NCAA Championship Preview
Nov. 12, 2008
The 2008 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship bracket was announced on Monday, Nov. 10, by the NCAA Women's Soccer Committee. Four Big Ten squads accepted bids to compete in this year's 64-team competition. Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota and Penn State will all begin first-round action on Friday, Nov. 14. This marks the 13th consecutive year that the conference has received at least three NCAA Championship bids.
Penn State was awarded the Big Ten's automatic qualifier in to the NCAA event after winning the 2008 Big Ten Tournament title. The Nittany Lions have won five conference tournament crowns in the past 11 seasons and will appear in their 14th NCAA Championship in the past 15 years. PSU carries a 16-7-0 record into Piscataway, N.J., for an opening round contest against Rutgers (12-6-1) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Minnesota is set to host first- and second-round action at the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in St. Paul, Minn. The Gophers shared the conference title with Penn State this year after both squads finished with a Big Ten grade of 8-2-0. The conference trophy was Minnesota's first since the 1997 season. The Gopher's will square off against Marquette (11-7-3) in a Friday night match up at 6 p.m. CT, marking their first NCAA game since 1999.
Michigan State (13-6-3) travels to South Bend, Ind., for a Friday evening bout with UW-Milwaukee (18-2-2). The Spartans posted one of the best turnarounds in conference history, finishing 5-4-1 after going 1-8-1 last year. MSU will make its third overall NCAA appearance in program history as they competed in 2005 and 2002.
Illinois (11-8-1) makes the championship for the sixth-consecutive season and eighth overall. The Illini take on Memphis (15-4-2) on Friday at 4 p.m. CT on the campus of Missouri.
The 27th annual NCAA Division I Women's College Cup will be played December 5 and 7, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., and will be hosted by N.C. State University.