Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

December 6, 2013

Women’s College Cup looks a lot like ACC tourney

CARY, N.C. — The Women’s College Cup looks an awful lot like an ACC tournament.

Three teams from the league — Florida State, Virginia and Virginia Tech — are in the women’s soccer national semifinals.

“We live it every day. We’re in the ACC all the time, so we’re not surprised by it,” said Virginia coach Steve Swanson, whose Cavaliers have the No. 1 overall seed.

“To maybe the general soccer fans around the country that aren’t in our conference and don’t see the level of play that we see, it might be a little bit harder to grasp,” he added. “For us, it’s an amazing conference, and it’s only gotten better.”

They’re joined by UCLA, which kept it from being an all-ACC final four by knocking off North Carolina in the quarterfinals.

Still, for just the second time in league history, the ACC placed three teams in the Women’s College Cup. It also happened in 2011.

The Hokies and Seminoles meet in one semifinal Friday, followed by the Virginia-UCLA matchup.

All three ACC schools were in Cary last month for the conference tournament. Florida State won the title by beating Virginia Tech last month, and is 13-0-1 in the series.

The Seminoles (22-1-3) have won eight straight, have outscored their four NCAA tournament opponents by a combined 16-1 and are in the College Cup for the third straight year.

They’ve reached this stage seven times since 2003 — more than any program but UCLA — and coach Mark Krikorian acknowledged that having been in the semifinals before helps.

“But it’s also a different team and it’s a different set of circumstances,” Krikorian added. “I hope that we can look back at the experiences that we’ve had previously and use those in a positive way to help us succeed tomorrow.”

The Hokies (19-4-3) are trying to keep the best season in program history rolling. They’ve set a school record for victories, reached the national semifinals for the first time and recorded shutout wins in three of their four NCAA matches.

“I think it’s definitely an advantage” to play the Seminoles again, Tech coach Chugger Adair said. “It’s our third shot, and I think it should be a good opportunity to grow. ... I think we’re very highly motivated.”

Their cross-state rivals — the Cavaliers (24-1) — are in the College Cup for the first time since 1991 after also setting a program record for victories.

They bring the nation’s top offense into their matchup with a UCLA team that has the top-ranked defense — and is coached by the captain of Virginia’s last College Cup team, Amanda Cromwell.

“I’m definitely proud of them for making the final four,” Cromwell said. “But obviously, we have a game to win on Friday.”

The Cavaliers average 3.08 goals while the Bruins (21-1-2) have a goals-against average of 0.26 and is the only team that has yet to allow one in the NCAA tournament. UCLA keeper Katelyn Rowland has allowed six goals all season and one of those came on a penalty kick.

“It’s got everything you would hope for in a game of this magnitude,” Swanson said.

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