No. 16 Northwestern (9-3-6, 4-1-3 Big Ten) is headed to the NCAA Championship this year as one of 24 at-large selections.
The Wildcats will take on state rivals SIU-Edwardsville (6-8-4, 4-1-1 Missouri Valley Conference) in their first match of the tournament at Lakeside Field on Thursday night. The Cougars are going to the NCAA Championship after capturing their conference title for the first time since 1982 .
NU, despite losing in penalty kicks to Indiana in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament, received an at-large bid and will be playing in the tournament for the ninth time in its history and making its eighth trip in the last nine years.
A strong Big Ten conference totaled six teams in the field, including third-seed Michigan State, fourth-seed and Big Ten tournament winners Maryland and fifth-seed Indiana.
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