Women’s soccer advance to NCAA Tournament

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Women’s soccer advance to NCAA Tournament

The women’s soccer team watches the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Selection Show.

The women’s soccer team watches the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Selection Show.

Evan Laux

The women’s soccer team watches the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Selection Show.

Evan Laux

Evan Laux

The women’s soccer team watches the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Selection Show.

Evan Laux, SPORTS EDITOR FOR THE COLLEGIAN

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For the second year in a row, the Ashland University women’s soccer team has received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

On the evening of Monday, Nov. 17, the announcement was made live on the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Selection Show on NCAA.com.

The bid comes after the Eagles were eliminated from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament by Saginaw Valley State (2-0) in the semi-final on Nov. 15.

“I think it’s super exciting for us because we have this second opportunity to get into the NCAA tournament,” junior goalkeeper Hannah Lee said. “We have players who were injured last year, and players who were freshmen last year have another year under their belt now.”

The Eagles achieved a record of 10-5-5 in the 2018 season, the first year under head coach of women’s soccer Taylor Clarke. After being eliminated from the GLIAC Tournament on Nov. 2, 2018, the team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region. They were knocked out in the first round of the tournament on Nov. 8 by the Ohio Valley Fighting Scots, who entered the tournament as the Great Midwest Athletic Conference champions.

This season, the team improved their record to 14-4-1, taking an early lead by winning 12 of their first 14 games.

“It’s everything to this group to get to the [NCAA] tournament again, it’s something we’ve talked about since our loss last year,” Clarke said. “We knew we had the opportunity and the resilience to come back and they put in the hard work since that day and throughout this season.”

The Eagles will play No. 5 seed McKendree on Friday (Nov. 22) in Allendale, Mich. Kickoff is at 10 a.m. The region’s No. 1 seed Grand Valley State will play No. 8 seed and Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament champion Southern Indiana in the bracket’s other game.

“It’s super exciting for us and we just need to regroup from what happened at the conference tournament, we know what to expect now,” senior forward Deijah Swihart said. “We get to play new teams now which will be a good refresher as well.”

The other teams in the Midwest Region include No. 2 seed Walsh, No. 3 seed Findlay, No. 6 seed Rockhurst and No. 7 seed Indianapolis.

“I think more than anything, we’re just kind of gonna work on the same thing leading up to the (NCAA) tournament,” CLarke said. “At this point, to get to where we’re at, you don’t really need to change much at this point. We’ll just kind of keep fine tuning the stuff we’ve been doing all season.”

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