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USC and UCLA will both open the NCAA women’s soccer tournament at home Friday

USC and UCLA will both open the NCAA women’s soccer tournament at home Friday
UCLA's Ashley Sanchez leaps over a defender as she chases the ball earlier this season. (Percy Anderson/ UCLA Athletics)

USC and UCLA will both open the NCAA women’s soccer tournament at home Friday, with the fourth-seeded Trojans playing host to Long Beach State at 1:30 p.m. and the Bruins welcoming San Jose State to Westwood at 6.

USC (15-2-2) was ranked No. 2 in the nation in the coaches poll and fifth in RPI before last Friday’s double-overtime loss to UCLA. Long Beach State (12-5-3) earned its tournament berth by winning the Big West Tournament. The teams faced each other early in the season, with USC winning 3-0 at home.

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The Trojans, who won the national title in 2016, are making their fifth straight consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament and 17th overall.

UCLA (14-3-1), also a second seed and ranked sixth in the coaches poll, finished second in the Pac-12 behind top-seeded Stanford to earn a home playoff date with San Jose State (9-6-6). The Spartans, who won the Mountain West tournament, have posted 11 shutouts this season, fourth-most in the nation.

In the Division III tournament, Occidental will open on the road against Trinity (Texas) on Saturday. Occidental (10-2-5), which won the SCIAC tournament for the first time in school history last Saturday in a penalty shootout with Pomona-Pitzer, allowed just six goals all season. Trinity (16-1-1), the SCAC champion, has conceded only one.

On the men’s side, Azusa Pacific earned a first-round playoff bye while Cal Poly Pomona (13-5-0), making its fourth consecutive appearance in the Division II national tournament, will open against Fresno Pacific (14-2-1) in Seattle and Cal State L.A. (13-2-3) will play Cal State Chico (13-5-1) at Azusa Pacific. Both games will be played Thursday with Azusa Pacific (16-1-1) meeting the CSULA-Chico State winner Saturday evening.

Chapman will play in the Division III men’s tournament after beating Occidental to take the SCIAC title. Chapman (11-7-1) will also play Trinity in Texas on Saturday. The Tigers (15-1-3) have won the last seven SCAC titles.

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