Penn State Soccer

Penn State women’s soccer: Nittany Lions earn No. 2 seed for NCAA Tournament

CDT Photo

The Penn State women’s soccer team got a nice reward for a strong season Monday.

The Nittany Lions landed a No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament and will face Buffalo in the first round.

With the whole team gathered to watch the bracket announcement at Rotelli Restaurant, the Nittany Lions were overjoyed at the road that was laid out for them.

The Big Ten’s regular-season champions (17-3) will host the Mid-American Conference champion Bulls (16-2-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jeffrey Field.

“Hosting a postseason game at Jeffrey Field is what these guys dream of,” coach Erica Walsh said. “When they sit in the stands as a recruit and they dream of playing on Jeffrey Field, this is a dream coming to reality. This is everything that they’ve worked for, and I’m thrilled that this team has garnered such respect on a national level.”

Penn State won 13 of its last 14 games of the regular season before falling in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament 1-0 to Northwestern. The Lions have outscored opponents 46-14 this season with eight shutouts.

“The team has worked for this opportunity,” Walsh said. “I’d love to see them rewarded for all of their hard work.”

Buffalo will be making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, beating Western Michigan 1-0 in the MAC title game for its 16th shutout of the season. The Bulls also are on a 14-game unbeaten streak.

Penn State will be making its 20th NCAA tournament appearance, and marking the eighth time it has been a top-four seed. The Nittany Lions lost in the second round of last year’s tournament to Wake Forest, and two years ago as a No. 1 seed they made it all the way to the NCAA championship match.

The winner between the Nittany Lions and Bulls will face either Connecticut or New Hampshire in the second round Nov. 21. Penn State is in the same quarter of the draw with No. 3 seed West Virginia as well as No. 1 Texas A&M and No. 4 Notre Dame.

Stanford, UCLA and Florida State are the other No. 1 seeds.

The College Cup semifinals and finals are set for Dec. 5-7 in Boca Raton, Fla.