St. Thomas Women's Soccer is among four top-25 ranked teams who will compete Friday in Wheaton (Ill.) in NCAA Sweet 16-round action.
The No. 19-ranked Tommies (17-2-3) face the host No. 6-ranked Wheaton College Thunder (18-1-2) Friday at 1 p.m., followed by a 3:30 p.m. clash between No. 17 Ohio Northern (18-2-3) and No. 15-ranked Carnegie-Mellon (13-5-1).
Friday's winners play Saturday at 5 p.m. in the national quarterfinals.
St. Thomas is coming off a pair of 1-0 victories at home to open NCAA play to eliminate 14-win Monmouth (Ill.) and 15-win Illinois Wesleyan. That ran the Purple season unbeaten streak to 15 (12-0-3), and their home-field unbeaten streak to 26 (10-0-2 this season).
Coach Sheila McGill's teams are 28-4-5 over the last three seasons in October and November games.
The 2019 Tommies are the first UST women's soccer team to reach the NCAA Sweet 16 round since 2002, and the first to open the NCAA playoffs with two wins since 1987.
The Tommies lost to Wheaton in the opening game of the 2018 season on a neutral field in Maryland, 2-0, but have built a 35-3-5 record since then. They played at Wheaton as recently as 2013, a 2-0 loss.
The Thunder, 10-0-1 at home this season, are a perennial soccer power with the fourth most NCAA playoff wins in Division III. They took an overtime loss at Washington (Mo.) in September, but are 12-0-2 since then. Wheaton reached the NCAA playoff quarterfinals in 2018 but lost 2-1 to Washington (Mo.) and closed that season 19-4-1.
There are three common opponents for Wheaton and St. Thomas: both defeated Carthage; the Toms split two one-goal decisions with Illinois Wesleyan with Wheaton had a 1-0 win; both played at No. 3-ranked Washington (Mo.) and went to overtime, with the Toms winning and the Thunder losing.