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Utah soccer headed to NCAA tourney

By University of Utah sports information department

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Nov. 11 2013 6:01 p.m. MST

BYU's Collette Jepson Smith drives against Utah's Monica Okapal.

Bella Torgerson/BYU,

Enlarge photo»

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah soccer will travel to No. 21 Texas A&M on Friday for the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup.

The Utes, making their sixth appearance in the tournament but first since 2006, is one of six teams from the Pac-12 to earn a berth. Utah placed third in the conference this season, its highest finish since joining in 2011.

“We’re all floating on air,” head coach Rich Manning said. “The team has really worked hard for this. We came so close last season and just fell off at the end. It’s a nice reward for everyone, but our mindset this year has been one of ‘we’re not happy to be here, we want to contend.’”

The Utes have advanced to the second round of the College Cup twice, and if they are able to get past the No. 4-seeded Aggies, champions of the Southeastern Conference, they will face Minnesota or Texas Tech next weekend in Chapel Hill, N.C.

“We are stoked,” senior Allie Wisner said. “It has not sunk in yet, but we’ve all been excited for the last few days. I don’t want the season to end. This makes all the early-morning practices and sacrifices worth it. This team has shown so much fight.”

Utah is 4-7-1 all-time against opponents from the SEC. The Utes played to a scoreless draw at Kentucky during the first week of the season and will be looking for their first win against a SEC foe since 2003.

Texas A&M and the Utes have one common opponent from this season in Arizona State. The Aggies topped ASU back in August at Ellis Field, 3-1. The Utes dropped a 2-1 double-overtime contest to the Sun Devils two weeks ago in Tempe.

“Everyone has been all in since day one,” sophomore Lindsey Luke said. “We’ve progressed through the season knowing we can play with the best teams in the nation. This is something we’ve been working for, not just this year."

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