(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
The Arizona State soccer team will be making its seventh ever appearance in the NCAA tournament as it hosts Northern Arizona University on Saturday.
The news was announced at 2:30 p.m. on Monday as part of the NCAA DI Women’s soccer selection show.
“I believe its well-earned by our team. I think we absolutely deserve it,” head coach Kevin Boyd said. “It’s the best season we’ve had in quite some time. Most goals for in quite some time, most wins since 2003, I mean this team earned it.”
The Sun Devils (11-5-4, 4-4-3 Pac-12) are one of nine Pac-12 teams to qualify for the NCAA tournament. The tournament appearance comes as no surprise since the Sun Devils essentially cemented their spot in the tournament with a 1-0 win over Arizona (also in the tournament) last Friday.
“It’s a huge statement about the quality of the teams in the Pac-12 and the strength of our league,” Boyd said. “We have been saying for years that our league, from top to bottom, is the deepest league in the country. That’s certainly been proven to be true for this year.”
This will be the fourth time the Sun Devils have qualified for the tournament under Boyd. The last time the Sun Devils made it was in 2012, when they fell to third-seeded Baylor 3-1. Nine current players were on the active roster in the game against Baylor, including junior forward Cali Farquharson, who scored ASU’s only goal.
“What’s great is number one: that they’ve been in it before, and number two: that they weren’t in it last year and it definitely left a bitter taste,” Boyd said. “We have players that are excited to be back in and determined to do better than we did the last time.”
For the NAU Lumberjacks (12-5-4, 7-2-3 Big Sky), this will be their first appearance in the tournament since 2009. They automatically qualified for the tournament as champions of the Big Sky Conference.
Both teams squared off in the preseason with ASU coming out on top 4-1. However, both teams were still tinkering with line ups at the time, and that might not be the best indicator for this weekend’s game.
“We want to be the best team we can be, so we’re focusing on us, and the things that we’ve been doing well,” Boyd said. “We obviously have some playing style knowledge of them based on playing them every spring and playing them in the preseason. We’ll use some of that knowledge, but our main focus is going to be about us.”
Kick off for the game is at 7 p.m. at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.