The NCAA Tournament and Mother Nature

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Hosting an NCAA Tournament isn’t easy, especially when you pile on a few inches of snow.

Every year, BYU Athletics submits a bid to the NCAA, hoping to host a tournament game. Because of their number one seed this year, the Cougars have the chance to play at home through the quarterfinals.

Assistant Athletic Director Matthew Nix welcomes the chance to host, even if it means spending more time in the office.

“It’s more work, and it’s a little more detail,” Nix says, “We know what’s expected, and we try to put on a great event and do it how the NCAA wants us to do it.”

The tournament brings an extra-large manual of rules and regulations. It also brings more fans, and this year it brought along some snow.

During the regular season, nearly 3,000 fans pack the stands to see the Cougars play, and during the NCAA tournament, the BYU Athletic Department expects that number to grow. Even the snow can’t keep the fans away, and goalie Erica Owens appreciates their dedication.

“It’s a lot of fun to be able to have some many fans there. I love it,” Owens says.

The fans had to wait an extra day last weekend to see the Cougars play. It was the first time in 12 years that BYU postponed a soccer game because of snow. On Friday, Nix and coaches from both teams went to South Field to check playing conditions. When the soccer ball quickly turned into a snowball, they knew the game wasn’t going to happen.

Saturday morning, about 60 people from BYU Athletics met at South Field to help the grounds crew shovel away the snow and remove the giant tarps that protect the grass from winter weather. Athletic Director Tom Holmoe and Women’s Soccer Head Coach Jennifer Rockwood pitched in too.

“We’ve had so many people make sure that we could get the game played in the snow,” Rockwood says. “It was one of those things you’ll always remember.”

The BYU Women’s Soccer team will take on fourth seed Marquette on Saturday, and the forecast looks snow-free.

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