Women's Soccer Semifinals Breakdowns

Florida State Women's College Soccer

Women's Soccer Semifinals Breakdowns

The 2012 women’s college soccer season is coming down the final stretch to its ultimate show case, the College Cup. This year it will be on the beautiful confines of the University of San Diego and Torero Stadium. The likelihood of ideal weather is going to set up the college soccer fans nationwide for a potentially epic weekend of matches and will be a great showcase for the sport heading into the pending return of professional women’s soccer in the United States.


Penn State vs. Florida State 8:30 P.M. ET, Friday

Penn State punched their ticket to San Diego by holding off a very skilled Duke Blue Devil side with a 1-0 result thanks to a Christine Nairn penalty kick in the 13th minute and then surviving a Duke offensive onslaught. Penn State was outshot 19-7 in the quarterfinal match against Duke but stayed tough enough defensively to move on. The Penn State versus Florida State match has some fun storylines as Nittany Lion head coach Erica Walsh was an assistant at Florida State when Penn State was last in the College Cup in 2005. Also, starting goalkeeper Erin McNulty played in the College Cup previously for Florida State when she was a freshman. The Nittany Lions are the most explosive attacking team in the College Cup with 73 goals in 2012. Christine Nairn leads with 16, Maya Hayes has 15, and Mallory Weber has 13 goals. The ability to create chances and capitalizing on those chances is going to be critical against a tough Seminole backline that has been very good against elite offenses in the ACC all year long.

Florida State is back in the College Cup thanks to a 1-0 win over Notre Dame on Friday at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Senior Tiffany McCarty scored the game winner in the 53rd minute in what was a pretty dead even match. Florida State outshot Notre Dame 15-14, and did a great job of creating set pieces with nine corner kicks and not breaking down defensively against the Fighting Irish. McCarty has been the anchor of this team. She has six goals in the NCAA Tournament and it will be critical for her to cause havoc on the Nittany Lion backline. The Seminoles have lived and died by the 1-0 result. It is going to be important for them to keep the match fairly low-scoring and avoid getting into a shootout with Penn State. If Florida State can play its lock-down defense and get a goal from McCarty, it will set a strong tone early and put the Seminoles in a great position to advance to the national championship match on Sunday afternoon.


Stanford vs. North Carolina 11:00 P.M. ET, Friday

The Stanford Cardinal clinched the right to defend their 2011 College Cup Championship after beating UCLA 2-1 on Friday evening in the quarterfinals. The win for the Cardinal concluded an epic 52-0-1 record at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium for this year’s senior class. Lo’eau LaBonta tallied two goals off set pieces from Courtney Verloo to help rally Stanford to its seventh consecutive win over UCLA. The Cardinal have been very consistent all season long in wearing teams down in the second half and putting matches away. Stanford has outscored its opponents 36-7 in the second halves of matches this season. Courtney Verloo paces this balanced attack with 10 goals and 11 assists on the year. Chioma Ubogagu has tallied 11 assists as well for the Cardinal. On defense Emily Oliver has done an excellent job anchoring things in goal as she is 15-0-0 in 2012 with a 0.51 goals against average. The big key for Stanford is not to be intimidated by the tradition of Carolina or the fact they have not previously beaten them. It is important that they stay consistent against the Tar Heel pressure and cash in scoring chances to get a lead and wear down North Carolina in the second half.

The North Carolina has quietly gone about their business in the NCAA Tournament as a number two seed. The Tar Heels punched their ticket to San Diego with a golden goal in double overtime by Crystal Dunn in the 107th minute to knock out number one seed BYU who had not lost since August. The win was the first road quarterfinal win in program history for the Tar Heels. North Carolina has had plenty of success against the Cardinal over the years as they lead the series 8-0-3. The big keys in this match against Stanford for Carolina will be to get ahead with an early goal to force Stanford to really push their numbers forward. It is foreign territory for the Tar Heels to be the underdog, but so far it has worked well in knocking out Baylor and BYU. It will be very interesting to see how North Carolina responds in San Diego against a very difficult Stanford squad that knows how to win on the big stage.


Women's Soccer Tournament Central