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Bywaters Leads UCLA To Elite Eight
Bruins face contest with rival Stanford in next round

W-League Feature

Monday, November 19, 2012

The heated women’s soccer rivalry between Stanford and UCLA will continue this upcoming weekend, with a place at the 2012 College Cup on the line, after both teams advanced to the Elite Eight with a pair of victories fueled in part by current and former W-League standouts. The LA Strikers’ Zakiya Bywaters led the Bruins’ run to the fourth round, setting up another battle between the two rivals.

Bywaters’ teammate with the Strikers, Chelsea Cline, led the Bruins in their opening game of the weekend, a 5-0 victory against Kentucky. Cline scored a pair of second-half goals to lead her side past the Wildcats and into a Sweet 16 contest with the regional’s host San Diego State.

Against the Aztecs, Bywaters took over, scoring twice in the opening 13 minutes, one coming off an assist by former Fort Wayne Fever standout Sarah Killion. The early two-goal advantage proved too much for San Diego State to overcome, with the Bruins only conceding three shots on goal.

The New Jersey Wildcats’ Maya Hayes scored the winning goal in a penalty shootout to lead Penn State into the Elite Eight after a dramatic conclusion saw the Nittany Lions claw their way to defeat Michigan 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

The Wolverines had taken the lead through former West Michigan Firewomen forward Clare Stachel in the 16th minute, but Penn State tied the game three minutes before halftime as D.C. United Women’s Christine Nairn set up former Hudson Valley Quickstrike forward Maddy Evans for the equalizer. Neither side was able to break the deadlock in the remainder of regulation or overtime.

Michigan then went up 2-0 after two rounds in the shootout, Laval Comets standout Nkem Ezurike scoring the second, but aided by a pair of misses by the Wolverines, Penn State was able to tie the game 2-2 after four rounds as Evans and Hudson Valley teammate Tani Costa both scored. Hayes then found the back of the net to open the fifth round, and when Michigan’s Holly Hein subsequently missed, Penn State was through.

The Nittany Lions will face Duke in the Elite Eight after the Long Island Rough Riders’ Kim DeCesare scored twice in the Blue Devils’ 3-1 victory against fellow ACC side Virginia. DeCesare had four goals during the weekend, also bagging a pair in the Blue Devils’ 4-1 win against Miami (Ohio) on Friday night, to earn’s Player of the Week award.

DeCesare’s Rough Riders teammate, Crystal Dunn, helped North Carolina move into the Elite Eight as her late goal allowed the Tar Heels to avoid being upset by Baylor before winning in a penalty shootout. Dunn’s goal came in the 82nd minute, sending the game to overtime, and when a winner couldn’t be determined in the extra 20 minutes, former Cary Lady Clarets standout Maria Lubrano was among those who converted from the spot to give UNC a 4-2 win.

Finally, Florida State cruised into the Elite Eight with a 4-0 victory against Texas A&M, with former Pali Blues standout Tiffany McCarty continuing to lead the Seminoles. McCarty had a goal and an assist against the Aggies on Sunday, which followed her pair of goals on Friday night in a 3-2 win against Texas Tech. One of the top players in the country, McCarty has five goals in three games in the NCAA Tournament, and leads the Seminoles with 15 goals and 35 points this season. 

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