On Monday, the 2023 NCAA women’s soccer tournament brackets will be released, with Pitt women’s soccer team potentially looking at earning a Top 16 seed (top four seed in a regional bracket), after completing a strong regular season campaign plus adding an impressive first-ever road win at North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, before losing 2-0, to No. 1 Florida State in the semifinal.
Pittsburgh Soccer Now will have reaction from Oakland, where we’ll connect with Head Coach Randy Waldrum and the players after the announcement.
The first round of the tournament is set to start on Friday, Nov. 10 across multiple locations, while the championship game will be Monday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. ET in Cary, NC.
While there are 31 teams who have already qualified through winning Conference tournaments (or regular season titles), an additional 33 teams earn at-large bids as to be determined by the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Committee. The complete 64-team field will be released at 4 p.m. ET today (Monday, Nov. 6), during a selection show on NCAA.com.
The Panthers (14-5-1 overall) should be looking at hosting at least one home NCAA tournament match at Ambrose Urbanic Field, and potentially earning a top 16 seeding.
In matches through October 18, the last NCAA committee’s projected top 16 did not include the Panthers, but their strong late season push, which included a pair of close losses to Florida State (they lost 3-2 in a back-and-forth regular season match in Tallahassee) and three days later on the road at No. 8 Clemson (1-0), but winning its regular season finale vs Virginia Tech, then knocking off then No. 3 North Carolina in the ACC tournament may have actually helped their standing slightly.
On Sunday, the two teams in the ACC that have defeated Pitt, Florida State and Clemson played in the ACC Championship game, with the ‘Noles winning their fourth straight conference title, 2-1.
One of the highest scoring and attack-minded teams in the Nation (14th overall with 51 goals, 8th in assists with 55 good for 2.75 per game; 1st in corners with 8.75 per game; 9th in points per game: 3.75), and in the prestigious ACC, Pitt completed the season with an 8-0-1 record at home (6-4-0 on the road, with 0-1-0 in neutral site games).
The Panthers are sitting right on the edge to the top 16, as they currently land 18th in the RPI rankings and following its win at No. 3 North Carolina, earned the highest ranking in the United Soccer Coaches poll, at No. 11 when the last poll was released October 30.
Junior forward Sarah Schupansky placed on the All-ACC First Team, the first Panther to ever do so, fifth year forward Amanda West made the Second Team, while fifth year midfielder Landy Mertz and junior forward Samiah Phiri made the Third Team. First-year midfielder Deborah Abiodun made both the All-ACC Third Team and Freshman Team.
Schupansky leads Pitt women’s soccer with 10 goals, 10 assists and 30 points, all career highs for her. Her best games this season, statistically, saw her score a goal and contribute three assists, a season-high, in a 6-0 victory over Syracuse on the road Oct. 14, as well as her two goals and an assist in the 5-1 win over Bowling Green at home on Sept. 4.
She ranks in top-10 in the ACC for her 0.53 assists and per game, game-winning goals with three, .500 shot accuracy, 1.58 points per game, 2.95 shots per game and 1.47 shots on goal per game. She leads the ACC in assists and total points, while ranking second with 10 goals
“I think it’s a hard place for teams to play,” Waldrum said of the Panthers hosting an NCAA Tournament match at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
“Our fans are great with the support we get. Our players love playing here obviously and home-field advantage has been huge. We need to go kind of impose that on the road.”
The Panthers did that in the ACC tournament, going to North Carolina, and earning yet another milestone win for the program, beating Anson Dorrance and the Tar Heels on their own (and in the case of Dorrance) his own field.
Waldrum is preparing his team to again, be ready to have success on the road as they have ambitions to make it all the way to Roanoke for the College Cup.
“In the NCAAs we know that at least after that First Round, we’re probably going to have to hit the road again like we did last year,” Waldrum said.
“It’s time to be able to win some games on the road too.”
NCAA Women’s Division Soccer Tournament Facts and Schedule
The 2023 DI women’s soccer NCAA tournament is approaching, but the suspense of selection Monday has been lifted for these 31 automatic qualifiers (AQ), hailing from each of the 31 conferences that participate in Division I.
29 of these berths were earned by winning the conference tournament, while the remaining two were claimed by the PAC-12 and West Coast Conference regular-season champions (decided by conference standings).
Among the 29, the Ivy League conference held its first-ever conference tournament.
First Round | November 10, 11, or 12, 2023
Thirty-two single-elimination first-round games will be conducted at non-predetermined campus sites. The winning team from each game will advance to the second round.
Second and Third Rounds | November 17 and 19, 2023
Second and third rounds will be conducted at eight non-predetermined campus sites. At each campus site, four teams will compete in a single-elimination second-round competition. The two winning teams will then compete against each other in a single-elimination third-round competition at the same campus site. The winning team from each of the eight third rounds advanced to the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals | November 24 or 25, 2023
Four single-elimination quarterfinals games will be conducted at non-predetermined campus sites. The winning team from each of the four quarterfinals will advance to the championship final site.
Women’s College Cup | December 1 and 4, 2023
The 2023 NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. Two single-elimination semifinal games will be held on Friday, December 1, 2023. The two teams winning in the semifinals will advance and compete in the single-elimination national championship game, which will take place on Monday, December 4, 2023.