Coach Karen Hoppa (above) talks to her team on Monday during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show.
Auburn, Ala.-- Auburn coach Karen Hoppa said her team should be excited and pleased to be a No. 4 national seed for the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament, but told them on Monday after the bids were announced that their focus needs to turn away from the big picture to concentrate on their opening round opponent, the Southeastern Louisiana Lady Lions.
The two teams will meet at the Auburn Soccer Complex at 6 p.m. CST on Saturday to begin the single-elimination, 64-team tournament.
The Tigers, who finished the regular season 14-5-1, enter the event with the second highest seed in school history. Only the 2011 Tigers, who were a No. 3 seed, were higher.
“In soccer they only seed the top 16 teams in the country and for us to get one of those seeds we are just thrilled,” Hoppa said. “It is a testament to everything the girls have accomplished throughout the year.
“I am really happy for them, I am proud of them, it’s an honor, but now all bets are off, that doesn’t matter,” she added. “It is one game at a time and every team we play is going to be quality.”
Southeastern Louisiana has a 14-4-4 record and earned its tournament bid by winning the Southland Conference Tournament championship defeating Sam Houston State on penalty kicks to claim the title.
Coach Karen Hoppa's Tigers have lost just one game this season.
“We know it is the NCAA Tournament so everybody is going to be tough,” Hoppa said. “They won their conference championship for a reason. They are a great team. I know their coach well. He will have them organized and play hard, and they will quality soccer.”
Hoppa said she is hoping for a big turnout of Auburn fans who will be in town for the Auburn-Georgia football game that kicks off at 11 a.m. "The home crowd can make a huge difference for our team," she said.