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Big Ten Expansion: Women’s soccer

Patrick Barron/Daily
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BY ALEJANDRO ZúñIGA
Daily Sports Writer
Published December 10, 2012

The Rutgers women’s soccer program has earned six at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament throughout its 27-year history. The Scarlet Knights have been remarkably consistent and have endured just six losing seasons — none since 2004. This season, they advanced to the second round of the tournament before being eliminated by second-seeded Virginia.

Rutgers head coach Glenn Crooks expressed his excitement about the transition to the Big Ten.

“We will gain enormous exposure on the Big Ten Network, which reaches markets that are not familiar with Rutgers soccer,” Crooks said. “We are thrilled to be joining perhaps the best conference in the country.”

The change in conferences will create new recruiting opportunities for the Scarlet Knights. Big Ten schools traditionally recruit players from the Midwest but have recently started exploring beyond the border to Canada. Four members of the All-Big Ten team this season were Canadian, and the majority were local Midwestern states.

“Our move to the Big Ten will have a positive impact in our recruiting,” Crooks said. “Our recruiting has broadened, especially in (the Midwest).”

Maryland’s women’s soccer program has garnered 13 NCAA Tournament bids since its creation in 1987, including four consecutive appearances. This season, it finished with a 14-7-2 record en route to earning a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but the Terrapins were upset by Denver in the second round.

The Terrapins’ successful 2012 season was marred by a brawl with Miami (Fla.) when the two met on Oct. 18. After forward Hayley Brock was fouled near midfield, players and fans from both teams exchanged blows. Brock received a direct red card for her actions.

Maryland’s squad is loaded with freshman and is poised to continue competing at a high level for years to come. This season, coach Jonathan Morgan’s freshman class was ranked No. 5 in the country. The Terrapins can recruit successfully due in part to Ludwig Field, one of the most appealing collegiate stadiums in the country. It can seat over 7,000 fans.

The Maryland athletic department did not respond to a request for comment on its transition to the Big Ten.