The Missouri women’s soccer team has a chance to achieve a school first against Washington in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Palo Alto, Calif.
Missouri, 12-6-3, reached the second round for the fourth time in the program’s six postseason appearances with a 3-1 victory at Kansas on Sunday.
The Tigers — who square off with the Huskies, 13-6-2, at Stanford’s Cagan Stadium at 6:30 p.m. Friday — have never made it past the second round.
“It will be a benchmark obviously,” Missouri coach Bryan Blitz said. “Either way, we’ve had one of our best, most successful seasons, so I think our kids feel good about it. But we feel like we’re peaking at the right time. I guess we’ll find out Friday.”
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No. 24 Washington drew the No. 4 seed in Stanford’s regional after finishing seventh in the Pac-12 with a 5-4-2 record.
Missouri finished fourth in the Southeastern Conference at 6-4-1.
The winner faces either the host Cardinal, 18-1-2 or Arkansas, 9-6-6, at 3 p.m. Sunday in Palo Alto, Calif.
“They have a lot of seniors, and they don’t beat themselves,” Blitz said of the Huskies. “That’s the biggest thing that came out scouting them the last two weeks. … We have to be patient.”
Washington will drop off and play for the counterattack, working to create turnovers in the midfield, so Missouri can’t get overly aggressive going forward and leaving itself vulnerable in the back.
Among SEC teams, the Huskies are similar to South Carolina, which lost to the Tigers during the regular season but knocked them off in the conference tourney quarterfinals.
The weekend sets up as something of a referendum on SEC versus Pac-12 soccer after both conferences qualified eight teams for the tournament, including seven from each conference that reached the second round.
The Pac-12 went 7-0-1 last weekend, while the SEC posted a 6-1-1 record.
The game will be streamed live and can be found on MUTigers.com.
Missouri in the NCAA Tournament second round
L, 1-0 (2OT)
6:30 p.m. Friday
*Fighting Illini advanced 4-3 on penalty kicks
NCAA Division II volleyball
▪ In the Midwest Region, No.4 seed Rockhurst will face No. 1 seed Truman State in a second-round match at 4 p.m. Friday in Allendale, Mich.
The Hawks, 27-4, beat Indianapolis in five sets Thursday behind 15 kills and five blocks by Preecy Seever, formerly of Olathe Northwest, and 11 kills and 13 digs by Morgan Rietzke, who played at Staley. Truman swept McKendree (Ill.) in a first-round match.
Missouri S&T, the No. 6 seed in the region, lost to No. 3 Grand Valley State (Mich.) in straight sets. The Miners finished 18-14.
▪ In the Central Region, No. 4 seed Central Missouri lost in four sets to fifth-seeded Wayne State (Mich.). The Jennies’ season ends with a 22-9 record. No. 7 seed Washburn lost in three sets to second-seeded and defending national champ Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.) and finished the season 24-7.
NCAA Division II soccer
Central Missouri and Minnesota State-Mankato, two unbeaten teams, will compete for a national quarterfinal berth at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Somers, Wis. The Jennies, 20-0-2, are the second seed in the Central Region, while top-seeded Mankato State is 22-0. The winner will play at noon Sunday against either Wisconsin-Parkside or Grand Valley State.
Tickets for the Texarkana Bowl between Central Missouri and Southeastern Oklahoma St. can be purchased through the Central Missouri athletic office at www.texarkanabowl.com. The teams play Dec. 6 in Texarkana, Ark.
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