North Carolina’s fifth-ranked Tar Heels received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship when the 64-team field was announced Monday.
“Where we are is just about right,” said UNC coach Anson Dorrance, whose Tar Heels (12-3-2) will host South Dakota State (10-7-2) in the first round at 5 p.m. Friday at Fetzer Field.
UNC has received bids to all 33 of the NCAA tournaments contested, beginning in 1982.
“I have no issue with our seeding,” Dorrance said. “I was hoping to duck in at the fourth No. 1 seed, but I was expecting a high No. 2 seed.” UNC, which has won a record 21 NCAA titles, has been seeded as low as No. 3 just once, in 2011.
Reigning NCAA titlist UCLA, ACC champion Florida State, Pac-12 runner-up Stanford and SEC winner Texas A&M earned the four No. 1 seeds.
Virginia, Penn State and Florida were the other No. 2 seeds.
The ACC landed three more bids in No. 4 seed Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Clemson. Boston College, which had been hoping for an at-large bid, did not get one, giving the ACC six teams in the field – the first time in the past 12 years it has had fewer than seven. It is the 16th consecutive year with six or more ACC teams in the field.
The ACC had eight teams in the field for the past five years and set the record of nine in 2011 and 2012, a mark that the Pac-12 matched Monday.
The SEC garnered eight bids, and the Big East matched the ACC with six.
Four ACC teams will host first-round matches: Florida State-South Alabama, Virginia-High Point, Notre Dame-Valparaiso and Virginia Tech-Dayton. Clemson will visit in-state rival South Carolina. Game times have not been announced, but the games can be played Friday through Sunday.
Although Dorrance pronounced himself satisfied with his seed, some fellow ACC coaches might not be as happy.
Virginia, ranked in the top four all year, slid to the eighth slot among the No. 2 seeds and finds itself opposite UCLA in its region.
Then there’s Clemson, which was ranked 21st in last week’s coaches poll and has a RPI of 30. The Tigers are matched in the first round with the Gamecocks, the No. 3 seed with an RPI of 11.
“I agree that the teams hurt the most are South Carolina and Clemson,” said Dorrance, who noted that Virginia’s comparatively weak nonconference schedule might have cost the Cavaliers.
“Their team is fabulous, but they didn’t get the chance to prove themselves (outside the ACC),” said Dorrance, whose Tar Heels lost 2-0 to UVa in Friday’s ACC tournament semifinals. “They should have had our schedule, and we should have had theirs.”
UNC played six of the 16 seeds in the NCAA field, going 1-3-2.
“But we played three out of the four No. 1 seeds, and we only lost to one of them,” Dorrance said. “Not bad for a team that lost 10 starters from last fall.”