Arizona State soccer has made its first NCAA Tournament since 2014 and first under head coach Graham Winkworth. The Sun Devils finished sixth in the Pac-12 standings behind an 8-5-2 record.
“I’m super delighted for the players,” Winkworth told Sun Devil Athletics. “The amount of hard work that every player, member of staff, assistant coaches, the administration, the support staff is outstanding. The amount of people and the amount of hard work that has gone into the last 18 months to make today possible is incredible. I’m super thankful to everyone that has touched our program over the last 18 months.”
The Sun Devils had their best season under Winkworth, headlined by wins over USC, UCLA and Stanford. However, Arizona State had lost its last three games of the regular season and its RPI had fallen to 68 before the selection show on Monday.
Nevertheless, Winkworth was confident that his team would be picked despite this year’s spring tournament only having 19 at-large bids.
Arizona State was the lone team to defeat UCLA, the third-seed in the bracket, and also beat the tournament’s eight-seed, USC.
The Sun Devils went undefeated against the top-four teams in the conference standings with a win against Stanford and a draw against Washington. That resume appears to be the main reason that ASU got in.
Arizona State will face Siena, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions, in the first round on April 28 at 9 a.m. MST.
The winner of that match will play the No. 9 seed, Duke, who will have a first-round bye. Every game of the tournament will be played in North Carolina in a bubble type of event.