FLORENCE, Ala. -- With a Gulf South Conference championship already in hand, the University of North Alabama women's soccer team will begin its quest for an NCAA Division II National Championship on Friday (Nov. 11) when the Lions face Tampa in the opening round of the Division II South Regional in Winter Park, Fla.
UNA, 17-3 overall, claimed the first GSC women's soccer crown in the 15-year history of the program on Sunday when the Lions downed Valdosta State 5-3 in the championship game. That win earned UNA an automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Tournament. This will be the Lions third straight year to compete in the NCAA South Regional.
UNA won its initial NCAA Tournament match in 2009, downing Florida Southern 3-2 before falling to West Florida 6-1. Last year the Lions came out on the short end of a 2-1 overtime loss to Tampa on a controversial penalty kick in overtime.
Tampa brings a 13-5-2 record into the match, set for 2 p.m. Central time on Friday. The winner will face host Rollins on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Central. Rollins has a 14-2-2 overall record.
The winner of that regional semifinal will then advance to the South Region final against the winner of the other South bracket. In that bracket Florida Tech faces Lynn and the winner plays Saint Leo.
UNA ranks among the top scoring and top defensive teams in Division II. The Lions have scored 61 goals in 20 matches and allowed just 16. Junior Chloe Roberts and sophomore Jennifer Osmond lead the attack with 16 goals each, and junior Nikki Brown has added nine goals and 12 assists. Defensively, the Lions have 10 shutouts this season and have a 0.79 goals against average this season.