INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The last time the Johnson & Wales University women's soccer team was in the NCAA Tournament, most of head coach Chris Flint's squad hadn't touch a soccer ball yet. Monday the Wildcats learned they'll open the NCAA Tournament Saturday at 11 AM against No. 5 MIT.
Johnson & Wales' last trip to the NCAA Tournament was a 3-0 loss at Tufts on November 12, 2005. The Wildcats went 13-6-1 that year under Jeff Lavinge.
Despite the two schools' proximity, this will be the first meeting between the Wildcats and Engineers. MIT comes into the NCAA Tournament with a 19-1-2 record after winning the NEWMAC Championship.
Prior to Flint's arrival in 2015, Johnson & Wales went 10-11-2 and finished sixth in the GNAC. The Wildcats have won at least 12 games in each of Flint's five seasons, including a 16-6 record this year, and have made two-straight appearances in the conference title game. JWU got over the hump with a 2-1 win against Saint Joseph's (Me.) on Saturday.
Leading the way for the Wildcats has been 2019 GNAC Offensive Player of the Year Olivia Cairrao. The Bristol, R.I. native is second in school history with 52 goals and 119 points. This season, she's 18th in the country at 1.13 goals per game.
JWU has been an offensive juggernaut in 2019, ranking sixth in the NCAA with 74 goals. Four Wildcats have found the back of the net five or more times.