The Loyola women’s soccer team will open its second consecutive NCAA tournament against Hofstra University Nov. 16 at 12 p.m. CST in Hempstead, New York. After beating Illinois State University 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament championship Nov. 10, the Ramblers received the conference’s automatic bid to the big dance.
The NCAA Division I women’s soccer championship has 64 teams and determines the best school in the country.
Loyola is currently on a 12-game winning streak heading into the first round of the tournament after going 14-4-1 overall and 7-0-0 in conference play. Last year, the Ramblers lost to Florida State University 1-0 in the first round of the tournament. The Seminoles ended up winning the championship title.
“This year we’re a bit more confident because we’ve been in this position before,” senior defender Ari Banks said. “So, we know what’s coming.”
This will be the first ever matchup between Hofstra and Loyola. The Pride are ranked No. 16 in the Division I women’s soccer rating percentage index (RPI), while the Ramblers are ranked No. 56. The RPI is a system that ranks all 353 Division I teams based on wins, loses and strength of schedule.
The Pride — a member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) — come into the match 15-3-2 overall and 7-0-2 in conference play. Hofstra has gone unbeaten in its last 15 games and hasn’t lost at home this season.
Last year, the Pride advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They beat James Madison University 5-1 to secure a third-straight CAA Tournament Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
“One thing we’ve done really well as group all year is play our game,” Loyola head coach Barry Bimbi said. “No matter whether it was home or away, so I think if we stick to what we do well and make them adjust to what we do well, I think we’ll be okay.”
The winner of the game will advance to play the winner of No. 1 seed Stanford versus Prairie View University.