The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Women’s Soccer earns at-large NCAA tourney bid

Tara Mendoza walked into Carnesecca Arena’s lobby Monday night with certainty that the St. John’s women’s soccer team was going to be selected in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament.

“I was really confident,” the senior defender said. “I wasn’t too nervous. I really, really had a strong feeling that we were going to make it.”

She didn’t leave disappointed.
The Red Storm received one of the 34 out-large bids, the first in the
program’s 27-year history. They are slated to take on Virginia on Nov. 13 at Penn State, University Park. A time has yet to be announced. If they advance, they will face the winner of No. 4-seeded Penn State or Colgate.

“My first emotion [was] like I was
almost going to cry of happiness,”
Mendoza said. “I was so excited because I know how hard we worked and we finally did it. It feels amazing.”

The closest St. John’s has gotten to an NCAA Tournament was in 1994, when the team went 14-4-1 and won the Big East Tournament. Back then, however, there weren’t any automatic bids granted to conference winners.

“I’m really happy, but I’m really happy for this group of girls, too,” Head Coach Ian Stone said. “They really deserve it. Obviously with all of theseniors who had this as their goal and to see them earn it their senior year, it’s terrific.”

Virginia finished with a 9-5-5
record, losing to the No. 2-seeded Boston
College on penalty kicks in the
quarterfinal of the ACC Tournament 0-0 (3-2). During the season, the Cavaliers staged an upset against No. 1-seeded Florida State.

St. John’s has never faced the ACC school before.

“They are an excellent team,” Stone said.

“What I like about it is they are one of the teams I respect in terms of their style of play. There is so much ugly soccer going on out there. And obviously we try to possess the ball and Virginia does the same thing. It’ll be a great spectacle for people who are going to watch it.”

Because the team is newly acquainted with the NCAA’s, it will lean on the experience of senior C.J. Ludemann.

Ludemann, a transfer from Duke, played in two NCAA’s during her daysas a Blue Devil.

During her freshman year, Ludemann’s Blue Devils lost to Tennessee in the Tournament’s second round.

The following year, the team went as far the Elite Eight before losing to Notre Dame 3-2.

“This is my third time now in and it gets better every time,” Ludemann said. “The tournament is the best part of the year; it’s like Christmas to me.”

During her tenure at Duke, Ludemann battled against Virginia twice, her team losing both contests.

The midfielder, who leads the team in points, is very familiar with the Cavaliers.

“I know probably every single
player on that team,” Ludemann said. “And it’s going to be a great game. They are one of the teams that I look at as one of the best teams in the country. No
matter what their record is, they are a phenomenal team. They play great
soccer; they have great individual
soccer players. I feel it’s the
toughest game in our bracket. If we win
that game, we’re going to go far.”

Although this is the Red Storm’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the team will not be content with a first-round exit.

“I think when it comes down to it, you see the personality and character of your team. These kids are such competitors,” Stone said. “They wouldn’t be happy with just getting to the first round.”

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