NCAA D1 Women’s Soccer Tournament Guide
The Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament is on Friday
UCLA senior forward Hailie Mace helped the USWNT defeat Panama 5-0 during the group stage of the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship. (Photo credit: Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com)
UCLA senior forward Hailie Mace helped the USWNT defeat Panama 5-0 during the group stage of the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship. (Photo credit: Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com)

The Quarterfinal stage is set for the NCAA division 1 women’s soccer tournament. The second and third rounds concluded this past weekend, and now just eight teams remain. The four winning teams will get to punch their ticket to the 2018 College Cup at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina on Friday, Nov. 30.

As the NWSL season takes a break for the offseason, the teams have started to shift their focus towards the 2019 NWSL season. The first order of business: the 2019 NWSL College Draft. From conference tournament play, to the NCAA Tournament and College Cup, these are always exciting platforms to scope out the future talent in the NWSL.

Here’s your guide to the NCAA Tournament, including who’s playing who, when and what players to be on the look out for:


Tournament Schedule

All quarterfinal games are being played on Friday, Nov. 23 or Saturday, Nov. 24. NWSL on Lifetime editorial director Jen Cooper has been keeping track of where to watch all the games.

 

No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 2 Tennessee |TBD

No. 1 Georgetown vs. No. 2 Baylor| TBD

Penn State v. No. 1 Florida State | TBD

No.  2 UCLA vs. No. 1 North Carolina | TBD

 

View the full bracket

 

 

The quarterfinals feature four single-elimination games at non-predetermined sites. The winning teams advance to the College Cup on Friday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 2 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.

 


Players to Watch

Last season, Stanford won the College Cup, beating UCLA 3-2. Stanford midfielder Andi Sullivan went on to be the first overall draft pick at the 2018 NWSL College Draft and was selected by the Washington Spirit. This year, will another senior out of Stanford go No. 1 at the NWSL College Draft?

In the second and third rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Stanford first beat Ole Miss 4-1 and then blanked Wisconsin 1-0. Cardinal defender Alana Cook is a player to watch. The senior has led Stanford to an unbeaten 20-0-2 record this year. Cook contributed an assist in both wins.

Stanford teammate Catarina Macario is also a face to watch. The sophomore forward has 13 goals and seven assists this season. Macario scored her 13th goal of the season against Ole Miss and also added an assist in the same game.

Before clinching their fifth-straight Pac-12 title, Macario did this against Washington State:

UCLA is another team in the Pac-12 conference that flew through the first, second and third rounds. The Bruins soared past San Jose State, Minnesota and North Carolina State, all by a score of 5-0, to advance to the quarterfinals.

Senior forward Hailie Mace made her first U.S. women’s national team senior cap on April 8 vs. Mexico and is a potential top 2019 NWSL College Draft pick as we approach January. Mace has seven goals and six assists this season. Mace chipped in two assists against San Jose State in the NCAA first round.

Other Bruins worth noting are junior Jessie Flemming and sophomore Ashley Sanchez. Flemming, like Mace, was competing at the Concacaf Women’s Championship in October and helped Canada punch a ticket to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sanchez has also had quite the run this season, scoring 10 goals and adding 14 assists. Flemming has five goals and five assists this season and scored twice in the Bruins 5-0 result against NC State.

[Read more: Canada, U.S. qualify for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup]

The North Carolina Tar Heels continue to be one of the most dominant programs in women’s college soccer, and holding down the backline and all over the field this season is senior defender Julia Ashley. Ashley led her team to an undefeated ACC record and an impressive overall record of 20-3-1. The Tar Heels clinched the ACC regular season title and are headed to the quarterfinals after a 3-0 result against Virginia Tech in the third round. Ashley made an assist on the opening goal against Virginia Tech, which puts her at 10 assists this season. Ashley has also scored four times.

Tennessee forward Bunny Shaw first led Jamaica to their first Women’s World Cup berth last month at the Concacaf Championship with a shutout win over Panama, and now the Volunteer senior is wrapping up her final collegiate season. Shaw has scored 13 goals and made six assists this year for Tennessee. Shaw, right after returning from her national team duties, scored the overtime game-winner over LSU on Oct. 18 — and then delivered again for her college side, adding two assists and a goal against Texas A&M three nights later. Most recently, Shaw chipped in two assists to help her team cruise past Texas A&M 3-0 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in program history.

Georgetown dominated the Big East this season and is undefeated to date at 20-0-3. Graduate student Kyra Carusa made a different name for herself this season, having played the previous three college seasons for Stanford. This past weekend, Caruso scored and made an assist in the NCAA third round to lead her team past Duke 4-1. Caruso has scored nine goals and made ten assists.

Deyna Castellanos out of Florida State has been a name on everyone’s radar since she joined the Seminoles two years ago. Castellanos, a junior forward this year and a member of the Venezuelan national team, is cruising heading into the postseason. Castellanos helped Florida State win the 2018 ACC Championship. The Seminoles defeated USC in penalty kicks (5-4) to advance to the quarterfinals.

For the second-straight year, Baylor has moved on to the Elite Eight. The Bears defeated Virginia 2-1 on Sunday to earn their 13th win at home this season, without a loss. Senior midfielder Julie James led the way for the Bears, scoring her 10th goal of the season against Virginia. James is tied for first in scoring on her team with junior forward Camryn Wendlandt.

Penn State senior forward Marissa Sheva’s goal pushed the No. 14 Nittany Lions past Wake Forest 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. This was Sheva’s third game-winning goal of the season and her fourth on the year.

 

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