Nov. 7, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS - The Oakland women's soccer team (10-10-1) will face Wake Forest (14-3-4) in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, as announced during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday. The two teams will play on Friday at 7 p.m. at the W. Dennie Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"With the new format, the NCAA has decided to move teams around the country," said Oakland head coach Nick O'Shea. "We are going to have to spend some time quickly taking a look at Wake Forest. I am sure the players are excited about traveling to North Carolina and we are all looking forward to the game."
Oakland earned an automatic qualification into this year's NCAA Tournament by winning The Summit League Championship. The Golden Grizzlies defeated North Dakota State 2-1 in the championship match hosted at the OU Soccer Field. As the first No. 4 seed ever to win The Summit League Championship, the Golden Grizzlies also had to overcome regular-season champions South Dakota State 1-0 in the semifinals. OU finished 6-2-1 in Summit League matches this season.
Wake Forest earned its first-ever No. 1 seed at the NCAA Tournament, after finishing as runner-up in the ACC Tournament and receiving an NCAA at-large bid. The Demon Deacons fell just shy of defending their 2010 Tournament title, losing the championship match to Florida State in a shootout. WFU entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed, after posting a 5-2-3 record in ACC play.
"Wake Forest is a very strong program, consistently doing well in the ACC, which has nine tournament teams this year," said O'Shea. "We are really going to have to get up for the challenge of playing a very good team."
Oakland found its stride late in the season and is currently in the midst of a six-match unbeaten streak. During the recent run of form, OU has outscored opponents 20-4 with three matches ending in shutouts.
Meghan Reynolds led Oakland with eight goals this season. In addition to her All-Tournament honors, she was also an All-Summit League first team selection. The Golden Grizzlies boasted eight All-Summit League selections including Julianne Boyle, Serena San Cartier and Kara Weber, who all joined Reynolds on the all-league first team, while Nicole DeLuca was a second team selection. Weber, Boyle and goalkeeper Anne Berschbach were also picked to The Summit League All-Tournament team.
Katie Stengel scored 14 goals this season and racked up 33 points, while Rachel Nzzolese added 10 goals and four assists for a potent Wake Forest offense, which netted 41 goals. Kristen Meier was the playmaker in the midfield with a team-high seven assists for the Demon Deacons. In goal Aubrey Bledsoe posted 11 shutouts this season and posted a 0.64 goals-against average. Stengal was the ACC Offensive Player of the Year and along with Bledsoe was an All-ACC first team selection.
Oakland is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament, making its sixth appearance since 2001. The Golden Grizzlies have played in three one-goal games, falling to Cincinnati (3-2), Michigan State (1-0) and Michigan (1-0), by just a single goal. OU also has familiarity with playing a No. 1- seed, having gone up against top-ranked Notre Dame in the 2006 tournament.
More information about the NCAA Tournament is available here through the official NCAA Website. For more information about the matchup between Oakland and Wake Forest, including links for Gametracker and live video, check back at OUGrizzlies.com.