While many sports fans in Los Angeles were at the Coliseum Saturday night for the UCLA – USC football game, it was a great night at Drake Stadium where the UCLA women came back from an early Portland goal to win the NCAA quarterfinal soccer game 2-1.
With the win last night, the Bruins advanced to their seventh consecutive NCAA Women’s College Cup. And, for the first time since 1986, the previous year’s field returns intact. The only difference this weekend, 12 months after North Carolina beat Stanford and Notre Dame beat UCLA in the 2008 semifinals, is the draw: Stanford and UCLA meet in a Pac-10 rematch and North Carolina and Notre Dame meet in a rematch of both last season’s championship game and a 6-0 win for the Tar Heels in South Bend three months ago.
One of the constants for the Bruins over the last four years has been the stellar play of forward Lauren Cheney. Cheney and sophomore forward Sydney Leroux are part of a potent offense that is averaging 2.91 goals per game (10th in nation). Both players have scored over 40 points this season, becoming the first UCLA tandem to accomplish the feat. They have combined for 85 of 195 of the team’s points, or 43.5 percent of UCLA’s scoring.
The finals will be played next weekend in College Station, Texas.
Check out this video recap of the UCLA-Portland game with former Bruin all-star Jill Oakes. Note we missed the early Portland goal – which happened about 2 minutes into the game (sorry, we were still setting up) but you’ll see lots of great action by two of the top collegiate teams.