For the 22nd time in school history, Duke women’s soccer received an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils received a No. 3 seed while the ACC sent seven teams to the tournament field. The Blue Devils face Charlotte in the NCAA Tournament first round Saturday, Nov. 12.
“It’s an honor to play in the NCAA Tournament,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “333 teams that start this journey in August and now we are down to 64 teams. We spent last week training without knowing who and where we are going to play. Now we know it is Charlotte and we are obviously very familiar with them. We are very happy to be playing Charlotte. John Cullen has done a great job with their program. What a great weekend they had this past weekend winning three games in the Conference USA to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. I am very happy for them.”
Charlotte enters the NCAA Tournament with an 11-8-2 overall record under head coach John Cullen. The 49ers knocked off Western Kentucky, UTEP and Florida Atlanta over the weekend to claim the Conference USA Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Duke and Charlotte meet for the seventh time in school history and the Blue Devils leading the series, 5-1. In addition, Church started the Charlotte women’s soccer program in 1995 and totaled a 66-30-10 record with the 49ers.
“Our whole family is big Charlotte fans,” said Church. “We follow them every year to see how they are doing. Those five years at Charlotte were really good years. It will bring back a lot of memories, there is no question about that. But when it gets down to Saturday, we will be down to business. Only one of us is going to advance so we will be working hard to advance on to the next round.”
Saturday’s winner of the Duke/Charlotte match will advance to the second round to face the winner of the Michigan/Illinois State contest Nov. 18.
Duke is currently ranked No. 11 in the latest Soccer America top 25 national rankings and No. 14 in the NCAA RPI, after totaling a 12-4-3 overall record in the regular season. The Blue Devils finished third in the ACC in 2016 with a 7-2-1 overall record.
Coming off an impressive run in 2015 to the NCAA Championship match, the Blue Devils feature an experienced group looking to make a long run in 2016.
Church has now guided Duke to 14 tournament appearances over his 16 years with the Blue Devils. He led the team to the NCAA Championship match in 2011 and 2015, while guiding the Blue Devils to the NCAA Elite Eight on four other occasions – 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013.
Tickets for Saturday’s contest against Charlotte can be purchased by heading to www.GoDuke.com/ticketes or calling the Duke ticket office (919) 681-2583 or 1-877-375-3853. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students/seniors and $3 for children.