The NCAA men’s and women’s soccer tournaments are moving closer to crowning champions, with the men down to eight teams and the women preparing for the College Cup in San Diego this weekend.

The pairings (all times are Eastern):


Friday at University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium

Penn State (20-3-0) vs. Florida State (20-3-0), 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

North Carolina (13-5-0) vs. Stanford (21-1-0), 11 p.m. (

No major surprises: Aside from No. 2 UNC, each semifinalist was a top seed in its portion of the 64-team tournament. The final is Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.



Friday: #16 Indiana (13-5-3) at #9 North Carolina (16-3-3), 6 p.m.

(Hoosiers upset #1 Notre Dame in extra time, while defending champion Tar Heels scored early in sudden-death extra time to stop upset-minded Fairleigh Dickinson.)

Saturday: San Diego (14-8-0) at #3 Georgetown (18-3-2), 1 p.m.

(Toreros scored twice in 5 minutes midway in 2nd half to win at #11 Tulsa, while Hoyas scored late equalizer and prevailed on PKs for first quarterfinal berth.)

Saturday: #10 Louisville (14-5-1) at #2 Maryland (19-1-2), 5 p.m.

(Cardinals edged Northwestern on 86th-minute own goal, while Terrapins routed Coastal Carolina, 5-1, for their fourth quarterfinal appearance in five years.)

Sunday: #12 Creighton (16-3-3) at #4 Connecticut (17-3-1), 1 p.m.

(Bluejays eliminated #5 Akron on PKs in Caleb Porter’s last game as Zips coach before moving to MLS’s Portland Timbers, while Huskies won in extra time.)

Three teams are from the Big East, two from the ACC.

The College Cup Dec. 7-9 is at a minor league baseball stadium in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover, Ala., for the second consecutive year. The 2013 final four moves to PPL Park in Chester, Pa. — a better facility and stronger soccer area but with a much higher risk of wintry weather.

The NCAA just can’t get it quite right with the men’s venue on a consistent basis: Southern locations with small crowds or inappropriate stadiums and cold-weather spots in quality stadiums but dodgy conditions.

Best venues over the past 20 years: Davidson, N.C. (1992-94), Richmond, Va. (1995-98), and Santa Barbara, Calif. (2010).