AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) – Following a tough loss in the SEC semifinals last week, Auburn Women’s Soccer earned No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament selection on Monday. The Tigers will start the first round of the tournament hosting in state opponent, Samford, Friday at 5 p.m. in the Auburn Soccer Complex.
"Ever since (last year's) selection show this team has been on a mission," head coach Karen Hoppa said. "I'm so proud to see our name come up with a number by it, meaning we're one of the top 16 seeds. I'm really proud of this team and what they've accomplished during the regular season."
Auburn claimed a spot in the top 16 with a season record of 12-6-1 overall and 5-4-1 in SEC play. The Tigers’ appearance in the SEC tournament was the first since 2016, and they are one of seven conference teams to qualify for the big dance.
"Our norm is being in the NCAA (Tournament), and these past couple of years we haven't really been achieving our goals," senior midfielder and forward, Hailey Whitaker said. "We made it a goal at the beginning of this season that this is what we wanted to achieve, so it's really exciting to be seeded that high this year."
The all-time record in the SEC tournament for the Tigers is 13-6-0, and 6-3-0 in tournament games played at home. Samford has an overall record of 15-3-2 and went 9-0-0 in Southern Conference play. This will be the sixth appearance in the tournament for the Bulldogs and second appearance in the last three seasons.
The Tigers-Bulldog matchup will be the 17th all-time meeting, but this will be the first in an NCAA Tournament.
"They're a pretty physical team," SEC Defender of the Year Alyssa Malonson said of Samford. "They're probably going to come out with everything they have. I wouldn't expect anything less. I'm excited."