BUIES CREEK, N.C. — The Southeastern Louisiana women’s soccer team will make their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2015 Tuesday night at 6 p.m. (CDT) when they take on 22nd-ranked Rutgers in the first round of the 2020 NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament.
The Lady Lions (8-2-4) enter Tuesday’s contest on an 11-match unbeaten streak (7-0-4), the longest in the history of the program. The Southland Tournament champions have allowed just one goal in the last eight matches outscoring opponents 14-1 during the eight-game stretch.
SLU will look to ride the hot hand of goalkeeper Nadine Maher. The Southland Conference Tournament MVP was named United Soccer Coaches National Player of the week after three straight shutouts in the conference tournament.
“Nadine has been the epitome of a leader,” said fourth-year SLU head coach Chris McBride. “She plays well, leads by example and her teammates look up to her. She sets a tone on and off the field that you can’t find everywhere. She’s the type that if a teammate needs a trip to the store or needs a friend to talk to, she’s there for each player on this team and I can’t possibly be prouder of the player and person she is.”
Rutgers (8-3-3, 6-2-3 Big 10) is making their ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance Tuesday. The Scarlet Knights, under seventh-year head coach Mike O’Neill, are loaded with talent featuring seven All-Big 10 selections including Amirah Ali.
Ali, a senior forward, was named first team All-Big 10 after leading Rutgers with six goals. She enters the match against the Lady Lions on the Herman Trophy Watch List. The award is given to the United Soccer Coaches National Player of the Year.
“Our athletes have the opportunity to play against some of the best players in the nation,” said McBride. We get to go out and represent our school and the conference and compete against a team the caliber of Rutgers and player the caliber of Ali. We couldn’t be more excited about this.”
Tuesday marks the first ever meeting between the Lady Lions and Scarlet Knights. But statistically the two teams matchup well as SLU has scored 21 goals for the season allowing nine. Rutgers has scored 16 while allowing 10 with seven shutouts to their resume.
Both teams have also seen a lot of overtime this season. Southeastern has played seven matches that saw extra time with a 2-1-4 record. Rutgers has played in five overtime matches (1-1-3).
“We have been a very resilient all year long,” said McBride. “We’ve done a good job of staying poised and sticking to the game plan in overtimes and I think that’s help prepare us for the postseason.
Tuesday’s match will culminate a season full of achievements for the Lady Lions. SLU had five players named to the All-Southland Conference team, three Southland Player of the Week awards, the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year (Makenzie Maher), the Southland Freshman of the Year (Emma Jones) and McBride and the Southland Coach of the Year and Maher’s National Player of the Week Honor.
“It’s going to be a proud moment once this game starts,” said McBride. “What the players on this team have given to the program and accomplished to this point, everything this team has done to represent the school this year, will come to the table on the national stage Tuesday night. It’s something that will make me proud no matter the outcome of this game.”
Fans can follow Tuesday’s match as the game will be broadcast on ESPN3. Live video and stat links are available at the Southeastern Soccer schedule page at LionSports.Net.
SCORE ONE MORE CLUB/S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the women’s soccer program are encouraged to join the Score One More Club. Lion alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners. All membership fees and donations to Score One More Club are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern soccer program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at email@example.com or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
For more information on Southeastern Soccer, follow @LionUpSoccer and @chrismcbride88 on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.
For ticket information, please contact the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or visit www.LionSports.net/tickets. Southeastern is implementing mobile ticketing as the primary source for securing tickets for the 2020-21 season. All tickets will be available via e-mail in a PDF format for fans to download on their phone or print at home. Tickets can also be downloaded to Apple Wallet.