The Division I NCAA women’s soccer tournament kicks off on Friday, with first-round games scattered around the country.
Here are five burning questions ahead of the postseason.
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Who are the favorites?
There are few surprises when surveying the women’s D-I tournament field. Stanford, Virginia, Florida State and North Carolina are the No. 1 seeds, and all have relatively clear paths – with perhaps a few speeds bumps in the way – to a spot at College Cup in San Jose.
But it goes beyond just that quartet when sizing up potential winners. UCLA is the No. 2 seed in Florida State’s bracket, a scenario that the Bruins won’t necessarily hate, having beaten the Seminoles earlier this season in Los Angeles. Even USC, while perhaps a bit off kilter in the final weeks of the regular season, has a talented and experienced roster to lean on. Fellow No. 2 seed BYU sits in the shadow of Stanford’s quadrant, but hasn’t lost a game in 2019. It’s unclear just how good they are, but a quarterfinal matchup in Palo Alto isn’t out of the question.
Staying in that corner of the bracket, Arkansas is going to have a say against the Cougars in a potential third-round clash. The Razorbacks are a tough out, and the lone team to beat North Carolina this season. Fellow SEC side South Carolina, which won the conference tournament, boasts one of the best defenses in the nation.
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