The women’s soccer team (12-3, 7-0 Ivy) will host St. John’s University (12-6-2, 6-3-1 Big East) in the first round of the NCAA tournament Nov. 13. The Bears secured a spot in the tournament after beating Penn to clinch the Ivy title Oct. 30.
The Bears, coming off a 3-2 win at Yale Saturday that completed a 7-0 record in Ivy League play, will face a St. John’s team that finished fourth in the Big East regular season standings and narrowly lost to Georgetown University in the conference title game Sunday. The Red Storm also led the Big East in goals per game.
“I’m excited about the draw,” said Brown Head Coach Kia McNeill. “St. John’s is a good team, they have good attacking players … but I’m just excited to play someone new. ”
“They're definitely a team with talent that is capable of beating good teams, but so are we,” goalkeeper Kayla Thompson ’21.5 wrote in an email to The Herald.
McNeill believes that the home field advantage in hosting St. John’s at Stevenson-Pincince Field will be crucial. “We call our field the house of horrors, because it’s such a difficult place for (visiting teams) to play,” she said, adding that Brown is undefeated at home in the past two seasons.
Brown will be joined in the 64-team bracket by Harvard and Princeton, meaning three Ivy League teams will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004.
“We can take a lot of confidence from what we’ve been able to do in a very tough Ivy League,” McNeill said.
The team plans to apply the same mindset to NCAA play that they did to conference play. “Kia always talks about the Ivy League play as a seven-game tournament, and we approached it that way, one game at a time,” Thompson wrote. “We'll take that same approach to the six-game tournament that (lies) in front of us now.”
Forward and midfielder Sheyenne Allen ’23 said the Bears have additional motivation heading into the tournament after losing in the second round to Florida State University in 2019 before their 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19. “We want to do better than 2019,” she said. “We’re going to have a lot of urgency to get far into the tournament.”
Should the Bears advance, they would face the winner of the matchup between Auburn University and Samford University.
“The ceiling for this team is a national championship,” Thompson said.
“This is a special group,” McNeill added. “I think the results will show that.”