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Women's soccer heads into NCAA tournament

<p>The women's soccer team was handed their first loss of the season and currently sits with a 6-1-1 this season.</p>
The women's soccer team was handed their first loss of the season and currently sits with a 6-1-1 this season.

The Memphis Women's Soccer makes another appearance in the NCAA Division I Women's soccer championship.

The announcement was official on April 19, and the Tigers are one of 48 teams selected to the NCAA tournament. Memphis (8-3, 0-1 AAC) earns a tournament appearance for the 15th time in program history. 

The Tigers are slotted to play the winners from the Western Athletic Conference, Utah Valley University. The two teams will compete in the first round and the Arkansas Razorbacks are taking on the winner.

Memphis entered the NCAA tournament following an early exit in the four team American Athletic tournament. The Tigers faced the Cincinnati Bearcats in Tampa. The No. 3 Bearcats escaped with a 1-0 win and advanced to the championship game against USF.

Memphis had appeared in the AAC Championship game three times in a row from 2017 to 2019. The Tigers accepted an at-large bid giving them a shot in the tournament. 

Memphis has four players have scored three goals: Tanya Boychuk, Clarissa Larisey Lisa Pechersky and Grace Stordy. The Tigers have outscored opponents 17-9 and outshot opponents 177 to 70.

The Wolverines have not lost any of their last eight games. Two of their last eight went into overtime and were marked as ties. The other six games were wins were against Seattle U, Dixie State and Chicago State. Utah Valley (12-4-4, 10-2-2 WAC) achieved their program's third appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Their most recent one was a trip in 2017.

Utah Valley won the Western Athletic Conference by defeating New Mexico State after the game went into double overtime. The game went into a penalty kick shootout and the Wolverines advanced after downing the Aggies 4-3. 

Following their win, Utah Valley took a 1-0 win over Seattle University in the second half. The Wolverines took the WAC title and earned an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

This is the third season in a row the Tigers have made it to the NCAA tournament. Memphis boasted a 17-4, 7-2 AAC record in 2018 and a 17-3-1, 8-0-1 AAC record in 2019. In 2018, the Tigers hosted the Wisconsin Badgers and lost 3-0 in the opening round. The following year, Memphis traveled to Pullman, Washington to play the Washington State Cougars and lost 1-0 in the first round. 

Conference opponent South Florida also made it to big tournament with the AAC title. However the only way Memphis would meet the USF Bulls in tournament is if both teams made it to the final four teams. The Bulls and Tigers were high achievers in the conference all season and the Tigers lost the regular season contest 2-1. 

Two other teams that Memphis played have made it into the big dance. Vanderbilt and Ole Miss have landed a spot, but are in a separate bracket from the Tigers. The Rebels gave Memphis their first loss 3-1, and the Tigers beat the No. 6 Commodores 3-2 in overtime. 

The Wolverines are meeting the Tigers in Greensville, North Carolina. The game is set to start at 4pm EST.

The women's soccer team was handed their first loss of the season and currently sits with a 6-1-1 this season.

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