Nov. 8, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooner soccer team (12-7-3) is headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. Oklahoma received an at-large bid and opens the 2010 single-elimination tournament against Washington (11-8-1) on Friday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. CT in Portland, Ore.
The winner of Friday’s game between OU and Washington will face the winner of host and No. 1 seed Portland (18-1-1) and UT-San Antonio (13-7-2) on Sunday.
“It’s a great experience for these girls,” said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson following the Sooners’ watch party at the OU Soccer Complex. “I liked their reaction in that they expected to be in, and they knew that they had done the work in the last couple of weeks to be in.”
It marks the second appearance in program history for the Sooners, which finished 6-2-2 in their final 10 games and tied No. 10 Oklahoma State on Sunday in the Big 12 Championship.
Prior to the season, Oklahoma was picked 10th in preseason coaches’ poll but finished with the league’s third-best record and made it to the program’s first appearance in the final game of the Big 12 Championship.
Four teams are representing the Big 12 in the NCAA Tournament as Oklahoma joins OSU, Texas and Texas A&M.
“It’s exciting and at the same time, one of the things we keep talking about is, it’s not about being in the tournament, it’s about going after it and trying to win championships,” added Nelson.
“We’re making progress and that’s what you want to see. Its nice to see that we are taking steps forward and that the hard work and commitment is paying off. The team has done a tremendous job throughout the year.”
In 2010, Washington finished fourth in the Pac-10 standings with a 4-4 mark. The Huskies finished with a 4-6 mark in the last 10 games and the Pac-10 does not host a conference tournament.
“We haven’t seen them play this year but we know the quality of the conference and what it is year in and year out,” said Nelson. “We will immediately start getting film of Washington and preparing our game plan.”
The Sooners and Huskies have faced off once before back in 2006. OU opened that campaign with a 2-1 loss to Washington in Honolulu, Hawaii. OU has not played Portland or UT-San Antonio previously.
While OU has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2003 and the current members of the team made their first postseason appearance last week at the Big 12 Championship, there is one Sooner with NCAA Tournament experience. Sophomore transfer Caitlin Mooney helped lead Maryland into the Sweet 16 of last year’s dance.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Mooney, who is second on the team with seven goals this season. “I think we are all pretty pumped up to play and I think we are going to do a good job of representing Oklahoma.”
In 2003, OU made its first and only other appearance in the NCAA Tournament and lost 1-0 to then-No. 7 Tennessee in the first round of the Knoxville regional.
Washington is making its third straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 11th overall. The Huskies are 9-9-1 all-time and have advanced as far as the Elite 8 in 2004.
Tickets will go on sale Wednesday at 11 a.m. through all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com, by calling (800) 745-3000 or in-person at the Pilot Box Office. Prices are $9 for adult bleacher seating and $5 for youth bleacher seating. Stadium chairs are $19 and bench backs are $12.