The NCAA.com selection ceremony made UC Irvine wait until the last bracket, but the Lady Anteaters have officially received an at-large bid for the 2011 NCAA Tournament. They will host the University of San Diego Toreros in the first round, a team that they beat 3-2 on Sept. 25 in the regular season. Freshman Cami Privett was the star of that game, scoring two goals.

Assuming a victorious first round result, UCI will very likely face UCLA in the second round. It’s always an intense match-up whenever the Anteaters face-off against the Bruins, regardless of the sport. In addition, UCI star Natalia Ledezma would battle her former teammates as an extra subplot to the drama.

I personally like the regional battles as a golden opportunity to show-off UCI as the gold standard of Southern California women’s soccer. There doesn’t seem to be as much hype surrounding this year’s team (although maybe that’s just because Julie Foudy talked about UCI during last year’s selection show), and they won’t be able to sneak up on anyone after their run last year, but I am still optimistic. A tough, deja vu loss to Long Beach State during the Big West Tournament finals aside, this team seems to be rolling on all cylinders once again. Congrats to Coach Juniper and co. for their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance!

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