Despite being shafted by the NCAA tournament selection committee, the #2-ranked (yet #2-seeded) women's soccer team overcame the odds to drop #1-seeded North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Saturday, 1-0, in double overtime. That huge victory over the Tar Heels has now set up the Bruins against #1-ranked Virginia today at 4:30 p.m. PST in North Carolina. The Bruins have never won a national title in women's soccer, which begs the question of whether this squad can emulate John Savage's baseball team from last season, which finally brought a NCAA baseball title home to Westwood.
Bruinette88 blogged a full preview of the matchup here. The UCLA official website has a game preview available here that provides all the logistical information and some background history on the women's soccer program in the NCAA tournament. The full media guide and stats are available through the official site here. The Bruins will rely on the form of midfielder distributor Sam Mewis, who has not only assisted five of UCLA's nine goals in the tournament so far, while scoring one of her own. Leading the line will be freshman sensation Darian Jenkins, recently named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, who leads the Bruins with 13 goals, good enough for second in the Pac-12, and sophomore forward Taylor Smith (8 goals on the year). Between the sticks, the Bruins will turn to reliable shot-stopper Katelyn Rowland, who has surrendered only 6 goals on the season while notching 62 saves.
The game will kick-off at 4:30 p.m. PST on ESPNU, with the winner advancing to face the winner of the Virginia Tech and Florida State semi-final, on Sunday at noon PST, also live on ESPNU.
This is your women's soccer NCAA semi-final open thread. Fire away in the comment thread with your observations, thoughts, as we track our Lady Bruins quest to bring UCLA it's 110th NCAA national championship. Let's get it done Bruins.