Oklahoma State earned its sixth-straight NCAA Women's Soccer Championship bid and seventh overall, and the Cowgirls were awarded a No. 2 national seed, their highest ever, the NCAA announced today.
Coach Colin Carmichael's squad will also host an opening round match for the second consecutive year as OSU will open NCAA tourney play Friday against SWAC-champion Arkansas-Pine Bluff (16-4-1) at the Cowgirl Soccer Complex. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. If the Cowgirls win, they would host second- and third-round matches Nov. 18 and 20.
"We're happy we're a two seed; it's the highest seed we've ever received," said Carmichael, who has guided OSU to six NCAA Tournament appearances in his seven seasons as head coach. "If we'd beaten Texas A&M in the (Big 12 Championship) final, we might have been a No. 1, and that's probably fair.
"The bracket is what it is - we've got a game with Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday and then should we advance, we get to host again. You can't ask for more than that."
Fans wishing to purchase tickets for Friday's match can
do so online at www.okstate.com
If OSU advances to the second round, they will host the winner of the Notre Dame-Illinois contest. The winners of the Auburn-Utah State and Maryland-La Salle matchups would also travel to Stillwater for a second-round game.
OSU is one of 16 national seeds for the fourth time in school history, joining the 2006 and 2008 teams (No. 4 national seeds) and 2010 Cowgirl squads (No. 3) in earning that distinction. The other seeded teams in the Cowgirls' regional bracket are No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 Auburn and No. 4 Boston College.
OSU 19-1-2 on the season and went undefeated during the regular season, claiming their fourth-straight Big 12 Conference championship along the way. The Cowgirls, who had a school-record 21-game unbeaten streak snapped in the title game of the Big 12 Soccer Championship last Sunday in San Antonio, are 10-0-1 at the Cowgirl Soccer Complex this season and are 40-3-1 on their home field since 2008.
The Cowgirls have advanced to at least the second round of the NCAA Soccer Championship in each of the last five seasons, and OSU is 6-3-4 all time in the NCAA tourney. They are coming off the best NCAA tourney run in program history as a year ago they advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual national champion Notre Dame.
And the OSU players and coaches feel the pieces are in place for an even deeper tournament run this season as they set their sights on the NCAA College Cup in Kennesaw, Ga.
"We have confidence in our team and confidence in each other that we can get to the Final Four," said senior forward Krista Lopez. "We've gained experience and confidence since last year. We know how a loss feels, and we don't want to feel that feeling again."
Added Carmichael, "You never know what will happen. Soccer is a strange game - you can dominate and lose 1-0. But I think this team has more pieces in place to be successful. We have a chance to make a good run if we're on form."
In 2011, the Cowgirls have outscored their opponents by a 44-6 margin and have recorded a school-record 16 shutouts. They lead the NCAA in goals against average (0.26) and save percentage (.936).
OSU reached its highest-ever national ranking at No. 2
earlier this season and maintained that spot in the polls
for eight consecutive weeks. The Cowgirls also seven players
named All-Big 12 Conference performers, including five first
teamers and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in