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The NCAA Tournament semifinals are set in women’s soccer and feature four of the top five teams in the starting bracket.
The field also includes three giants in the sport along with Alabama, which is making its College Cup debut.
Here’s a look at the teams, with Florida State vs. North Carolina and Alabama vs. UCLA in the national semifinals on Friday, and the national championship will be played Monday in Cary, NC.
Coach: Wes Hart
How far along: No. 1 Alabama 3, No. 2 Duke 2 (OT)
First three rounds: 9-0 over Jackson State, 2-1 over Portland, 3-1 over UC Irvine
Scoring offence: 2.92 (2nd nationally)
Goals Against Average: .648 (19th)
Goal leader: Riley Mattingly Parker 17 (tied for sixth nationally)
Assists leader: Felicia Knox 20 (1st)
Points leader: Riley Mattingly Parker 41 (tied for sixth)
Goaltender: McKinley Crone .674 GAA (31st)
Upon the crimson tide
• After their first NCAA Tournament victory last season, the league’s coaches chose Alabama to finish fifth. The Crimson Tide also weren’t listed in the preseason polls, but they went as high as No. 2 and clinched the top spot in one of four regionals.
• The Crimson Tide have set season highs in points (220), goals (76), assists (68), shots (528), shots on goal (224), wins (23) and shutouts (12).
• Alabama clinched its first SEC regular season championship, finishing the season undefeated in conference play with a 10-0 SEC record. They were the first team to go undefeated in the conference since South Carolina finished 11-0 in 2016, however the Crimson Tide lost in the championship game of the SEC Tournament. It was the team’s first loss since the third game of the season on August 21.
• Riley Mattingly Parker is tied for the national lead in game-winners with seven. He holds the Alabama record for points (41), goals (17) and game-winning goals, while tied for the program lead in career game-winning goals (10).
• Felicia Knox broke the Tide record for assists with 20 and career assists with 25. Parker was named SEC Forward of the Year and SEC Athlete-Scholar of the Year, while Knox was named SEC Midfielder of the Year and Reyna Reyes was named the SEC Defender of the Year
Coach: Marguerite Aozasa
How far along: No. 1 UCLA 2, No. 3 Virginia 1 (OT)
First three rounds: 4-1 over Northern Arizona, 1-1 (PK) over UCF, 2-0 over Northwestern
Scoring offence: 2.70 (seventh nationally)
Goals Against Average: .512 (6th)
Goal leader: Sunshine Fontes 11 (tied at 36 nationally)
Assist leader: Ally Lemos 8 (tied at 33)
Points leader: Sunshine Fontes 29 (tied for 25th)
Goaltender: Lauren Brzykcy .519 GAA (7th)
On the Bruins:
• Sophomore Lilly Reale became the second UCLA player to win the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award, joining World Cup champion Abby Dahlkemper (2014). Reale has started and played in 21 games this year, leading the Bruins to a conference-high 13 shutouts and a 0.49 goals-against average.
• The Bruins, who are making their 26th overall and seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance, have a 71-20-7 record in the all-time NCAA Tournament. UCLA has advanced to the quarterfinals or beyond 17 times and in six of the past 10 seasons, winning the NCAA title in 2013 and making three College Cup appearances (2013, 2017 and 2019). UCLA is a No. 1 seed for the sixth time in program history and the first since 2014.
• The Bruins have 16 players who have seen NCAA action before this season. The Bruins’ most experienced player in the tournament is Maricarmen Reyes, who has a total of 13 NCAA games played. Goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy has started six games.
• Aozasa is in her first season as a UCLA coach. The former assistant coach was hired in December 2021 as the sixth head coach in UCLA women’s soccer history. During her time with the Cardinal, she won NCAA championships in 2017 and 2019, and Pac-12 titles from 2015-19. The 2018 team also made it to the University Cup.
• UCLA has already had two close escapes in the tournament, beating UCF in a shootout and beating Virginia last week in overtime. The Bruins played Alabama’s last opponent, Duke, during the regular season, beating the Blue Devils on their home field, 2-1, on September 1.
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Florida State Seminoles
Coach: Brian Pensky
How far along: No. 1 Florida State 1, No. 3 Arkansas 0
First three rounds: 3-0 over FGCU, 4-1 over LSU, 3-0 over Pitt
Scoring offence: 2.82 (4th nationally)
Goals Against Average: .765 (tied for 39th)
Goal leader: Onyi Echegini 10 (not in top 50 nationally)
Assists leader: Jenna Nighswonger 16 (2nd)
Points leader: Jenna Nighswonger 28 (tied for 29th)
Goalkeeper: Cristina Roque .740 GAA (41st)
About the Seminoles:
• FSU is in the College Cup for the 13th and third time in the last four seasons. He won the 2014, 2018, and 2021 national titles. The Seminoles are the top-seeded team in the tournament.
• FSU vs. UNC is a rematch of the ACC tournament championship game at the College Cup site, Cary, NC Jody Brown scored the game-winner at 48:05. The most interesting stat in the game may be total possession, which was 5 percent for each team.
• Pensky is in his first year in charge of the Seminoles after 10 seasons in Tennessee. The Vols won the 2021 SEC Championship.
• Since September 3, 2010, the Seminoles have not lost a game in which they lead at halftime.
• Graduating seventh-year student Clara Robbins is playing her seventh season after redshirting, medical redshirting and a year of COVID. The team’s co-captain played in 109 career games with 87 starts and won two national championships.
tar heels north carolina
Coach: Anson Dorrance
How far along: No. 2 North Carolina 2, No. 1 Notre Dame 0
First three rounds: 5-0 over Old Dominion, 3-1 over Georgia, 3-2 over BYU
Scoring offence: 2.42 (15th nationally)
Goals Against Average: .619 (tied for 13th)
Goal leader: Avery Patterson 11 (tied for 36th nationally)
Assists leader: Isabel Cox 8 (tied for 33rd)
Points leader: Avery Patterson 30 (ties for 21st)
Goaltender: Emmie Allen .591 GAA (14th)
About the Tar Heels:
• This will be the third time that UNC and FSU will play each other this season. They split the first two with identical sores 2-1, but the Seminoles won in the ACC Tournament championship game.
• North Carolina has won 21 NCAA Women’s Soccer National Championships, but the last one was 10 years ago in 2012. Overall, the Tar Heels have appeared in 30 NCAA Women’s College Cups, 18 more than the second-most team. near. UNC is the only team in the country to have appeared in all 41 NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournaments since the first 41 was held in 1982.
• Dorrance, in his 46th year as head coach at North Carolina, is the only head coach in program history. The 1974 UNC grad has won a combined 1,092 games at his alma mater (919 women and 172 men). He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2008, his first year of eligibility, and we are the all-time leader in NCAA Division I championships in any sport with 21.
• UNC had six players selected to the various All-ACC teams for 2022, including three first-team selections. Senior Tori Hansen, junior Sam Meza, and redshirt freshman Ally Sentnor received first-team accolades, while junior Avery Patterson earned second-team honors and senior Freshman Tessa Delarose was named third team.
• The Tar Heels did something unusual for them by reaching the College Cup, playing the quarterfinals on the road. It was their first quarterfinal game on the road since 2012 when they defeated No. 1 seed BYU in Provo, 2-1 in double overtime.
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