Women's soccer

In the midst of their AAC championship run, the UofM women's soccer team will be keeping on eye on who they will face in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Tigers dominated SMU Thursday in their last regular season game, winning 5-0. But the team is already moving past the win, focusing on their AAC conference championship tournament. 

Beyond that, though, is the NCAA tournament selection that is happening this week, where the Tigers will find out their opponent for the first round. Head Coach Brooks Monaghan’s strategy for the tournament is to simply win and come prepared, like they have all season. He said he advised his team to not allow the blowout victory over #14 ranked SMU to make them overconfident.

“[The plan] is to win, it is always to win. [Winning] this game does not mean we win the next one,” Monaghan said. “It should prove a lot to this group that, when they put their head down, they can play anybody.”

The Tigers are looking to avenge last year’s first round loss to Utah Valley. The group was talented and well-coached, leaving them stunned after the loss. Learning from that, Monaghan has trained them all this season to keep pushing no matter what the opponent's record is on the schedule. 

This season featured a lot of good wins, along with a few losing games. The Tigers started the season 6-0-1, some wins beating teams by as many as eight goals. They hit a few bumps in the season after dropping games to Drake, UCF, Houston and East Carolina. The Tigers finished the season 11-4-1 and are expecting a good outcome for this year's postseason.

Freshman Momo Nakao is not afraid of any team coming her way and is locked in on their first opponent.

“We cannot wait to kick the postseason off and bring home the national championship,” Nakao said. “If we play some good defense during the tournament, we will have a good outcome this year.”

Senior teammate Kimberly Smit cannot wait to help produce on the field and make a run in the tournament in her final ride with the Tigers.

“I can not wait for the tournament to start. I am ready to help my team win every game we play,” Smit said. “The national championship has been on my mind since the season started. I am ready for the challenge.”

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