Thursday, November 15, 2012
The NCAA Women’s Tournament continues this weekend as current and former W-League standouts try to lead their sides into the quarterfinals, and one step away from the College Cup. Eight campuses will host the second- and third-round contests as top-seeded Florida State, BYU, Stanford and Penn State try to maintain their pursuits of a national championship.
The weekend begins at BYU on Thursday, where Princeton meets the bracket’s No. 4 seed Marquette at 5 p.m. ET. The Tigers enter the weekend coming off a 2-1 victory against West Virginia in the opening round, with former Pali Blues midfielder Caitlin Blosser playing a key role with five goals and five assists this fall. They will face a Marquette side that has received strong performances from former Chicago Red Eleven forward Rachel Sloan, who has five goals and five assists this fall.
The other second-round contests arrive on Friday, with No. 2-seed North Carolina – at the other end of BYU’s bracket – aiming to build on its opening 2-0 victory against Radford that saw both the New Jersey Wildcats’ Amber Brooks and Long Island Rough Riders’ Crystal Dunn find the back of the net when they face Illinois on Friday night. The Tar Heels could then face No. 3-seed Baylor on Sunday in the third round if the Bears can get past Georgetown. Baylor has been led in part this season by Colorado Rush standout Lisa Sliwinski, who has nine goals and four assists this fall.
Penn State’s Christine Nairn and Maya Hayes, formerly of D.C. United Women and the New Jersey Wildcats, will try to continue their form as the Nittany Lions take on a Boston College side that includes former Connecticut Passion midfielder Kate McCarthy. Should they advance, the Nittany Lions would face either Michigan, which got an overtime goal from Laval Comets standout Nkem Ezurike to advance in the first round, or Portland, which includes the Colorado Rush’s Kendall Johnson.
Elsewhere, Florida State hosts Texas Tech after romping to a 6-0 victory in its opening contest. Former Pali Blues standout Tiffany McCarty scored twice for the Seminoles in that contest, and will aim to add to her team-leading 14 goals this season against the Red Raiders.
Meanwhile, Stanford and Pali Blues standouts Mariah Nogueria and Rachel Quon will try to continue the Cardinal’s run as they face Santa Clara in Palo Alto, Calif. Maryland, and former Long Island Rough Riders midfielder Becky Kaplan, could be waiting for the Cardinal in the third round, with the Terrapins set to meet Denver and former Real Colorado forward Kaitlin Bast earlier in the evening.
No. 2-seeds Virginia and Florida will also host this weekend, with the Cavaliers hoping to continue the run of form that saw them claim the ACC Championship two weeks ago. Led by Charlotte Lady Eagles midfielder Gloria Douglas, who had a goal and two assists in their opening contest, the Cavaliers face Rutgers in the second round.
Florida, meanwhile, will hope for Erika Tymrak’s strong form to continue after the senior standout, and former Bradenton Athletics player, had a goal and an assist in its win against Florida Gulf Coast. Florida will face Central Florida in the second round, and could face Wake Forest and the Santa Clarita Blue Heat’s Rachel Nuzzolese in Sunday’s third round if the Demon Deacons can advance against Notre Dame.