Nine Pac-12 alums advance to the FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals


The nine remaining Pac-12 alumnae (including U.S. head coach Jill Ellis) have advanced to the FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals after a 1-0 U.S. win over China on Friday in Ottawa and a 2-1 England victory over Canada Saturday in Vancouver. 

In the first Pa-12-oriented match of the weekend, the United States dominated the first half offensively, but had nothing to show for it as the score was 0-0 at halftime. Carli Lloyd put an end to that however, in the 51st minute. Lloyd headed a pass from Julie Johnston into the back of the net to put the Red, White, and Blue on the board. The score held up.

Amy Rodriguez (USC) and Alex Morgan (California) led the team with four shots each. It was one of Rodriquez's strongest performances, and the crowd showed her their appreciation with a standing ovation when she subbed out in the 85th minute. 

However, it was America's defense that really shined in the win. Hope Solo (Washington) continued to impress in goal making four saves in the shutout. The United States hasn't allowed a goal in 423 minutes, a new team record. Former Stanford Cardinal Kelley O'Hara played a solid midfield in the win while collecting two shots of her own.

The United States faces its biggest challenge yet as they take on Germany -- the No. 1 team in the world -- on Tuesday in the semifinals.

On Saturday, the Pac-12's lone remaining player not on the U.S. side, Jodie Taylor, made an immediate impact for England. In front of a pro-Canada crowd of more than 54,000 at B.C. Place Stadium, Taylor handled a miskicked ball from Canadian defender Lauren Sesselmann in the 11th minute. The Oregon State alumna then streaked up the field and sidestepped Allysha Chapman's challenge before netting the Lionesses' first tally with an accurate strike to the left side of the goal. It was the forward's first goal of the tournament and quieted the Vancouver crowd.

But the English weren't done yet. Just three minutes later, defender Lucy Bronze headed in a second goal off a free kick from Fara Willaims.The Lionesses enjoyed that two-goal advantage until the closing minutes of the first half.

Canadian midfielder Ashley Lawrence put a shot on goal that England keeper Karen Bardsley stopped, but was unable to wrangle before Christine Sinclair buried it in the back of the net in the 42nd minute. Despite furious attempts at an equalizer in the second half, the score held and England advanced to its first-ever Women's World Cup semifinals. That match will be against defending World Cup champion Japan on Wednesday night in Edmonton.

Stay with and follow @Pac12Networks on Twitter for continuing coverage of Pac-12 alums competing in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

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