The weekend NCAA women’s soccer has been waiting for is here, as the final four assemble at Torero Stadium in San Diego, CA to compete for the highly anticipated 2012 College Cup.
Prior to the semis, No. 1 seeds Florida State, Penn State, Stanford and the surprise No. 2 North Carolina discuss what’s on everyone’s mind this weekend, from the journey to the cup, the impending farewell of the senior greats and of course, a little dose of drama. It’s gearing up to be a College Cup for the books! No need to fret, as GotSoccer reports on all of the weekend’s juicy highlights.
Stanford will take on North Carolina Friday in a match pitting the Cup favorite against the ACC legend. Head coach Paul Radcliffe looked at ease when asked about the difficult journey to get to the cup stating, “It’s been a good year so far with a strong senior class.” But when questioned about whether or not The Cardinals could possibly one day have a history to match North Carolina, Radcliffe felt confident that it would be “very difficult to replicate” and he would be “shocked” if any team could capture the 20 Cup titles the Tar Heels have been able to accomplish in establishing their deep rooted legacy.
Meanwhile, North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance makes it clear that the team is “just happy to be here.”
After a win in penalty kicks against BYU handed the No. 2 seed a coveted final four slot, Dorrance contributed the driving force behind the win to luck, telling GotSoccer, “With how a team progresses in a single elimination event like this, there were many times that we could have been eliminated.”
Flanked by seniors, Amber Brooks, Kealia Ohai and junior Crystal Dunn, the team seemed excited about the weekend events, undaunted by the pressure of their impeccable Tar Heel reputation.
“There’s such a great tradition with this school that I think any girl who wanted to come to this school had in their mind that they wanted to win a national championship,” said Dunn. “Why not put on this jersey and think that you have to uphold the tradition.”
Penn State and Florida State gear up for their match, with histories that intertwine like rope. Penn Head Coach, Erica Walsh, who was also the 2005 FSU assistant coach, hits on that hot topic, and discusses goal keeper Erin McNulty tie to the Seminoles as well. “It seems like a million years ago at this point, and I think it’s the same for Erin. We’re here, we’re with this program, and Erin would do anything for these players and this university.”
Both teams have loads of College Cup experience, and a steady 2012 season progression. FSA head coach Mark Krikorian lends their success to “consistency” and believes that “There are some ups and some downs, but our group had persevered, and we are thrilled to be back here in the College Cup.”
Penn State has some plans of their own- if they advance, this will be their first time making it to the finals in school history. Do they have what it takes? Senior Christine Dunn sums it up pretty nicely. “We’re prepared, we’ve done a ton of video and we’ve learned more about ourselves in this past tournament then we have all season. So we’re ready and may the best team win.”