Denver heads to Arizona to take on Wildcats in opening round of NCAA Tournament

Denver will face a Pac-12 program for third-consecutive time in the NCAA Tournament as the Pioneers take on Arizona in the opening round.
Denver will face a Pac-12 program for third-consecutive time in the NCAA Tournament as the Pioneers take on Arizona in the opening round.

2018 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship Bracket

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Denver women's soccer team found out it will once again open the NCAA Tournament with a Pac-12 program, but this time the Pioneers will travel to Arizona to take on the Wildcats in Friday's first round. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. CT/7 p.m. MT at Mulcahy Stadium.

After playing in-state rival Colorado in the first round of each of its last two NCAA Tournament appearances (2013 and 2017), the back-to-back #SummitWSOC Champions will play Arizona for the fourth time in program history, but first time in the postseason.

Ironically, the Wildcats (12-5-2) tied for fifth in the Pac-12 regular-season standings this season with the Buffaloes, who were left out of the field of 64.

Denver and Arizona last met in 2016 when the Wildcats defeated the Pioneers 3-0 at the Sun Devil Desert Classic in Tempe. The two teams had split their only previous two matches with Arizona winning 3-1 in Tucson in 1998 before the Pioneers took a 3-0 decision on their home field in 2001.

Denver (13-5-2) enters the tournament riding a six-match winning streak and has blanked their last five opponents, outscoring them 14-0. The NCAA Tournament bid is Denver's 11th since joining the Division I ranks in 1998 and third as a Summit League member (2013, 2017 and 2018). This past Saturday's league tournament title was the Pioneers' 10th, all under 27th-year head coach Jeff Hooker. The Pioneers, one of 64 teams nationwide in the tournament, earned The Summit League's automatic bid after claiming the conference tournament title with a 4-0 shutout of Omaha. 

The winner of the first-round contest will advance to face either top seed in the region Tennessee or Louisville in the second round, held Friday, Nov. 16.  That round, along with the third round (Nov. 18) and quarterfinals (Nov. 23 or 24) will be held at to-be-determined campus sites before the Women's College Cup semifinals and National Championship, Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, respectively, are played in Cary, N.C.

#SUMMITWSOC