By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the fourth straight season, the La Salle University women’s soccer team is headed to the NCAA Tournament. They will visit Rutgers in the first round on Friday night.READ MORE: Fight Outside Pat's Steaks In South Philadelphia Ends With 1 Person Dead, 2 Others Hospitalized
The 14-5-2 Explorers earned an at-large berth after falling to Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Championship Final, 2-1.
La Salle head coach Paul Royal says experience is a big reason why they are still playing.
“The senior group,” Royal tells KYW Newsradio, “they’ve done a great job of leading this group and keeping everything together behind the scenes. And then they’ve backed it up on the field with some great performances.”
Listen to the entire interview with La Salle’s head coach Paul Royal:
That senior group is led by forward Kelsey Haycook who is tied for third in the country with 20 goals this season.READ MORE: Adam Sandler Filming Movie 'Hustle' In Manayunk On Thursday
While getting to the NCAA Tournament is nothing new for the Explorers, they have yet to win a game in it. Royal says his squad is hoping to change that this time around.
“They’ve really worked so hard from last November and knew that their goals weren’t achieved until we start winning NCAA Tournament games,” Royal says. “We knew it was going to be a tough journey, we were one of the top ten schedules in the country, pretty much the entire season. And it prepared us for this moment.”
Rutgers brings a 12-5-1 record into the tournament. They lost in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament to Iowa.
“It’s a great team,” Royal says. “They have so many weapons. From kids off the bench to kids on the field. It’ll be a tough match-up for us, like it has been in the last four years. But that’s where we want to be.”
La Salle and Rutgers get underway at 7:00 pm on Friday in Piscataway, New Jersey.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.
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