64 teams make the NCAA tournament, but only the top 16 teams are seeded. Arizona nabbed the 13th seed, however they will not be a tournament host. Arizona was one of only two seeded teams not selected to host the first and second rounds.
"This means that hard work pays off," said Junior Jennifer Klein. "It's awesome. I don't know what else to say about it."
The soccer program has been the Achilles heel of the athletic department, never having a winning season in their ten year history. The team is now shining in this, the team's most successful campaign in school history.
Head Coach Dan Tobias is in his second season at Arizona. Tobias coached at Washington State prior to coming to Tucson and was named Pac-10 coach of the year in 2002.
"It's a great step for our program," Tobias said. "I'm real proud of these guys. All the credit goes them. They've done an outstanding job from day one."
A luncheon was held for the team to watch as the pairings were announced. Unfortunately, half the team and Tobias were delayed in their return from a road trip to Oregon and missed the seedings being announced. When Arizona was announced as the 13 seed cheers of joy and shock were heard as the girls were obviously thrilled over their seeding.
Now the task turns to the tournament. First up are the Colgate Raiders, making their fourth NCAA tournament appearance. If the Cats defeat Colgate on Friday they will move on to play either Harvard or UConn on Sunday.
"I know they're all good teams," Tobias explained. "They're 64 of the top 300 some odd programs in the country. UConn was in the Final Four last year…I'm familiar with Harvard as well. The only team I'm not familiar with is our first round opponent which is Colgate so I guess I've got to do a little bit more homework so we're prepared."
Arizona's fairy tale season has been too remarkable to settle for the NCAA tournament bid. These girls realize there is work to be done.
"I asked them (the team) if we were finished and they said ‘no no no,'" Tobias said. "They all had that look in their eye that said hey we've worked so hard to get here. Now this is a new part of our season, lets make the best of it."