Coming off a trip to the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals and a school-record 14 wins this season, the UNCW women’s soccer team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament when the 64-team field was announced on Monday.
The Seahawks are 14-6-1 on the year and face South Carolina in the opening round of the bracket. The Gamecocks are 3-0-1 versus UNCW in the all-time series. Carolina defeated Wilmington 2-0 on Aug. 23, 2013, the last time the two schools met.
UNCW joins fellow CAA members William & Mary, James Madison and Hofstra, marking the first-time ever the conference received four spots in the tournament.
James Madison will take on Duke (10-5-4), the third overall seed on Friday, November 13 at 7 p.m. in Durham, N.C. UNCW heads to South Carolina (12-4-3) for a 6 p.m. start in Columbia.
On Saturday, November 14, Hofstra travels to Georgetown (11-5-3) for a 1 p.m. match in Washington, D.C., while William & Mary travels to UCF (12-6-1) for a 7 p.m. contest in Orlando, Fla.
James Madison (14-6-2) is making its 11th NCAA appearance and first since 2010 after winning its fourth CAA Championship on Sunday. William & Mary (14-4-2), CAA Regular Season Co-Champions, are making their 25th NCAA appearance and first since 2011. Hofstra (13-5-1), CAA Regular Season Co-Champions, are making their fifth NCAA appearance and first since 2012.
UNCW (14-6-1), led by CAA Coach of the Year Paul Cairney, is making just its second NCAA appearance. The Seahawks’ only other trip to the national tournament was in 2009 after they won the CAA Championship. UNCW drew Georgia in the first round and was edged 1-0 that season.
Senior forward Maddie McCormick leads the CAA’s leading offense into the NCAA Tournament. The Newark, Del., native is tied for the league lead with 14 goals and ranks second with 33 points. Meanwhile, senior forward Katrina Guillou is tied for fourth in the CAA with 24 points.
One of six teams from the SEC to earn a berth in the tournament, South Carolina carries a 12-4-3 record into Friday’s contest against the Seahawks after battling to a 2-2 tie against Auburn in the SEC Tournament last Wednesday. The Gamecocks will be making their eighth appearance in the tournament in the last nine years.
The winner of Friday’s game advances to the second round and play against either Howard or top-seeded Virginia.