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No. 1 seed UCLA women’s soccer to face Lumberjacks in 1st round of NCAA tournament

Graduate student goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy kicks the ball away from the goal box. Brzycky has 49 saves across 19 games this season.(Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)

By Shane Smith

Nov. 8, 2022 3:49 p.m.

After spending most of the season as the top-ranked team in the country, the Bruins have secured their first No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament bracket since 2014.

No. 1 seed UCLA earned an at-large bid as the top seed in its quadrant of the bracket during the women’s soccer selection show Monday. The blue and gold will commence postseason play against Northern Arizona in the first round at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Friday.

The program’s loss to USC in its final game of the regular season cost them the Pac-12 championship and automatic bid that goes alongside a conference title, but the Bruins were still selected by the committee to be a No. 1 seed. Defending national champion Florida State and fellow at-large conference runners-up Notre Dame and Alabama round out the list of top seeds in each quadrant of the bracket.

Graduate student forward Ally Cook, who transferred from Oregon this season, said she is eager to play in her first NCAA tournament after falling short of a bid in her three seasons with the Ducks.

“It’s super exciting for me,” Cook said. “I’ve been like, ‘Wow, I’m playing soccer the second week of November.’ That’s never been the case. There is a little bit more of a sense of maybe passion or excitement in practices. … It’s just a little bit different.”

UCLA’s quadrant of the bracket features Big Ten champions No. 2 Penn State, No. 3 seed Virginia and No. 4 seed Northwestern.

Fellow Pac-12 teams earned four additional bids in the tournament draw Monday, with one automatic bid going to the conference champion and No. 3 seed Stanford and at-large bids extended to No. 4 seed USC, Arizona State and California.

In the first round, UCLA drew Northern Arizona, which has won nine consecutive games entering the tournament after starting its season 10-5-4.

For the first time in program history, the Lumberjacks were crowned Big Sky regular season and tournament champions. The two programs will face one another for the first time ever Friday.

Graduate student defender Madelyn Desiano echoed Cook’s sentiments about how the tournament brings the most out of a team.

“I think there is a higher level of intensity in the air,” Desiano said. “Knowing that it’s do or die, knowing that there’s overtime and penalty kicks on the line.”

If they are victorious in the matchup Friday, the Bruins will face either No. 8 seed North Carolina State or at-large bid UCF in the second round.

The Bruins and Lumberjacks will kick off from Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Friday at 6 p.m.

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Shane Smith | Sports contributor
Smith is currently a contributor on the beach volleyball beat. He was previously a contributor on the men's soccer beat.
Smith is currently a contributor on the beach volleyball beat. He was previously a contributor on the men's soccer beat.
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