NCAA women's soccer finals preview
The GIST: After yesterday’s epic semifinal battles, the Power Five pitches are ready for Sunday’s conference championships. Here’s how it happened.
ACC: The No. 8 Duke Blue Devils did their damndest yesterday, taking No. 2 UNC through 110 minutes of scoreless hell before falling to the Tar Heels in penalty kicks. Facing UNC in Sunday’s 12 p.m. ET final? Reigning natty champ No. 5 Florida State, who performed a semifinal exorcism of their own, also besting No. 4 Notre Dame in penalty kicks last night.
Big Ten: Sunday’s final pits a dynasty against a newcomer. Eight-time conference tourney champ No. 21 Penn State beat No. 12 Northwestern 2–0 in yesterday’s semifinal. They’ll face No. 6 Michigan State, who took down Nebraska 2–1 to book their first-ever ticket to the final. Tune into BTN at 2 p.m. ET to see if beginner’s luck is real.
Big 12: It’s no secret that West Virginia can climb, but the Mountaineers shocked No. 16 Texas yesterday, knocking the top seed out of the tourney with a 1–0 dub. Their next uphill battle? No. 17 TCU, whose 3–0 win over Oklahoma yesterday set Sunday’s 2 p.m. ET final stage.
SEC: To no one’s surprise, top-seeded No. 3 Alabama will kick it in Sunday’s 2 p.m. ET final after taking down Vanderbilt 2–1 in yesterday’s semi. Meeting them on the pitch? No. 13 South Carolina, who battled Georgia through a double-overtime 1–1 draw, but nabbed both the dub in penalty kicks and the chance to make the Crimson bleed.
Pac-12: The Pac-12 may not host a tourney, but that means their regular season champ earns the NCAA tourney bid. That season ends tonight, with the No. 1 UCLA Bruins playing No. 14 USC, and the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal facing Cal. If the Bruins win, they’ll be champs regardless of the Cardinal’s outcome.
- But if they lose or draw and Stanford wins, it’ll be the Trees on top. If Stanford draws, they’ll need UCLA to lose to grab the championship. Yes, we know.
It’s raining men: The fellas will also kick off their conference tourneys this weekend. There are only two Power Five tourneys: The Big Ten, whose quarter-finals (QFs) begin today, and the ACC, whose QF action kicks off Sunday. Hope you like gouda.