As was widely expected, the No. 1 Cardinal was awarded the top overall seed for the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament on Monday and will host Montana in the first round on Friday.
The Grizzlies (6-11-4) surprised Weber State in the Big Sky conference finals to earn a berth in the tournament for the first time in 11 years under first-year head coach Mark Plakorus.
They will face a tough test against Stanford (19-0-1), which is playing in its 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament and has played in three consecutive College Cups, losing two straight years in the national championship game.
As the host of the Stanford Regional, the Cardinal would take on the winner of Texas and South Carolina in the second round if it can defeat Montana. In order to reach the College Cup, however, Stanford has to get past some very formidable opponents—No. 2 seed Oklahoma State, defending champion Notre Dame and Maryland all potentially stand in the Cardinal’s path. The Fighting Irish knocked off Stanford last year in the final, and the Terrapins were responsible for the only blemish on coach Paul Ratcliffe’s record this season, a 0-0 tie on Aug. 26.
The 30th Women’s College Cup will be hosted by Kennesaw State in Kennesaw, Ga. The semifinals will take place on Friday, Dec. 2, and the national championship will be played on Sunday, Dec. 4.
– Miles Bennett-Smith