USU soccer: Aggies set to face BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Nov. 5 2012 10:17 p.m. MST

Making its second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Utah State soccer team will be traveling a short distance to take on BYU in the first round Friday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. at BYU’s South Field.

The Aggies earned the Western Athletic Conference's automatic bid by defeating No. 19 Denver in the finals of the WAC Tournament, 1-0, on Nov. 4. Last season, USU made its first trip to the big dance with a win against Fresno State in the WAC finals and played Auburn in the first round.

Utah State is 13-2-6 this season and has won eight-straight matches. The Aggies have an 11-match unbeaten streak with their last loss coming against BYU on Sept. 20.

The Aggies and the Cougars played earlier this season in Logan with BYU taking the 1-0 win. In the 10th minute, Dana Oldroyd Cusick scored the only goal of the match. This is the second-straight season the Aggies lost 1-0 to the Cougars.

BYU leads the overall series, 10-0-0. The Cougars finished the regular season 18-1-1, on a 17-game unbeaten streak to earn the West Coast Conference Championship title and automatic bid to the 2012 postseason. BYU is one of four No. 1 seeds along with Florida State, Stanford and Penn State.

“We have played BYU earlier in the year, and they are an opponent that we are very familiar with since we play them in the spring as well. The plus of it is that it is just a short bus ride down the road. Our legs aren’t going to be tired from traveling. We had such great fan base for our conference tournament and this allows those fans to see us play on the biggest stage in the country in the NCAA Tournament,“ USU head coach Heather Cairns said.

USU is one of two WAC teams to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Denver earned an at-large bid and will host Colorado College.

The Aggie team and coaching staff watched the selection show together in comfort this year.

“That was so much more fun that last year since last year we on the way back from the WAC Tournament in Fresno. This year, to be able to be here with our coaching staff and support staff and see our name come up on the NCAA bracket, it was so fun and so exhilarating, and even to see that we are playing BYU. It is an opponent we know. It is an opponent we have played. We know it will be a dang good game,“ senior defender Natatlie Norris said.

First-round matches will be played at campus sites Nov. 9, 10 and 11. Second-round matches will be played Friday, Nov. 16, at campus sites, and third-round matches will be played Sunday, Nov. 18, at the same campus sites. Quarterfinal matches will be played Nov. 23, 24 or 25 also on campus sites.

The winner of the match between the Aggies and the Cougars will face the winner of the Washington (10-7-3) vs. Auburn (12-10-1) match in the Second Round.

Tickets for the NCAA First Round match are available at the BYU Ticket Office and can be ordered by calling (801) 422-BYU1 or going online. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Ticket prices are as follows:

Reserved - $10.00

Adult General Admission - $7.00

Student General Admission - $5.00

Child (2-5) - $1.00

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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