 1, at 5 p.m. MDT in North Carolina at a site yet to be named.
WAC champion Utah Valley University (12-4-4) is also in the tournament with an automatic bid as a conference champion and will meet Memphis (8-3) in a first-round match. The winner of that contest will face No. 6 seed Arkansas in the second round.
“This team is very deep. We can score from a lot of different areas and a lot of different people in a lot of different ways.” — BYU women’s soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood
With just 19 at-large berths available in the 48-team field this year and very few nonconference games played due to the pandemic, selection committee chairman Cliff Douglas said it was “very difficult” to complete the selection process.
“But we were able to create matchups you normally wouldn’t see,” Douglas said.
If BYU wins its first match, it could face No. 5 seed West Virginia of the Big 12 in one such match.
First-round matches begin Tuesday, April 27. All matches will be played in the state of North Carolina, and the championship match will be played May 17 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
The No. 1 seed is Florida State (11-0).
It will be BYU’s 21st tournament appearance, all under head coach Jennifer Rockwood.
Santa Clara (7-1), the West Coast Conference champion, got the league’s automatic bid and received a No. 11 seed. The Broncos will face the Ohio State-Stony Brook winner in the second round.
The Cougars are coming off a 4-0 win over Portland on Senior Day last Saturday, a day in which they said goodbye to seniors Natalie Clark-Ball and Josie Guinn-Gelalich. It was the sixth game in which BYU has scored at least four goals and the program’s 53rd game of scoring at least one goal.
“This team is very deep,” Rockwood said. “We can score from a lot of different areas and a lot of different people in a lot of different ways.”