Nov. 9, 2003
The 64-team field, pairings, top-16 seeds and host sites for the 2003 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be announced on Monday, Nov. 10, at (approximately) 4:00 p.m. EST – with ESPN News to carry the announcement live.
The first and second rounds will be held this weekend (typically on a Friday-Sunday format), with the 16 host sites each featuring four teams. The field now will include 16 seeded teams (as opposed to eight in past years) but it is not guaranteed that each seed will be a host site, based on geographical pairings and the proximity of other seeded teams. The 64-team field will include 29 automatic bids for conference champions and 35 at-large berths.
Notre Dame (19-2-1) – ranked as high as third in last week’s national polls – has qualified for the NCAAs every year since 1993 and carries a 25-9-1 all-time record in the NCAAs. The Irish won the 1995 national title, were the NCAA runner-ups in 1994, ’96 and ’99, and also made two other College Cup semifinal appearances in 1997 and 2000.
The current Notre Dame squad has positioned the program for another run at the national title, despite enduring significant injury losses for the second consecutive season. Eight Irish players have combined to miss 101 games this season due to injury or illness, most notably the season-long absences of All-America junior left back Candace Chapman and senior midfielder Randi Scheller (a second team all-BIG EAST Conference pick in 2003).