The Cavaliers had to overcome multiple second-half deficits as well as freezing weather conditions at Penn State this past weekend to keep their season alive. With a trip to the College Cup at stake, their next game should have at least slightly better weather.
At 9:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, No. 3 Virginia (16-3-3) meets No. 1 UCLA (19-2-1) in the NCAA Women’s Quarterfinals at Wallis Annenberg Stadium in Los Angeles , California Football Championship. The winner advances to the College Cup in Cary, North Carolina.
Virginia is making her 29th straight NCAA tournament appearance and 35th straight season, the second most in NCAA women’s soccer history. This is UVA’s ninth trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals and the Cavaliers are seeking their fifth College Cup appearance. Virginia last went to the College Cup in the spring of 2021. The Cavaliers have only reached the national title game once and are arguably the best program never to win a national championship. In short, the Hoos are long overdue for a national title run.
To make a return trip to the College Cup, UVA must defeat the UCLA Bruins on their home turf, a feat unmatched this season as the Bruins are 11-0-1 at home. UCLA is entering its 26th NCAA Tournament and is looking for a 12th trip to the College Cup. The Bruins are four-time national runners-up and won the 2013 NCAA National Championship.
UCLA and Virginia have met 11 times and seven of those games have been in the NCAA tournament. UCLA leads the all-time streak 6-3-2, including a 5-1-1 lead over UVA in NCAAs. At the last meeting in 2017, UCLA defeated Virginia 2-1 in the round of 16.
Both teams endured a dramatic match on their respective journeys to the Elite Eight. UCLA defeated Northern Arizona 4-1 in the first round but then needed penalties to elude UCF in the second round before defeating Northwestern 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. Virginia defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 4-0 and Xavier 3-1 in the first and second rounds. In the third round on a freezing Sunday night at Penn State, the Cavaliers trailed 1-0 and 2-1 in the second half but came back to equalize both times to send the game into overtime. Haley Hopkins scored the winner in first overtime to send UVA through to the quarterfinals.
Virginia is battle-hardened in the ACC, which has once again proven to be the best conference in women’s football. Of the eight remaining teams in the NCAA women’s soccer championship, five are members of the ACC, including the three teams responsible for UVA’s three losses this season – Notre Dame, Florida State and Duke. UCLA also has some experience with the ACC this season, as the Bruins picked up back-to-back wins at Duke and North Carolina in a single weekend in early September. Virginia has also defeated the Blue Devils and Tar Heels on the road this season.
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Both teams are very talented and well trained. UCLA placed nine on the Pac-12 All-Conference Teams, including Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Lilly Reale, who was named to the Pac-12 First Team by Reilyn Turner and Quincy McMahon. Virginia had five players who earned All-ACC selections, led by Lia Godfrey, who earned first-team All-ACC honors for the second year in a row.
The winner of Virginia and UCLA meets the winner of No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Duke in the semifinals of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.
Schedule of the Quarterfinals of the Women’s Football Championship
11/25 at 7 p.m.: #1 Alabama vs. #2 Duke
11/26 at 5 p.m.: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 3 Arkansas
11/26 at 5 p.m.: No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 North Carolina
11/26 at 9 p.m.: #1 UCLA vs. #3 Virginia
Virginia meets UCLA at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday and the game will be televised on ESPN+.
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