Three Big Ten Women's Soccer Squads Advance To Sweet Sixteen
Nov. 20, 2003
Three of five Big Ten squads advanced to the third round of the 2003 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship as Penn State, Michigan and Purdue take the field this weekend.
Big Ten Conference champion Penn State welcomes Big 12 foe Texas A&M to Jeffrey Field on Saturday, November 22, for a 1 p.m. EST showdown. The Nittany Lions, the No. 5 seed in the Championship, defeated Navy in the first round and topped Rutgers in second-round action to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. The winner will go on to face the victor of Kansas and UCLA. Penn State is making its ninth post-season appearance in the 10-year history of the program and holds a combined 17-8 (.680) record in the NCAA tournament. Last season, the Nittany Lions made their second College Cup showing in four years, losing 2-0 to eventual champion Portland.
Purdue is making its first-ever Sweet Sixteen appearance after reaching post-season action for the second-consecutive year. The Boilermakers traveled to Champaign, Illinois and defeated DePaul in the first round and bested Western Michigan, improving the program's post-season record to 3-1. Purdue travels to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to face the top-seeded Tarheels in a 6 p.m. EST kickoff on Friday, November 21. The winner will go on to battle the victor of No. 9 Santa Clara and eighth-seeded Portland.
Michigan rounds out the Big Ten third-round field after avenging a regular-season 1-0 loss to Oakland with a 1-0 first-round victory of its own. The Wolverines beaten No. 2 Notre Dame at South Bend to advance to the field of 16. It was the second time this season that Michigan had upset the Fighting Irish as the school defeated then second-ranked Notre Dame by the same score on October 29. The Maize and Blue travel east to take on the Connecticut Huskies in a noon EST match-up at Storrs, Connecticut It is the seventh-consecutive NCAA Championship appearance and the second-straight Sweet Sixteen showing for the Wolverines. The victor will match-up with the winner of Villanova and Brigham Young.
In Illinois' third-ever NCAA Championship appearance, the Fighting Illini fell to Western Michigan in first-round play. Illinois wrapped-up the most successful campaign in program history with a 16-4-2 record and its first-ever Big Ten Tournament title.
Ohio State defeated Dayton in the first round before falling to sixth-seeded West Virginia in second-round action.The Buckeyes finished the 2003 season with an overall mark of 12-5-3.
The Big Ten has had three squads reach the College Cup. Penn State has reached the semifinals twice, losing to Portland last year and to North Carolina in 1999. Wisconsin advanced to the championship match in 1991 before falling to the Tar Heels.