UCLA women's soccer still alive in NCAA tournament with college cup bid on the line

UCLA Athletics

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Three Pac-12 women’s soccer teams were still alive heading into the second and third rounds of the 2013 NCAA Division I Tournament this past weekend. Colorado, fresh off an upset over fourth-seeded Denver headed to the home of the Seminoles to take on 19th-ranked BYU in a regional hosted by Florida State. The Buffs continued their strong postseason play, knocking off the Cougars 2-1 on Thursday before falling 4-0 to the Seminoles on Saturday, who was one of four number one seeds and ranked No.1 overall heading into the tournament. UCLA, a two-seed, hosted a regional at Drake Field in Los Angeles featuring No. 14/20 South Carolina, Kentucky and No. 17/13 Stanford. The Cardinal and the Gamecocks faced off in the first game of the double header on Friday night. After a scoreless 90 minutes, Stanford netted the golden goal 1:29 into the first overtime period on the foot of junior forwardd Taylor Uhl to move on to the third round game to face the winner of UCLA/Kentucky on Sunday. No surprise the Pac-12 Champions took care of business in the second game of the double-header against the Wildcats, winning 3-0 on a pair of goals by defender Caprice Dydasco. On Sunday evening the Pac-12 foes faced-off with a trip to the quarterinals on the line. In theIr regular season matchup, the Cardinal used a late goal to send the game to overtime, but the Bruins got the last laugh with a golden goal by freshman Lauren Kaskie. This time around, no last minute or overtime dramatics were needed as the red-hot Bruins took care of the Cardinal, coming away with the 2-0 decision. The No.2 Bruins move on as the lone Pac-12 representative in the round of eight and will go on the road to try to earn their first trip to the College Cup since 2009. To do so they will have to avenge their only loss of the season as they take on defending national champions North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Sunday evening. 

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Bruins Keep Streaking: UCLA is looking to continue its winning streak all the way to the College Cup. Since the Bruins lost 1-0 to defending national champions and then-No. 1 North Carolina in early September, they have gone unbeaten through 18 games, winning 16 of them. The Bruins will get their rematch with the Tar Heels this weekend in the NCAA quarterfinals as they look to make a trip back to the College Cup for the first time in four years. UCLA has yet to give up a goal in the tournament and have only given up seven goals all season, which currently leads the nation (.296 goals-against average). With a back line anchored by junior two-time All-American Abby Dahlkemper and All-Pac-12 performing goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland, the Bruins are in position to ride their defense into the College Cup and beyond. 

Postseason Return Success: After returning to the postseason for the first time since 2008 and capturing an opening round win for the first time since 2007, the Buffs upset a second-consecutive ranked opponent in No. 19 BYU to make it to the round of 16 for just the second time in school history. 2006 was the only other time Colorado had reached the third round after beating Colorado College in the opening round and taking down Denver before exiting the tournament with a 3-0 loss to Notre Dame. The Buffs had a tough task on Saturday afternoon, facing No. 1 seed and No.1 ranked Florida State on the home turf of the Seminoles. The talented Seminoles proved to be too much as the Buffs fell 4-0. Despite the loss, it was an impressive run for Colorado considering the finished tied for sixth in the Conference standings and earned one of the final at-large bids. The future looks bright for second-year coach Danny Sanchez. 

Stanford vs. UCLA Tournament History: The Cardinal and the Bruins are creating quite the postseason rivarly, meeting in the tournament four times in their history, all since 2009. Before Sunday the Cardinal had had the upper hand, winning all three previous meetings, including last year in a win that took the Cardinal to their firth-consecutive Colleg Cup.

NCAA Tournament Legacy: The Pac-12 has placed at least one team in the College Cup each of the last ten seasons (since 2003) and has produced two semifinalists on four occasions. The Conference has been represented in four of the last six National Championship games, with USC and Stanford taking home titles in 2007 and 2011 respectively. When it comes to tournament time, Stanford as been the Conference darlings, making five straight College Cup appearances, finishing as the NCAA runner-up in 2009 and 2010 before winning their championship in 2011. With Stanford’s loss to UCLA on Sunday, the Cardinal’s streaek of five consecutive College Cups comes to an end in 2013.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (Times local to site)

Sunday, December 4 (NCAA Quarterfinals)

(2) UCLA (20-1-2) at (1) North Carolina (20-4-0)* 5 p.m. ET

*Feltzer Field, Chapel Hill, N.C.

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