Connect with us

Analysis

A brief guide to the 2014 Women’s College Cup

The College Cup is here and there will be a new champion crowned on Sunday after UCLA’s ousting at the hands of Virginia in the quarterfinals last week. Virginia, Texas A&M and Florida State are all in search of their first national championship in women’s soccer, while Stanford has eyes on a second title in four seasons.

The four teams enter the College Cup a combined 86-6-6 on the season and all but Virginia — a No. 2 seed who took out top seeded UCLA in the Bruins’ region — are No. 1 seeds. It’s the cream of the crop, just as it should be.

Virginia will play Texas A&M in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU, with Florida State facing Stanford in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Both games — and Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET final (ESPNU) are at FAU Stadium on the campus of Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla.

However great all four teams are, they enter the College Cup as unique entities with varying levels of experience and different approaches. Here’s the 101 on each squad:

Virginia:

Arguably the team with the most talented individual players, Virginia is the only men’s or women’s team in the country to place three players — 2013 winner Morgan Brian and teammates Makenzy Doniak and Danielle Colaprico — on the semifinalists list for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy. We told you back in September that coach Steve Swanson’s job was to balance all his talent and flow of players (mainly Brian) coming and going. He’s done that thus far, but this has been the ceiling for the Cavaliers in the past, falling in the semifinals in 1991 and last year. In Brian the Cavs have the most experienced U.S. senior international in the college game, and there’s a distinct pressure to win now.

Texas A&M:

This is the best-ever senior class for the Aggies, compiling a record of 75-18-7 over their career to bring them into the final weekend of the season for the first time ever. Allie Bailey, Bianca Brinson, Jordan Day, Leigh Edwards, Shea Groom, Annie Kunz, Renee McDermott, Kelley Monogue and Meghan Streight account for that crop of talented seniors. This is hardly a program that has come out of nowhere — tallying 11 straight 15-win seasons under a coach who is fifth among active coaches in victories and winning percentage — but they are new to the College Cup. Monogue leads A&M with six goals in this tournament.

Florida State:

Just like every season, this may as well be Florida International (that’s a real — and different college — but you get the point). Mark Krikorian’s team has built its success on foreign players, but just like Virginia, the College Cup has been a stumbling point. FSU lost the 2007 final, and this is FSU’s fourth straight College Cup and eighth overall. They lost in the semifinals each of the last three years. Surely something has to give, right? There’s no better time than now with the College Cup in their home state in Boca Raton. One key stat: FSU hasn’t given up a goal in 450 minutes — a five-game shutout streak.

Stanford:

Experience is the word, and much like Texas A&M, there are plenty of seniors playing big roles for the Cardinal. Senior Lo’eau LaBonta leads the way with 13 goals (seven game-winners) and five assists, while Chioma Ubogagu and Taylor Uhl have 10 goals each this season. The young name to keep an eye on is freshman Andi Sullivan, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and captain of the U.S. U-20 World Cup team this summer (a team that fell out in the quarterfinals). Stanford leads the all-time series against FSU, 2-0, including a 3-0 win in the 2011 semifinal that propelled the Cardinal to a national championship.

 

Comments

Your account

MORE EXTRA


More in Analysis