Soccer Team Waits for Call, NCAA Bid

For once, the Ute soccer team was cheering for BYU to win last weekend in Las Vegas. BYU played UNLV for the championship at the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

The Utes needed BYU to win in order for to have a legitimate shot at the NCAA Tournament.

They got their wish.

BYU edged UNLV 2-1 last Saturday night. That means Utah can still make the NCAA Tournament. BYU is has an automatic berth by winning the MWC Tournament. The NCAA will probably take two teams from the Mountain West.

This means the only thing Utah can do is wait and hope for the call.

“We’re just trying to figure out when the call is [coming], and hopefully we get the call to go somewhere next weekend,” said Ute head coach Amy Winslow.

One thing that will help Utah is their strength of schedule. They played several high powered teams this year. When Utah beat Arizona State on Sept. 7, it gave the Utes national notoriety. They may have to ride that win.

BYU is now ranked eighth in the NSCAA Rankings, which ultimately makes Utah look better.

Another thing helping Utah is the fact the field in the NCAA Tournament has been upped from 48 teams to 64 teams this year. Adding 16 teams to the “dance” will give the Utes a much better chance of getting in.

However, what hurts Utah is the Sept. 11 attacks. The tragedy forced the cancellation of two crucial games against Marquette and Montana. Marquette is another nationally recognized program. With how well the Utes have played at home this year, going 7-0 at Ute Field, wins against both Marquette and Montana would have been likely. Adding two wins to the Utes now 11-7 record would make them 13-7, and much more likely not to be overlooked.

But hopes are still high for the Utes, as they await the announcement of the 64 teams today. They are having a team meeting and will be watching the announcement via satellite television.

“At this point, it’s hard to tell,” said assistant coach Jim Winslow. “I think we deserve it. I don’t have any doubt that we’re one of the top 64 teams in the nation.”