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Elite Eight set for NCAA D-I women’s tournament

Virginia coach Steve Swanson. (Photo Copyright Steve Bruno for The Equalizer)

Virginia coach Steve Swanson. (Photo Copyright Steve Bruno for The Equalizer)

With the NCAA tournament now down to the Elite Eight, only seven games remain in the 2015 collegiate soccer season. Here’s a look at some of the major talking points as the remaining 32 teams from the first week were whittled down to eight.

All Four of Last Year’s College Cup Participants Still in the Mix

Florida State, Virginia, Stanford and Texas A&M are all still alive for the second-to-last weekend of collegiate soccer action this year. The fact that Florida State, Virginia and Stanford — three No. 1 seeds — are through to the Elite Eight is less than shocking. In addition to having some of the best records going into the tournament, No.1 seeds also have the advantage of playing at home until the College Cup. The real shock in this group is Texas A&M, who didn’t earn a seed in the tournament and lost the majority of its starting lineup from a season ago. In fact, the Aggies are the only non-seeded team remaining in the tournament after upsetting North Carolina on Friday in the second round and beating Mississippi on PKs in the third round. All four of these teams cannot advance to Cary, N.C. for the final weekend, however, as Texas A&M and Florida State face each other in Tallahassee on Friday.

Four Seeded Teams Fall in Crazy Friday of Action

Friday ended the College Cup run of four seeded teams, all from the ACC. Clemson, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and North Carolina all fell to lower-ranked opponents. Of the four teams, only Notre Dame fell by multiple goals, losing to Connecticut 2-0. After going three-for-seven in the second round, the ACC went three-for-three Sunday with Duke advancing to the Elite Eight in addition to the aforementioned Florida State and Virginia.

Loyola Marymount’s Remarkable Run Ends

Every year there seems to be a team that makes it farther than just about anyone would have predicted. This year that team was Loyola Marymount, who upended No. 3 seed California in the first round and Minnesota in the second round. The Lions’ run ended in Morgantown on Sunday at the hands of West Virginia. Loyola Marymount didn’t go down quietly, however, battling back from behind to equalize twice before Mountaineers forward Kailey Utley scored a hat trick in less than a half an hour to propel her team into the Elite Eight. Sunday marked the first time West Virginia allowed multiple goals in a match in nearly three months.

Ole Miss survives and is eliminated on penalties in same weekend

It’s often said that penalties are the cruelest way to decide a game in all of sports. The Rebels experienced a penalty shootout from both the perspective of the victor and the vanquished this weekend. On Friday, Mississippi downed No. 2 seed Clemson in a shootout, 5-4, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history. Sunday, the Rebels saw their season end in the same fashion losing to fellow SEC program Texas A&M. Coincidentally, the scoreline from the shootout in Sunday’s match was also 5-4.

Third-Round Scores

Florida State 2, Auburn 0

Texas A&M 1*, Mississippi 1

Duke 2, Florida 1

Stanford 3, Arizona 0

Penn State 4, Ohio State 0

West Virginia 5, Loyola Marymount 2

Rutgers 4, Connecticut 0

Virginia 2, Southern California 0

Second-Round Scores

Florida State 5, So. Alabama 0

Auburn 3, Texas Tech 2

Texas A&M 1, North Carolina 0

Mississippi 1*, Clemson 1

Florida 5, William & Mary 2

Duke 2, Florida Gulf Coast 0

Arizona 2, Santa Clara 0

Stanford 2, Brigham Young 1

Penn State 6, Boston U 0

Ohio State 1, Virginia Tech 0

Loyola Marymount 1, Minnesota 0

West Virginia 4, Northwestern 0

Rutgers 2, Hofstra 0

Connecticut 2, Notre Dame 0

Southern California 3, Princeton 0

Virginia 2, North Carolina Wilmington 0

* Advanced on Penalties


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