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AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn soccer makes its 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and will play host to Samford (15-3-2) in the first round Friday at 5 p.m. at the Auburn Soccer Complex.
“We need a huge crowd, and we’re hoping to get one,” head coach Karen Hoppa said. “We want to pack that stadium. It’s not often you get an NCAA Tournament game on your campus, so we want to see all the Auburn Family out and really need that extra help in the stands.”
The game will be streamed on SEC Network+ and broadcast on WEGL 91.1.
All 17 of Auburn’s NCAA Tournament appearances have come under head coach Karen Hoppa in the last 21 seasons.
The team’s 17 tournament appearances since 2001 are tied with Florida for the second-most in the SEC, trailing only Texas A&M (20).
The Tigers earned a top-16 seed in Monday’s selection show for the fourth time in program history (No. 3 seed – 2011; No. 4 seed – 2015-16, 2021).
Auburn is 13-16-0 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 6-3-0 at the Auburn Soccer Complex and as a national seed.
The team has advanced to the second round, third round, and quarterfinals in its three previous appearances as a national seed.
Friday marks the eighth time the team has hosted a first-round contest and is its fifth straight tournament appearance as a host (2015-18, 2021).
Twenty-six of Auburn’s 31 players will make their NCAA Tournament debuts Friday.
By way of defeating South Carolina for the first time since 2012, the Tigers are coming off the program’s first appearance in the SEC Tournament semifinals since 2016.
Auburn is 12-2-2 all-time against Samford, and Friday will mark the first time the two teams have met in the NCAA Tournament.
Five of the last seven contests between the Tigers and Bulldogs have been decided by one goal, including a 2-1 Auburn win in the 2021 season opener in Birmingham.
PLAYER TO WATCH: OLIVIA CANDELINO
Sophomore forward Olivia Candelino was named to the SEC’s All-Tournament Team after assisting in back-to-back games against South Carolina and Arkansas in Orange Beach.
Candelino is tied for the team lead with eight assists and is one of four Tigers to have registered double-digit points this season.
The Jacksonville, Florida, native has assisted in three of the last four games.
Samford enters the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in program history and has posted a 15-3-2 overall record.
The Bulldogs went perfect in both Southern Conference regular season (9-0-0) and tournament play (3-0-0) and are riding the nation’s second-longest winning streak at 12 games.
Offensively, Samford is led by a trio of All-SoCon performers in Alyssa Frazier, Mary Raymond, and Taylor Yount, who’ve combined for 63 points on 21 goals and 21 assists this season.
Defensively, Second Team All-SoCon goalkeeper Morgan McAslan has played every minute between the posts and has registered a 0.78 goals-against average with nine shutouts.
NCAA TOURNAMENT CENTRAL
Gates open one hour prior to kickoff.
Tickets are $8 for the general public and may be purchased with a debit or credit card only at will call outside of the soccer complex. Children 12 and under as well as Auburn students who show their Tiger Card will receive free admission.
Fan parking may be found at four primary locations:
McWhorter lot at the intersection of Biggio Drive and Samford Drive.
Softball Home Plate lot on Biggio Drive.
Intramural Field spaces on Biggio Drive.
Ag Heritage lot located off Donahue Drive.
Unlike Auburn soccer regular-season contests, no artificial noisemakers will be allowed inside the soccer complex.