The roar was spontaneous, proud, thankful and historic Monday afternoon, when the UC Irvine women's soccer team learned it would be competing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
The Anteaters (17-2-2), who won the program's first Big West Conference regular-season championship, needed one of 34 at-large bids into the 64-team field, after falling, 1-0, in the Big West Tournament final Sunday to Long Beach State.
UCI, which was ranked No. 7 last week and had an RPI of 22, will play host to Arizona State (9-7-3) in the first round Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Wake Forest (12-7-3) will play the University of San Diego (11-7-2) at UCI Friday at 5 p.m. Friday's two winners will then meet Sunday at UCI at 2 p.m.
"I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night," UCI Coach Scott Juniper said after players, coaches and staff members witnessed the televised announcement of the tournament field at the student center on campus. "In my mind, had we won [Sunday], we had an outside chance of hosting. But I thought that had slipped away with the [loss to Long Beach State]. Wow. What an occasion that's going to be Friday."