Monday, November 8, 2010

A Very Good Day for the UAA

Waiting for the NCAA tournament field at Washington University.
The NCAA announced tournament selections Monday in men's and women's soccer and volleyball, and once again the University Athletic Association came out very well.

Five of eight women's soccer teams  made the D3 field of 64, a record for the conference. The teams are Chicago (conference champion), Emory, Washington, Rochester and Brandeis.

In men's soccer, four UAA teams made the field, including conference champion NYU and Emory, Washington, and Rochester.

In volleyball, another record for the UAA, as five teams were selected: UAA champ Emory, defending national champion Washington, NYU, Chicago and Case Western Reserve. The bids are the first ever for Chicago and Case Western Reserve. It shows how far the conference has come after the recent dominance of Emory, Washington and NYU.

In St. Louis this morning, Washington's women's soccer team showed up early at the athletics complex to watch the scheduled webcast, but they ended up having to wait and wait and wait.
The Bears, who finished second nationally last year,  were on the bubble.
The team, coaches and Athletics Director John Schael gathered in the lobby of the athletics complex for what was supposed to be an 8 am CST live webcast. After waiting a half hour, they were informed that the webcast was canceled and that the field would be released at 9, St. Louis time. They filled the time studying, joking, braiding hair, drinking orange juice and chocolate milk and eating bagels and muffins provided by the athletics department.
No one seemed surprised that the announcement was delayed.

When the field was finally announced, just after 9, I could hear their cheers all the way from the basement office of women's basketball coach Nancy Fahey, whom I was interviewing. (Her team won the national championship last year and in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. They reached the Final Four in four other seasons, and nine trophies crowd the top of a cabinet on the wall behind her desk.)

Now it's time for the Wash U women's team to schedule practices and make travel plans, something every UAA team is used to.

The volleyball team, ranked No. 1 nationally for much of the season, knew they would make the tournament and would have to travel for the regionals because they are hosting the national championship meet this year.

And the men's soccer team earned a bye and will play at home, at least for the first round.

It will make for a busy weekend around the UAA, with seven of eight schools competing in regional tournaments.

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