UCLA was seeded eighth, but UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount were left in disbelief when the 48-team NCAA Division I men's soccer tournament bracket was released Monday afternoon.
The ninth-ranked Bruins (14-4-1), runners-up in the Pac-10, will be home Sunday at 5 p.m. against West Coast Conference co-champion Santa Clara (10-5-5) or Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament titlist Sacramento State (10-4-7), who meet Thursday in Sacramento.
Big West Conference tournament champion UC Santa Barbara (13-4-3), which will play host to the Dec. 10-12 College Cup final four, will be home Thursday against Denver (9-6-4), with the winner playing at Pac-10 champ California (12-2-3) on Sunday.
Loyola Marymount (12-6-2), which won a share of the WCC title but lost the automatic berth to Santa Clara when it lost Sunday on a late goal to San Francisco, isn't in the field.
More shocking is the omission of Big West Conference regular-season champion UC Irvine (14-3-3), which was ranked 10th in last week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. The Anteaters will surely drop in this week's rankings, which come out Tuesday, after losing to Cal State Fullerton in the Big West tournament semifinals.
UCLA is making its 28th successive NCAA tournament appearance. The Bruins have won four Division I titles -- in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002 -- and reached the final four 12 times, most recently in 2006, when they lost to UC Santa Barbara in the title game.
“We're excited to be a Top 8 seed and to be playing at home, and it's a credit to the guys and their body of work throughout the season,” UCLA coach Jorge Salcedo (Cerritos/Cerritos HS and UCLA), a former Galaxy midfielder who has a talented, freshman-heavy roster, said on the school's website. “They earned the No. 8 seed, and kudos to them on such a good job this year.”
ANTEATERS HOME: Washington's penalty-kicks shocker over second-ranked Portland in an NCAA Division I women's second-round game has paid off for UC Irvine. The 16th-ranked Anteaters will be home against the Huskies in a Sweet 16 encounter Saturday. The game begins at 6 p.m.
NAIA TWINBILLS: Azusa Pacific (Azusa) and Cal Baptist (Riverside) will stage doubleheaders for their NAIA tournament first-rounders Saturday, with the first (women's) games at 11 a.m. The women's team at The Master's (Santa Clarita) also will be home Saturday. A full schedule is below.
OTHER COMPETITIONS: Fullerton's Hope International (9-9-1) will be the West Region rep at the Dec. 1-4 National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association Division I men's tournament in Kissimmee, Fla. … UCLA's men's and women's club teams will compete in the championship divisions at this weekend's NIRSA tournanents in Phoenix.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
NCAA Division I Men: Denver (9-6-4) at UC Santa Barbara (13-4-3), Harder Stadium (Santa Barbara), 7 p.m.
NCAA Division III Women: Redlands (12-9-0) at Hardin-Simmons (21-0-0), Abilene, Texas, 9 a.m.
NCAA Division I Women: UCLA (13-7-2) at Stanford (20-0-2), Stanford, Calif., 7 p.m.
NAIA Women: William Jessup (11-4-3) at Azusa Pacific, Cougar Soccer Complex (Azusa), 11 a.m.
NAIA Women: Northwood, Texas (15-3-1) at Cal Baptist (13-5-2), CBU Soccer Field (Riverside), 11 a.m.
NAIA Women: Maine-Fort Kent (19-2-0) at The Master's (16-2-2), Reese Field (Santa Clarita), 1 p.m.
NAIA Men: Holy Names (11-5-2) at Cal Baptist (15-4-0), CBU Soccer Field (Riverside), 1:30 p.m.
NCAA Division I Men: UC Santa Barbara/Denver at California (12-2-3), Berkeley, Calif., 1:30 p.m.
NAIA Men: Vanguard (13-7-0) at Azusa Pacific (16-4-1), Cougar Soccer Complex (Azusa), 2 p.m.
NCAA Division I Women: Washington (12-8-2) at UC Irvine (19-2-2), Anteater Field (Irvine), 6 p.m.
NCAA Division I Men: Santa Clara (10-5-5) or Sacramento State (10-4-7) at UCLA (14-4-1), Drake Stadium (Westwood), 5 p.m.