NCAA Women's Soccer Third Round Preview
Nov. 16, 2004
Two of the five Big Ten teams that qualified for the 2004 NCAA Women's Soccer Championhip will advance to the third round as Ohio State and Illinois each earned a spot in the 16-team field with a pair of victories last weekend. This is the first time that either program has made it to the third round of the championship.
League Champion Ohio State will remain on its home turf as the Buckeyes host Tennessee on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Columbus. Home field has been the advantage for Ohio State throughout the postseason as it also hosted this year's Big Ten Women's Soccer Tournament. The team claimed the Conference crown for the second time in school history after defeating Penn State, 2-1, in the Tournament final. Ohio State entered the NCAA Championship as the No. 6 seed and recorded first and second round victories over Bowling Green, 2-0, and Detroit, 3-0, respectively. The Buckeyes are making their first appearance in the Round of 16 as they prepare to face Tennessee, the No. 11 seed in the championship. The Volunteers claimed the SEC's eastern division title with a 10-1 regular season record, but lost to Florida in overtime, 1-0, in the championship match to finish second overall. Tennessee advanced through the first two rounds with consecutive 1-0 wins over Furman and UAB.
Illinois is also heading to the third round for the first time in school history after two victories in College Station, Texas. The Illini shutout Rice in the first round, 2-0, and came from behind to defeat Texas A&M, 2-1. Illinois now welcomes Nebraska for a 5 p.m. match-up on Saturday, November 20. The Huskers are playing in their ninth straight NCAA Championship and advanced to the Sweet 16 after a 3-0 win against Oral Roberts and a 2-1 overtime victory against the No. 8 seed Kansas.
Michigan was the only Big Ten team to lose in the first round, as the Wolverines dropped a 3-2 decision to Detroit in Columbus. Wisconsin and Penn State were also awarded bids to the 2004 NCAA Championship and were victorious in the first round as the Badgers downed Dayton 2-1 in overtime, while Penn State defeated Binghamton, 6-1. However, both teams saw their seasons end in second round action. Wisconsin lost to Notre Dame, 1-0, on a last minute goal by the No. 4 seeded Fighting Irish, while Penn State dropped a heart-breaker at home to Maryland, 1-0.
Penn State and Wisconsin are the only Big Ten teams to have made it to the College Cup. The Nittany Lions lost in the semifinals in 2002 to Connecticut, 2-1, and in 1999 to North Carolina, 2-0. Wisconsin advanced to the championship match in 1991 before falling to the Tar Heels, 3-1.