Nov. 6, 2000
The top-seeded Notre Dame women’s soccer team will receive a first-round bye before opening play in the 2000 NCAA Tournament versus the winner of a first-round game between Miami (Ohio) University and the University of Michigan, with the RedHawks and Wolverines slated to tangle on Wednesday night, Nov. 8.
Notre Dame’s second-round game-vs. the Michigan-Miami winner-will be played at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, at Notre Dame’s Alumni Field. Advance tickets may be purchased at the Joyce Center ticket office or by calling (219) 631-7356. Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens (55-and-older), students and children under-16.
Comments from second-year Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum are included below.
Notre Dame (20-0-1)-which has played in every NCAA Championship since 1993, including five trips to the semi-finals, four title-game appearances and the 1995 championship season-is the nation’s only unbeaten team among 271 Division I women’s soccer programs, with just four other teams owning a record with two losses (Washington, Jacksonville and Furman) or better (once-beaten Nebraska). The Irish have headed into the NCAAs without a loss just once previously, in 1997 (also 20-0-1).
Notre Dame received the top seed in the 48-team tournament, marking just the second time that the Irish have been seeded first overall (the `94 team was the top seed and advanced to the title game before losing to North Carolina, 5-0). The top four seeds in the tournament are guaranteed home field until the semifinals, which will be played Dec. 1 at San Jose’s Spartan Stadium (followed by the Dec. 3 championship game).
The other eight seeds include: No. 2 Washington, No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 North Carolina, No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 Penn State and No. 8 California.
Should Notre Dame advance to the third round (final 16), the Irish possibly could face perennial America East Conference power Hartford (17-3-0), which suffered a stunning 4-1 loss in the America East title game to Boston University. Hartford awaits the winner of the Quinnipiac (13-6-1) at Harvard (10-7-0) game.
Michigan (12-8-1)-which lost to Notre Dame, 5-1, in the regular-season finale-made a late push by reaching the championship game of the Big Ten Conference Tournament, where the Wolverines lost in overtime to Penn State (1-0).
Miami (13-7-0) rallied to win the Mid-American Conference Tournament as that event’s fourth seed, posting a home quarterfinal win over Ohio University on Oct. 31 (1-0) before knocking off regular-season champ Buffalo in the semifinals (2-0) and downing No. 2 seed Bowling Green, 1-0 in double overtime, in Sunday’s title game (those last two games were played in Buffalo, N.Y.).
The bracket opposite Notre Dame’s (which will produce a quarterfinal opponent for the winner of the six-team group that includes ND) is led by eighth-seeded California (17-2-1), which awaits the winner of the Cal Poly (10-6-1) at Santa Clara (10-6-1) matchup. The rest of that Bay Area-heavy bracket includes first-round bye team BYU (18-3-1), which will play host to the winner of the San Jose State (10-12-1) at Stanford (13-5-1) game.
The following teams round out the 16 squads that received first-round byes: Virginia (placed in No. 5 UNC’s bracket), Connecticut (opposite No. 4 Nebraska), Florida (with No. 3 Clemson), Texas A&M (bracketed with 6th-seeded UCLA), Dartmouth (opposite No. 7 Penn State) and Portland (paired with 2nd seed Washington).
Three BIG EAST Conference teams made the 48-team field, with just three conferences placing more teams in the Championship: the Pacific-10 (7), the Atlantic Coast (6) and the Big Ten (4). West Virginia joined Notre Dame and UConn as the BIG EAST’s three representatives in the 2000 NCAAs. The Mountaineers are one of 13 teams that will be making their first appearance in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.
Notre Dame posted a 7-0-1 combined record versus seven teams in the NCAA field, including Santa Clara (6-1), Stanford (2-1, OT), Washington (5-0), Portland (1-0), West Virginia (2-1, OT), Connecticut (0-0, 1-0) and Michigan (5-1).
“Receiving the top seed is a great tribute to the hard work, cohesiveness and resiliency that this team has shown throughout the season,” said Waldrum, who ranks as one of the leading candidates for national coach-of-the-year honors after seeing his team remain among the nation’s elite programs despite the loss of five graduated starters and three All-Americans from the 1999 NCAA runner-up squad.
“You always will face tough tests in the postseason and I expect that to be the case this year. We don’t know much about Miami, other than the fact that they made a very impressive run through the MAC Tournament. And Michigan is a team that had an up-and-down season before getting some solid results in the Big Ten Tournament. They have some dangerous players up top that you always have to contend with but they are a team that we have played several times in the last few seasons.
“I was really happy for West Virginia to receive a bid but it was a tough decision for them to not take Boston College as well. The BIG EAST very well could have had four teams in the NCAAs and that just shows how the conference is continuing to make strides.”
A complete NCAA bracket (including a PDF version) can be reached through the NCAA website (ncaa.org) via the links below: