The St. Thomas women’s soccer team will host Loras (Iowa) College at 1 p.m. this afternoon in first-round action of the 45-team NCAA Division III playoffs.

The match will be held on the south campus field on the St. Paul campus, just southwest of the intersection of Grand and Cretin avenues. Tickets are $4 for adults, $2 for students and $1 for children 12 and under.

Loras, unranked at 16-4-2, is making its first NCAA soccer appearance after winning its first Iowa Conference championship. The Duhawks tied for third in the IIAC but went 3-0 in the six-team post-season tourney to get the automatic berth into the NCAA field. The Duhawks, 10-9-1 in their last 11 matches, didn’t play any MIAC teams this season.

Today’s winner plays Friday and Saturday in the regional semifinals and finals hosted by Wheaton (Ill.) College. The UST-Loras winner plays at 7:30 p.m. vs. No. 7-ranked Wheaton, which is 16-2 and has a first-round bye. No. 9-ranked University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point had a bye and plays the Webster-Edgewood winner in Friday’s 5 p.m. regional semifinal. Friday’s winners play at 5 p.m. Saturday, and that winner goes on to the final eight.

The Tommies, 15-2-1 and ranked 19th nationally, scored a pair of 4-0 victories last week over Augsburg and Concordia-Moorhead to secure the MIAC automatic berth into the playoff field. UST tied Macalester for the conference crown at 10-1 but won the tie-breaker based on a 1-0 overtime victory over the Scots in September. This is the Tommies’ third NCAA playoff berth in five seasons and the first under third-year head coach Colleen Carey. The Tommies recorded 11 shutouts this season, and sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Christopherson is 15-1-1 with a 0.5 goals-against average.



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