UCLA women's soccer representing the Pac-12 in 2013 college cup
No. 2 seeded UCLA headed into their quarerfinal matchup at No. 1 seeded North Carolina hoping to get a few monkeys off their back. Not only had the Tar Heels handed the Bruins their only loss of the season back in September, UCLA had never beaten North Carolina in their series history. With only eight teams left heading into this past weekend’s quartefinal round there would be no easy games left. Traveling to the East Coast and playing a team they’ve failed to conquer could have easily set up the No.2-ranked Bruins for failure, but instead, UCLA found a way to finish. In a game defined by stellar defense and impressive goalkeeping on Saturday afternoon, it was no surprise that either team failed to connect with the back of the net through regulation and into the first overtime. Then, with less than a minute remaining in the first extra period, a Tar Heel midfielder went down hard and, after a lengthy delay, was carted off the field. After the long break in action the 0-0 draw carried over to the second overtime period, and that’s when the Bruins got aggressive. Less than a minute and a half in, midfielder Sarah Killion sent a through ball to forward Taylor Smith whose intial shot was saved; however, Smith went after the follow and netted the ball off the rebound for her eighth goal of the season and third in the tournament. With the win, UCLA broke up an all-ACC College Cup and will play in their ninth College Cup in program history. The semifinals and championship will take place this weekend at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina with Virginia Tech and Florida State facing off in the early semifinal and the Bruins taking on Virginia in the second match of the double-header on Friday. The winners will move on to battle for the 2013 Division i Women’s Soccer NCAA Championship. All College Cup games will be televised on ESPNU and available on watchespn.com.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Bruins Keep Streaking: UCLA is looking to continue its winning streak at the 2013 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 19 games, winning 17 of them. After avenging their only loss of the season and winning their first game over the Tar Heels, UCLA makes their ninth College Cup appearance and first since 2009.
DEFENSE: Through four NCAA tournament games, UCLA has yet to give up a goal and have only given up seven goals all season, which currently leads the nation (.283 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 to a national championship.
NCAA Tournament Legacy: With UCLA’s appearance in the College Cup this weekend, the Pac-12 has now placed at least one team in the College Cup each of the last eleven seasons (since 2003). This 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 previous to 2013, finishing as the NCAA runner-up in 2009 and 2010 before winning their championship in 2011. With Stanford’s loss to UCLA this year, the Cardinals’ streak of five consecutive College Cups comes to an end in 2013.
Hermann Award Finalists Announced: Junior two-time All-American defender Abby Dahlkemper of UCLA was named a finalist for the 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy Award. A first-team All-Pac-12 honoree for the third-consecutive season, Dahlkemper was also named Capital One Academic All-District second team and is the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. She was also named a first-team All-American. The MAC Hermann Trophy is the highest individual intercollegiate award in soccer and is presented annually during a banquet on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. The top three vote-getters for each gender will be announced as finalists Thursday, Dec. 12.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE (Times local to site)
2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer College Cup