Top-Ranked Mountaineers Earn First-Ever No. 1 Seed - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Top-Ranked Mountaineers Earn First-Ever No. 1 Seed

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The No. 1-ranked and 2016 Big 12 Conference champion West Virginia University women’s soccer team earned a No. 1 seed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament and will face Northern Kentucky in the first round on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 3 p.m., at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. 

 

Tickets for Saturday’s game are on sale now at WVUGAME.com. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and youth, and $2 for groups of 10 or more. WVU students will be admitted for free with a valid WVU student I.D. 

 

WVU’s seeding is its best-ever in program history. The Mountaineers (19-1-1, 8-0) were seeded No. 2 in the 2015 NCAA Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second time in program history. 

 

The Big 12 Conference’s automatic qualifier, WVU advances to the NCAA Tournament for the 17th straight season, the seventh-longest active streak nationally.

 

“This team found a way to finish, put the ball into the back of the net and to win,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “I’ve had great teams in the past, but there’s no denying that every challenge, this team has stepped up and found results. In college athletics, results are what matter.

 

“This team is extremely special. They’ve made history with 19 wins. Most importantly, we had one of the most challenging schedules this year, and we stepped up to each and every challenge.”

 

The Mountaineers are serving as one of 32 hosts for the first round of the national tournament – the fifth season under this format. The winner will advance to play the winner of Ohio State –Dayton.

 

As a No. 1 seed, WVU has clinched home field advantage through the NCAA Elite Eight. The Mountaineers have hosted the NCAA Tournament in 10 previous seasons (2001-03 2007, 2010, 2011-15). 

 

Saturday will be the first-ever meeting between WVU and Northern Kentucky (13-6-1, 6-2-1 Horizon League). The Horizon League champions, the Norse claimed the University’s first NCAA Division I Tournament bid in their first eligible season since being granted active Division I status in August.

 

WVU enters the tournament riding a 12-match win streak, including a come-from-behind, 3-2 overtime victory against TCU in the Big 12 Soccer Championship final on Nov. 6 to claim its third Big 12 championship crown in four seasons. Anchored by senior All-American defender Kadeisha Buchanan, the Mountaineers have allowed eight goals all season and posted 14 clean sheets, one short of the program record.

 

Junior forward Michaela Abam paces the team with 25 points (9 G, 7 A), while senior midfielder Ashley Lawrence shows a team-best nine assists.

 

Of note, sophomore defender Bianca St. Georges (Canada), sophomore midfielder Vanessa Flores (Mexico) and freshman goalkeeper Rylee Foster (Canada) will be unavailable to start the NCAA Tournament, as they will be competing at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea, Nov. 13 – Dec. 3, in Port Moresby.  

 

All three Mountaineers trained extensively with their countries over the last year for this tournament. They all competed at the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship last December. Canada finished second, losing 1-0 to the United States in the championship match, while Mexico placed third, defeating Honduras, 2-0, in the consolation match.

 

“While we will miss our teammates, we wish Bianca, Rylee and Vanessa the best of luck at the U-20 Women’s World Cup,” Izzo-Brown said.

 

Canada opens the tournament and Group B play against Spain on Nov. 13. The team also will face Nigeria on Nov. 16 and Japan on Nov. 20.

 

Mexico opens Group D play against Korea Republic on Nov. 14. The squad also will kick against Germany on Nov. 17 and Venezuela on Nov. 21.

 

Quarterfinal play will open on Nov. 24, and the semifinals will follow on Nov. 29. The championship match will be held on Dec. 3, at National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

 

Also announced today, the Mountaineers retained their top position in this week’s TopDrawerSoccer.com Poll and Soccer America Women’s Top 25 Poll. WVU has sat at No. 1 for five straight weeks.Additionally, the team is No. 2 in this week’s NCAA RPI.

 

Thirty-one conferences were granted automatic bids for the 2016 NCAA Championship, while the remaining 33 teams were selected at-large. The top-16 teams are seeded and conference teams cannot play each other in the first or second rounds. When pairing teams, the committee follows geographic proximity parameters. The top-16 teams will host and all other sites were selected for the first round to create the least number of flights.

 

First-round games will be played November 11, 12 and 13 at campus sites. Second-round games will be played Friday, November 18 at campus sites, and third-round games will be played Sunday, November 20 at the same campus sites. Quarterfinal games will be played November 25 or 26 also on campus sites.

 

The 35th annual NCAA Women’s College Cup will be played December 2 and 4 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, with the West Coast Conference and the San Jose Sports Authority serving as co-hosts. The first national semifinal will be played and shown live on ESPNU at 5 p.m. Eastern Time Friday, December 2. The second semifinal will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time live on ESPNU. The national championship match will take place at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, December 4 and will also broadcast live on ESPNU.

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