A Happy Bunch of Tigers

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn Coach Karen Richter was confident her soccer team would get an NCAA bid, but the third-year coach says you never know until you see your name on the TV.

It took the better part of the 30-minute NCAA Soccer Selection Show aired by FoxSports Net, but the extra wait was worth it as the Tigers found out they had earned their first-ever appearance into the NCAA Tournament.

When Auburn's name appeared on the TV screens in the Scholarship Room, the AU coaches and players began their celebration.

"I was pretty confident," Richter said of her feelings before the show." I felt like we had done enough to get in the tournament and done enough on the field, but there is always that little bit of nerves because it comes down to a committee's decision."

Richter credits a lot of the teams' success to play of her newcomers. Freshman forward Sarah Steinmann, who leads the Tigers with 13 points, missed four games with a knee injury but proved to be instrumental down the stretch for the Tigers. "It's incredible, it's so awesome." Steinmann said after her teammates heard the news. "Just to be here with everyone watching and so excited. This has never happened in Auburn history, so we are pretty pumped." Most of the Auburn team gathered in the Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum Scholarship Room to watch the NCAA Selection Show together.

The AU Soccer Team Waits On The Good News From the NCAA Selection Committe.

The Tigers made a run to the SEC Tournament finals which helped stamp their ticket to Clemson, S.C., where they will face Florida State in the opening round on Friday. Auburn gave No. 11 Florida all could handle before falling 2-1 to the Gators, who have won six consecutive league titles.

Senior Megan Stamm said before the season started the Tigers sat down at Provino's and set team goals. She admits the NCAA Tournament was a bit far-fetched, but a goal the team definitely wanted to achieve.

Auburn did just that and has set new standards for a program that is on a much faster rise than even Richter had imagined. "It's a little overwhelming," she added. "I didn't think it would happen this fast. Obviously this is what we wanted to do, but I didn't think it would happen this fast."

Stamm said making the NCAA Tournament is a perfect way to end her career which started out with back-to-back losing seasons before the Tigers went 13-7 last season. The Tigers drew a tough bracket with Florida State in the first round and if Auburn wins they will play the winner of the Clemson-Kentucky match, teams both ranked in the top 25. "We've been doing so well this season," Stamm added. "We've been able to achieve more than we could ever possibly imagine, so I think we'll be all right."

Richter, who is familiar with Florida State from her days as the head coach at Central Florida, admits the Tigers will have an up-hill battle to get past the first weekend of play. "It's a tough bracket," Richter added. "I think it's one of the tougher groups of four overall. Two top SEC teams and two top ACC teams, that's a tough bracket all the way around. Florida State is going to be a difficult opponent. I'm excited about the opportunity to play them."

Auburn has already played Clemson and Kentucky this season. The Tigers tied Clemson in a preseason match and lost to the Wildcats 3-1.

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