College soccer roundup: UCLA wins women’s title, men’s semis are set

December 9, 2013
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*The video package from UCLA’s 1-0 overtime victory over Florida State in the women’s College Cup final Sunday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., is available here.

The Bruins conceded eight goals in 26 matches and, in the last stretch en route to the title, ousted three ACC powerhouses over nine days 2,500 miles from home: UNC in the quarterfinals, Virginia in the semis and FSU in the the final. They allowed one goal in those three games, and the one came off a poor back pass.

A big DMV shout-out to first-year Bruins Coach Amanda Cromwell: Annandale High School and University of Virginia graduate, U-Va. assistant coach, UMBC head coach, midfielder for the Maryland Pride in WPSL and Washington Freedom in WUSA and 2010 inductee into the Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame. She earned 55 caps for the U.S. national team and was a member of the 1995 World Cup squad in Sweden (one start and one substitute appearance).

*The men’s College Cup semifinal pairings are set for Friday night at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.:

No. 3 Notre Dame (15-1-6) vs. No. 7 New Mexico (14-5-2), 5 p.m.

No. 5 Maryland (16-3-5) vs. No. 8 Virginia (13-5-5), 7:30 p.m.

The final is Sunday at 3 p.m.

All matches are on ESPNU.

Chester received 4-5 inches of snow Sunday and may receive another few inches Tuesday. The outlook for Friday calls for clear skies and a high of 32 degrees, dropping into the 20s in the evening (balmy compared to MLS Cup in Kansas City). Warmer temperatures and precipitation are possible Sunday.

The weather did not prevent the Maryland delegation from returning home Saturday night after its 2-1 victory at fourth-seeded California. However, the wintry glaze will force the Terrapins to practice indoors today. The team is likely to train on Byrd Stadium’s artificial turf Tuesday and Wednesday, Coach Sasho Cirovski said. “I don’t think we will be on grass until Friday,” he said.

Charlottesville escaped snow accumulation but the team might train inside the football bubble today before returning outdoors Tuesday.

For College Cup participants, there’s no escaping cold weather at home. But winter’s approach does raise the question: Why did the NCAA choose Philadelphia in mid-December to play the College Cup? Much of the country is at risk for inclement weather this time of year, and the Northeast is no exception. PPL Park is a wonderful venue … nine months out of the year. But not in December.

Fortunately for organizers, two teams within driving distance and with historically strong fan support advanced to the semifinals. And because they’ll play one another, one is assured of a berth in the final. Notre Dame athletics have a national following, which should help ticket sales a bit. Otherwise, this final four would be hard pressed to attract spectators.

Philadelphia Union supporters might want to come out to see Maryland’s superb freshman goalkeeper, Zack Steffen, from the club’s youth affiliate, FC Delco. Virginia features Delco’s Darius Madison, a sophomore forward with six goals and three assists. Both are eligible for homegrown contracts, if they choose to leave school in the coming years.

With Maryland or Virginia headed to the final, the Washington region is guaranteed a team playing for the trophy for the fourth time in six seasons and 12th in 31 seasons. Maryland won the 2008 title, Virginia a year later and Georgetown lost to Indiana last December in Hoover, Ala.

 

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff | December 8, 2013