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NCAA women's tournament

North Carolina looks to defend national crown in field of 64.

Anson Dorrance
North Carolina has won 18 NCAA Division I champiobnships and 19 overall national titles under Anson Dorrance.
-- University of North Carolina web site photo --
INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, November 12, 2007) -- Defending champion North Carolina is one of four regional No. 1 seeds for the 26th NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship tournament,

For the second year, the NCAA did not seed the overall field of 64, which was selected by the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Committee. Instead, there are four seeded teams in each of the four regions with play beginning Thursday.

The four No. 1 seeds are UNC, an automatic qualifier as Atlantic Coast Conference champion, Penn State, UCLA, which received an automatic bid as Pac-10 champ, and its conference rival Stanford.

UNC will host High Point University, the Big South Conference titlist, in a first-round match Friday. Penn State, an at-large selection from the Big Ten, will play host to Monmouth, the Northeast Conference winner, in its first match Friday. UCLA will be visited by California State-Fullerton, the automatic qualifier from the Big West.. Stanford will host Sacramento State, which won the Big Sky title to make its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.

North Carolina and Connecticut are the only two teams to be invited to every NCAA tournament since the event began in 1982.

The No. 2 seeds are Texas A&M University, Southern California, Portland and Purdue. The third-seeded schools are Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Florida State. Wake Forest, West Virginia, Virginia and Notre Dame are the No. 4 seeds.

Teams from the same conference cannot play each other in the first round. When pairing teams, the committee was restricted by geographic proximity. Sites are selected for the first and second rounds to create the least number of flights. Thirteen of the top 16 seeds will be host first- and second-round competition.

The Atlantic Coast leads all conferences with eight teams in the tournament. Six teams will represent the Southeastern Conference and five teams advanced from each the Big 12, Big Ten and Big East. Four teams enter the tournament from the Pac-10, along with three teams from the Colonial Athletic Association and West Coast Conference.

Thirty conferences were granted automatic bids, leaving 34 at-large selections.

The conferences with automatic bids and their representatives are
America East - Boston University
Atlantic 10 - Charlotte
Atlantic Coast - North Carolina
Atlantic Sun - Kennesaw State
Big 12 - Texas
Big East - West Virginia
Big Sky - Sacramento State
Big South - High Point
Big Ten - Purdue
Big West - California State-Fullerton;
Colonial - Hofstra
Conference USA - Memphis;
Horizon - Loyola-Chicago
Ivy - Pennsylvania
Metro Atlantic - Loyola (Baltimore)
Mid-American - Toledo
Missouri Valley - Creighton
Mountain West - Brigham Young
Northeast - Monmouth
Ohio Valley - Southeast Missouri State
Pacific-10 - UCLA
Patriot - Navy
Southeastern - Florida
Southern - Furman
Southland - Stephen F. Austin
Southwestern - Alabama A&M
Summit - Oakland (Mich.)
Sun Belt - Denver
West Coast - Portland
Western Athletic - Hawai'i

Eight teams are making their first appearance in the tournament -- Alabama A&M, Georgetown, Hawai'i, Kennesaw State, Louisiana State, Memphis, Monmouth and Sacramento State.

First-round matches, staged in doubleheaders, will be played Friday, except for the two contests hosted by Texas A&M Thursday. Second-round games will be played at the same sites on Friday.

Third-round games will be played November 23-25. Quarterfinal matches will be played November 30- December 2.

The semifinals (December 7) and championship match (December 9) will be played at Texas A&M.

North Carolina captured its 18th NCAA Division I championship -- and 19th overall national championship -- by defeating Notre Dame 2-1 in last year's final.

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