Editors note: this story has been updated to correct inaccuracies.
Head coach Neil Stafford’s phone was constantly ringing on Monday when it was announced the Central Michigan women’s soccer team earned an at-large bid for the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship.
CMU is the first school in Mid-American Conference history to receive an at-large bid.
The Chippewas were selected to face the University of Michigan at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Ann Arbor for the first round of the tournament.
“I’ve never received so many text messages,” Stafford said. “To be the first team in the history of the MAC is just a huge honor. We’re just jumping for joy and relishing in this opportunity to play Michigan as an in-state rival.”
CMU played the Wolverines in 2011, with the match ending in a 1-1 tie after double overtime.
Stafford said it was unfortunate that U-M dropped the Chippewas from their schedule this year.
Michigan is a good program and good competition to measure against, Stafford said.
“You hear all the time about these schools and conferences dominating, but we want to show our strength against this big name and the Big Ten conference,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, CMU is a big name, too, and the MAC is a reputable conference.”
Michigan’s overall record is 14-5-2, while CMU is 15-6-1.
The Chippewas lost the MAC tournament 2-1 on Sunday to Miami (OH), which guaranteed the RedHawks a slot in the NCAA tournament.
Miami (19-2-1) will play at Tennessee (14-4-3) in the first round.
CMU has a record of 1-2 all-time in NCAA tournament play.
After winning the MAC tournament in 2009 and 2010, the Chippewas earned an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament. In 2009, the Chippewas made it past Purdue in the first round but later fell to Notre Dame.
CMU lost to Marquette in the first round of its 2010 appearance in the NCAA tournament.