Happy Hoppa: Coach Excited About NCAA Bid

Auburn, Ala.--The good news overwhelmed the not so good news for Coach Karen Hoppa and her Auburn women's soccer team on Monday when the Tigers learned they will be hosts to one of 16 regional sites for the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament.

The bid makes it four years in a row Hoppa's team has received a bid from the NCAA. The chance to play at home for the first time in NCAA action brought cheers from Hoppa's players, coaching staff and around 100 people gathered at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum awaiting on the bids.

Auburn is 2-3 overall in previous NCAA Tournament matches.

On Friday at 7:30 p.m. the Tigers will take on Clemson (10-7-2) at the Auburn Soccer Complex in the second half of a doubleheader matching the University of Washington (14-4-1) and Birmingham Southern (12-73), the Big South Conference champion. Those teams will meet in the 5 p.m. game. The winners on Friday will advance to a 2 p.m. match on Sunday with the regional winner advancing to the Sweet 16.

Coach Karen Hoppa raises both fists when she learns that her team will be playing at home for the first time ever in NCAA soccer competition.

The Tigers, who went to this past weekend's conference tournament as the ninth-ranked team nationally and the SEC West champs, were expecting to be one of the 16 seeded teams, but that didn't happen after Auburn was upset by Ole Miss in the opening round of the conference tournament. Washington is the No. 15 seed nationally.

"I am a little surprised, but I am certainly pleased," Coach Karen Hoppa says of the bracket. "We couldn't be more thrilled to have our first ever NCAA match at home. Clemson is a tough draw. We are not the seeded team so Washington is favored to come out of this group."

Clemson is making its 11th straight NCAA appearance.

Auburn, which came into the conference tournament as a hot team, brings a 14-3-2 record into the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers are 0-4 all-time vs. Clemson, but have not played the ACC team since 1998.

Hoppa says to be successful this weekend her Tigers must perform the way they did prior to the SEC Tournament. "I think the big key issue for us is to play the way we played when we were successful," the coach says. "That means we need to have the ball movement to have quality chances and then when need to convert on those chances to score when we get them."

"We thought we would get one of the Top 16 seeds, but we ended on a bad note and I guess that hurt probably hurt us. We are happy to be playing at home and we will deal with the draw we are given."

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