After earning a No. 1 seed for the first time in program history, the Rutgers women’s soccer team will host Bucknell on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to earning their highest seed ever, the Scarlet Knights (17-3-0, 10-0-0) will be making their 10th straight NCAA tournament appearance. Rutgers’ previous match against Michigan saw a 1-0 defeat in the Big Ten Tournament Championship. The Wolverines (15-3-3, 6-2-2) earned their first Big Ten Tournament win since 1999 in front of a record-setting 5,103 fans in attendance.
The Big Ten announced Ali and senior back Gabby Provenzano as part of the Big Ten Women’s Soccer All-Tournament Team following their match on Sunday. After their match, the Knights were named No. 5 in the country in the United Soccer Coaches poll and third in the country in the NCAA Women's Soccer Rating Percentage Index rating.
This is the first team in Rutgers history to claim a Big Ten title and the first team since 2005 to have a perfect Big Ten record in regular season play. The Knights have proven themselves as the season continues, setting program records with the most goals, assists, points and regular-season wins.
The Bisons (11-7-3, 5-2-2) are coming off their longest win streak of the season after their 1-0 win in the Patriot League final, claiming a conference championship as the No. 4 Seed. Bucknell has earned four NCAA Tournament bids in program history, making it past the first round in 2001 and 2005.
Rutgers, named a No. 2 seed in the 2015 NCAA tournament, almost brought the College Cup back to Piscataway but lost to Penn State in the final match.
The Bisons will travel to Yurcak Field to face the Knights at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The winner of Saturday’s game will face either Ole Miss or Saint Louis.
"This team has made history once winning the conference, and we did it again getting the No. 1 seed for NCAA Tournament,” said freshman midfielder Kylie Daigle. “But in a tournament with talent across the board, there's no room to slack off and let the energy get low. Right now the focus is to enjoy each other's company and keep the energy high at practices. We want to treat every single game in this tournament like it's the final."
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