The top-seeded UCLA women's soccer team defeated third-seeded Duke in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament to advance to their sixth consecutive College Cup. The Bruins dominated all aspects of the match and it showed in the score and they came away with a 6-1 victory. The Bruins outshot the Blue Devils 27-7, had 9 corner kicks to Duke's 1 and forced the Duke goalkeeper to make 13 saves while UCLA's Ashley Thompson was only called upon to make two.
"It's just clicking for us right now," said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis of her team's effort on Saturday. "I thought all 11 players stepped up and were committed tonight. And I'm not just talking about the starters. This was a complete team effort, and I'm just so happy that we were able to advance to another College Cup."
The Bruins scored the first goal of the game when McCall Zerboni found the net in the fourth minute, but Duke evened the game up 10 minutes later. The Bruins were not fazed by allowing their first goal of the tournament though as Lauren Cheney put the Bruins back ahead four minutes later. Despite having complete control of the match, the Bruins struggled to get themselves a cushion. The Duke keeper made a number of fine saves and the ball always seemed to bounce the wrong way for the Bruins as the Blue Devils remained within a goal until just before half when Cristina DiMartino gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead. The second half played out just like the first as the Bruins tacked on three more goals, two by Kristina Larsen and advanced to the College Cup. How might the Bruins fare next week? Ask Duke head coach Robbie Church.
"We gave up more set play goals that we have all year. A lot of that goes to UCLA's experience. I've seen a lot of the teams in the Final Four and this UCLA team is as good a team as I've seen in the country. I wouldn't bet against them next week in Cary."
The Bruins will continue their run at the national championship on Friday in Cary, North Carolina against the nation's top program historically, North Carolina. Both the Bruins and Tar Heels are #1 seeds, as are Stanford and Notre Dame, the two teams in the other semifinal. The Bruins and Tar Heels will play in the second semifinal at 4 pm PST and the game will be broadcast live on either ESPNU or ESPN2. Should the Bruins win, they would play at 11 am PST on Sunday on ESPN2 for the national title.
This sets up quite the week for Bruin athletics. On Thursday the men's basketball team travels to Texas. On Friday the women's soccer team will play their national semifinal and on Saturday the Trojans visit the Rose Bowl. Throw in the first and second rounds of the NCAA women's volleyball tournament and we've got ourselves a hell of a week. GO BRUINS!!!