COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It’s been a long and frustrating wait since 2006, the last time Colorado College earned a berth in the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship.
Fortunately, this year’s Tigers didn’t have to endure a long selection show to find out that not only did they make the 64-team field, but they also would be playing only an hour away from campus.
CC, the sixth team introduced during Monday’s selection show, travels to the University of Denver on Saturday for its second match of the year against the Pioneers. The contest kicks off at noon MT.
“It’s ironic that we opened the season with Denver and now we play the first postseason game against Denver,” head coach Geoff Bennett said. “It’s going to be a tight game. They’re a very good team that is well coached and it’s on their home field. We’re looking forward to extending our season. I’m really excited for our players, especially the seniors.”
Colorado College defeated DU, 1-0, on Aug. 17 in the opening game of the 2012 Colorado Cup at the University of Northern Colorado. Since then, the teams are a combined 29-5-9 and won a share of their respective conference regular-season crowns.
“It’s not an easy game from both teams’ perspective,” Bennett said. “There won’t be very many first-round games where the teams have a combined five losses for the year. Both teams know how to win. It’s going to be a very competitive game and a very exciting one for people to watch.”
CC, which owns a 14-3-5 overall record, tied for first place in Conference USA with an 8-2-1 mark in league play. After defeating the University of Houston in the first-round of the C-USA Tournament, the Tigers were eliminated by the University of Tulsa on penalty kicks after the teams played to a 1-1 draw through 110 minutes.
“We said on the bus ride home that if we do get a bid, not playing in Sunday’s final was the best thing for us,” Bennett said. “I think being on the road for nine of our last 13 games caught up with us a little bit. We’ll be rested, healthy and raring to go.”
The Pioneers (15-2-4) also received an at-large bid after dropping a 1-0 decision to Utah State in the Western Athletic Conference finals on Sunday.
The winner of Saturday’s game will face either Stony Brook University (12-6-3) or the University of Maryland (13-6-2) in the second round.
“We’re looking forward to extending our season,” Bennett said. “Our players deserve this. We played well enough, they’ve worked hard all season and we’ve gotten better and better.”