The NCAA has announced the 64 team field for the 2016 women’s soccer national championship tournament, and YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles are one of the 64 teams!
Marquette will hit the road for their opening round match, but it won’t be a very long trip. They’ll be headed a little bit west to face the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers. This will be the first competitive match between Marquette and Wisconsin since the 2010 NCAA tournament, when the two teams went to a 2-2 draw, but Marquette advanced on penalty kicks. It will be the fourth time that the Golden Eagles and the Badgers have squared off in the NCAA tournament, but the first time that the match will be played in Madison as all three previous encounters took place in Milwaukee. Marquette has a 5-6-2 all time record against Wisconsin, but a 1-1-1 record in the NCAA tournament.
Marquette currently sports a record of 12-7-2 after falling to Georgetown in the Big East championship game on Sunday. That record may not scream “national championship tournament invitee,” but you have to realize what head coach Markus Roeders and his staff did with the non-conference portion of their schedule this season. Including their exhibition match against Wisconsin, eight of Marquette’s first nine matches this season were against teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament. Sure, MU went 2-5-1 in those matches, but the point is that the Golden Eagles went out and challenged themselves with a tough schedule and it paid dividends for them.
The winner of the Marquette-Wisconsin match will advance to take on the winner of the Florida-Florida Gulf Coast match. The Gators are the #1 seed in the region, so that means a trip to Gainesville is the likely result for the second round.
Marquette is one of two Big East teams to qualify for the NCAA tournament, and the only team to earn an at-large bid. Georgetown picked up the Big East’s automatic bid by defeating MU in the conference tournament championship game, and the Hoyas will host St. Francis (PA) in their first round match.
As of right now, there is not an official date and time for the Marquette-Wisconsin match. It will be played at some point this weekend, so keep your eyes and ears open for an official announcement to that end.
UPDATE: Friday at 7pm in Madison!