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#25 Rutgers Women’s Soccer kicks off NCAA tournament Friday at #8 Duke

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Squad has reached the NCAA tournament in seven consecutive years.

Time to hit the gas pedal.
Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics

The #25 Rutgers Women’s Soccer team found out their fate today for their first round NCAA Tournament game when the 64 team field was announced this afternoon. Rutgers will face #8 Duke (14-3-2) this Friday in Durham, North Carolina. The winner will face the winner of the First Round match between Mississippi State Bulldogs (9-6-2) and Lipscomb Bisons (14-4-2) on Sunday.

The 2017 National Semifinalist Blue Devils get the game at home, but may have a gripe with the selection committee as the Scarlet Knights on paper appear to be a much tougher opponent than Lipscomb who have an RPI of 77, but to their credit won the Atlantic Sun conference title. Duke has an RPI of 11 and did receive one first-place vote in the most recent coaches poll that has them ranked 8th, whereas the Bulldogs with an RPI of 19 were not ranked.

The Scarlet Knights were all but assured one of the 33 at-large bids with their 2nd place regular season finish in Big Ten play and an RPI of 30. After finishing the season with a 11-3-5 record overall, including 7-1-3 in the Big Ten, the team’s last game was a disappointing loss at Yurcak field in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals. They haven’t played a game since that October 28, 1-0 loss to eventual champion Minnesota. The Scarlet Knights had defeated the Golden Gophers on the road earlier in the season. Despite the loss, Rutgers was still ranked #25 in the poll last week.

Six Big Ten teams were included in the field of 64. The Scarlet Knights went 2-3-2 against teams that made the NCAA Tournament, beating Minnesota and Northwestern. Rutgers set the NCAA record with nine consecutive overtime contests, amazingly not losing one of them (5-0-4).

Rutgers has qualified for the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament in seven consecutive campaigns. Their record in that stretch of postseason games is 8-6. The best finish was reaching the Final Four in 2015 before falling in the National Semifinals.

Full bracket here.

Good luck Friday and more to come on this tournament game!