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The Redhawks head to Columbia, Mo., this Friday night to face Missouri in an NCAA Tournament first round contest (Photo Courtesy of Fred Lynch of the Southeast Missourian)
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Soccer Gets NCAA First Round Dance Card at Missouri

Nov. 12, 2007

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Just a day removed from winning its second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship, Southeast Missouri State soccer found out Monday night that it will stay in the state of Missouri for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.

Southeast heads to Columbia, Mo., for a Friday night showdown against Big 12 competitor Missouri at Walton Stadium with the start time at 7 p.m. In the first match, eighth-ranked and second-seeded Southern California takes on Missouri Valley Conference champion Creighton starting at 4 p.m.

"I think Mizzou will be very good for us because I'm hoping that we will be in somewhat of a comfort zone. Our girls will have some high school and club rivals on the Tigers and we should also have a good fan base there, said ninth-year head coach Heather Nelson. "It's an idea distance for all our St. Louis fans and fans from the Kansas City are. If we had to play the NCAA Tournament in the Midwest, then Missouri is the best place for us to be sent."

The Redhawks claimed the OVC Championship and NCAA Tournament berth Sunday afternoon after battling Samford to a 1-1 draw before capturing a 5-3 winning margin on penalty kicks at Houck Stadium. Freshman forward Ashley Runion (St. Peters, MO/Ft. Zumwalt South) scored two goals over the weekend to earn tournament MVP honors. She was joined on the all-tournament team by seniors Alaina Lacopo (Troy, IL/Triad) and Lindsay Pickering (St. Charles, MO/St. Charles West) in addition to fellow freshman Vanessa Hart (Dubbo, NSW Australia/Dubbo SC). Southeast is currently rated 14th in this week's Central Region poll by Soccer Buzz Magazine.

Missouri (13-7) earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament after producing a 6-4 ledger in the Big 12 for a third-place finish before advancing to the semifinals of last weekend's Big 12 Tournament where it dropped a 2-1 decision to seventh-ranked Texas A&M. The third-place finish tied a team record for the best conference showing in program history.

"We are really excited about returning to the NCAA Tournament and playing at Missouri makes it even better. We had a lot of great experiences throughout the season and we will have some good practices this week so we`ll be ready to play on Friday," said Lacopo, who is one of seven seniors on the Redhawks this season.

Please check back to later this week for more information on this weekend's NCAA Tournament match between Southeast and Missouri.


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