"This is certainly another great step for our program, advancing the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the past three seasons," said head coach John Gibson. "We are really looking forward to playing this weekend and have focused on getting here all season. After starting out the season 2-3, this day seemed far away, but with 13 wins in our last 14 games, our team has responded nicely."
The Pride will take on Ithaca on Saturday at 1:30 pm and will face the Bombers for the first time in program history. Ithaca (12-4-1) earned an an at-large bid to the NCAA's and was the regular season champion of the Empire 8 Conference. The other two teams in the four-team regional, TCNJ (16-2-1) and Christopher Newport (16-4-1), will battle at 11:00 am on Saturday.
The NCAA Tournament is comprised of 63 teams, including 42 winners of conferences whose champions earn automatic qualification (including NEWMAC champion Springfield; New Jersey, who received the New Jersey Athletic Conference’s automatic bid, and USA South Atlantic Conference champion Christopher Newport). 20 separate teams from those conferences who did not win their conference title were selected (including Ithaca, who lost in the Empire 8 semifinals) and one team that is either an independent or a member of a conference whose champion do not receive automatic bid was named to the field.
Following this weekend’s regional round, four schools will host four-team sectionals, to be held Nov. 19-21. The four sectional winners advance to the semifinals and final, Dec. 4 and 5. All games will be played on the campuses of participating institutions until the Final Four, which will be held at Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio, Texas.