MWC Tournament Play Begins!
Nov. 1, 2005
LAS VEGAS -
Hosting the MWC Women's Soccer Championships for the third time in the last six years this Wednesday-Saturday, the UNLV Rebels (10-6-3) are setting their sights on winning their first conference tournament championship and earning a repeat trip to the NCAA Championships. UNLV will open tournament play by facing seventh-seed TCU (6-10) in the final quarterfinal game on Wednesday night at 7 pm from Peter Johann Memorial Field.
Though they are the second seed in this year's event and do have the advantage of playing on their own home field, it will be a tough road for the Rebels, as they would most likely have to get past two ranked teams (No. 14 BYU, No. 22 Utah) to win the tournament title. UNLV fell to both teams by 1-0 scores in Las Vegas just two weeks ago, but is looking forward for the opportunity to avenge their only MWC losses of the season.
The Rebels held every other conference opponent scoreless in 2005, but they know it's a different season once tournament play starts. Though they have played their opening round opponent just once before in the eight-year history of the program, a 1-0 win in Forth Worth on Oct. 14, the Rebels are very familiar with the Horned Frogs' head coach. Dan Abdalla, in his first year at TCU, was at the helm of the Rebels for the past five seasons before leaving in March after leading UNLV to its first-ever MWC regular season championship and first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004.
UNLV is 2-3 all-time in the MWC quarterfinals, but have only lost once in the last four tournaments (the Rebels had a first-round bye in 2004). In the 2000 tournament held in Las Vegas, the Rebels were dropped by Air Force 4-1 in the quarterfinals, but in the 2001 tournament, UNLV held off the seventh-seeded Falcons with a 2-1 overtime win in the semifinals to reach the championship game before falling to BYU 2-1.