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Provo • Ever the diplomat, BYU women's soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood said her No. 4-ranked Cougars getting a No. 4 seed in the upcoming NCAA Women's Soccer Cup tournament on Monday "wasn't necessarily a snub."

But it would be awfully easy to make a case that it was.

With an RPI that was No. 1 in the country before the conference season began and No. 7 last week before they walloped Gonzaga 6-0 at South Field to win their fifth straight West Coast Conference game, the Cougars (16-2-1) were hoping for a No. 2 or No. 3 seed.

They got a No. 4, along with four other teams across the country: Minnesota (16-3-3), Auburn (14-6-0) and UCLA (13-5-1). That means the Selection Committee put them among the top 12-16 teams in the country, quite lower than their top-10 RPI or their No. 4 national ranking suggested they should be.

The Cougars will host Mountain West Conference champion UNLV on Friday at 7 p.m. at South Field. If they win, they will advance to South Carolina and play the winner of the Oklahoma-SMU match in the second round. The Gamecocks (18-1-1) are the top seed in that quadrant and will face Alabama State in the first round.

BYU star forward Michele Vasconcelos said although they were hoping for a high seed, they were expecting a No. 4.


"Because it always happens to us," she said. "I guess we were just expecting the worst and hoping for the best. So we knew that worst that could happen is we would be a four seed, so we are happy. I mean, that's not a bad worst. So it is good for us."

The Cougars are 15-1-1 all-time against UNLV, outscoring the Rebels 44-8 in that stretch. They beat the Rebels 5-0 and 1-0 in spring exhibitions the past two seasons.

Vaconcelos and defender Taylor Campbell Isom said the lower-than-hoped-for seed might give the Cougars some extra motivation, but mostly they were happy to at least get one more home game.

"A four seed, we will take it," Isom said. "We were looking for something a little bit higher, but a four seed is awesome. To be recognized as one of the top teams in the country is a big deal. So we are happy about it."

Knowing she would have what she called "one of the best teams I have ever coached here at BYU," Rockwood made her 2016 schedule as difficult as she could get it. The Cougars tied UCLA 2-2 in Los Angeles and defeated Nebraska at home, No. 5 Penn State in State College and Tennessee at home, Utah at Salt Lake City and No. 19 Ohio State in Columbus in August and September.

They lost 1-0 to Nebraska and 1-0 to Pepperdine on a penalty kick and were tied 0-0 by Santa Clara. The Waves and Broncos also made the tournament from the WCC.

"We just gotta go out [and win]," Rockwood said. "I mean, during conference, you don't have opportunities to decide who you play. You play within your conference. So, the same with the NCAA Tournament. You play against who the committee gives you. So that's all we can do right now."

Still, there was a tinge of bitterness in the coach's voice, given BYU's record against the toughest schedule in school history.

"We haven't gotten an extra nod by any stretch over the years, based on where we felt we could possibly be [seeded]," she said. "But again, we have no control over that. You can only control things that you have control over. So we will make the most of it. We are excited to play here at South Field one more time. "

Twitter: @drewjay —

NCAA women's soccer tournament


P At South Field, Friday, 7 p.m