11 Nov Trine women’s soccer prepare for first NCAA Tournament | Newssun
ANGOLA — Sixty-three teams.
Sixty-three teams had already been called in the annual NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Selection Show this past Monday.
Two Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association teams were called.
A team Trine (15-4-2) had beaten in the semi-finals of the MIAA Women’s Soccer Tournament on penalty kicks.
The team that had beaten the Thunder twice in the season, including the tournament championship.
Then came the sixty-fourth team.
“A very nervous wait now to the very last line,” broadcaster Will Haskett said. “The last at-large belongs to…”
At that exact moment, the Thunder, who decided not to have a team viewing party but instead had players watching in smaller groups, were celebrating and jumping up and down.
“For me personally,” head coach Gary Boughton said, “I heard them read off our name Trine and I don’t know if I heard another word spoke on the broadcast after that. It was almost like I couldn’t hear anything. There was no noise happening.”
This year’s NCAA tournament appearance marks the first time the Thunder have ever made it there. The last official postseason appearance for them was in 2002 while still a member of the NAIA.
Trine will face off against Carnegie Mellon (11-5-1) in the first round at McDaniel College this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The two teams have never played before.
The Tartans advanced to the Final Four in 2019, but lost the game on penalty kicks, which prevented them from advancing to the national championship.
“We’ve done some homework on Carnegie Mellon,” Boughton said. “Between returning players who went through that experience and the success they’ve had this year and in the University Athletic Association, we’re expecting one of the toughest matchups we’ve ever faced.”
Despite acknowledging the challenging opponent in the Tartans, Boughton said his girls are excited for the opportunity and that they are just going to go out and leave everything on the field.
“It was definitely been a roller coaster over 48 hours since the game Saturday,” Boughton said. “To be one of the teams that gets one of those 20 at-large berths, which is almost unheard of for first-time participants, that’s just a testament to all the sacrifice and commitment that the girls have made this season.”
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