2019 College Cup Preview

(Photo Credit: Rand Bleimeister/UCLA)

Four Aussies across three teams remain in the hunt for an NCAA Division I Championship as the tournament reaches the semi-final stage. For Beattie Goad, it will be a chance to pick up a second title in four years, whilst Teagan Micah will be looking to go one better than a championship game loss to Goad and Stanford in 2017. Meanwhile, for Micah’s UCLA teammate Rachel Lowe and Washington State backup goalkeeper Aly Hay, this weekend provides an opportunity to round out their freshman seasons in the best way possible.

Washington State (Aly Hay) v North Carolina

11:00am, Saturday December 7

Live on watchESPN

Let’s take a look at the list of boilovers that Washington State have produced in this NCAA Tournament, shall we?

#1 Virginia? Check.

#2 South Carolina? Check.

#1 seed and 21-time College Cup champions North Carolina? Well, why not? When you’ve already knocked off two of the top eight teams in the nation, there is little reason to believe you can’t do it for a third time, and Washington State have the chance to do exactly that against the most storied program in NCAA women’s soccer and one of the most decorated in all of college sports.

The Cougars have hit top form at the perfect time, reaching the College Cup for the first time in program history on the back of a dream run that has seen them knock off a pair of seeds on the road as well as nationally ranked Memphis and an elite West Virginia squad that is just three years removed from playing in the national championship game. Star forward Morgan Weaver is showing the kind of form that made her a US Under-23 national team camp call-up, whilst being ably supported by Makamae Gomera-Stevens and Mackenzie Frimpong-Ellertson, both of whom have scored vital goals in this tournament. Gomera-Stevens scored the only goal against Memphis in the first round, whilst Frimpong-Ellertson tallied the winner in the 3-2 win over Virginia, a game in which Gomera-Stevens also added an assist on the Cougars’ opener. The Cougars also feature an elite level player between the sticks, with program legend Ella Dederick continuing to play a massive role for Washington State in goal. The senior has been pivotal in the Cougars’ rise, and it is fair to say that without Dederick at the back, the team would not be even close to this position.

North Carolina come into this game missing one of their star players after Emily Fox tore her ACL during their Elite Eight win over USC, but the Tar Heels roster is, as per usual, utterly stacked with talent. Alessia Russo and Brianna Pinto stand alongside Fox as MAC Hermann Trophy semi-finalists, whilst players such as Taylor Otto, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Bridgette Andrzejewski can also be considered among the top players in the nation. Add in the coaching of 21-time national champion Anson Dorrance, and the Tar Heels provide a formidable foe for all opponents.

It won’t be easy for Washington State, but neither was defeating South Carolina or Virginia, and they managed to get past both of those teams.

Stanford (Beattie Goad) v UCLA (Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah)

1:30pm, Saturday December 7

Live on watchESPN

The matchup that has defined this era of College Matildas, Teagan Micah and Beattie Goad face off for the sixth time in four years, whilst Rachel Lowe is set to face Stanford for the first time after missing the regular season contest due to Young Matildas commitments. However, the history of the matchup doesn’t make pretty reading for the Bruins or their Aussies. Zero wins, five losses, six goals scored, eleven conceded.

But despite that dismal record, three of those losses have come in 3-2 results, making the Bruins one of the few teams that have been able to put multiple goals past Stanford in recent seasons. That also means that the other two losses have come in 1-0 games as UCLA have stifled the Stanford attack at times. What they haven’t been able to do in any of these games is score goals and hold Stanford at bay at the same time.

Teagan Micah will be bidding to keep her college career alive with a win in this game, and the senior goalkeeper will likely prove crucial to UCLA’s chances. One of the top custodians in the nation, Micah has been ever-reliable for the Bruins since the opening game of her freshman season, and remains one of the main reasons UCLA find themselves in the position they are in. Meanwhile, Rachel Lowe has been known to provide a spark off the bench, and whilst these games often see coaches run with a short rotation, there may yet come an opportunity for the freshman.

For Stanford, it will be a case of ‘more of the same, please!’ as the Cardinal look to continue their utterly dominant 2019 campaign. Having scored 98 goals and conceded just 11 in 23 games this season, the mere blip that was an early September loss to Pepperdine is now well and truly in the rearview mirror. Stanford went through the Pac-12 season undefeated, demonstrating that even the toughest conference in the nation is no match for their power. That included a 1-0 win over UCLA, the only match in which they did not score multiple goals and one of just two in which the final margin was only a single goal.

However, even in that game, Stanford conceded the princely sum of zero shots on target to UCLA as Maya Doms’ looping header proved sufficient to secure victory. The Cardinal won’t want to rely on completely suffocating the Bruins’ attack again though, and with their attack averaging 4.26 goals per game, they will not only be hoping, but expecting to give Micah a hell of a time between the sticks. Featuring as part of that attacking behemoth will be senior midfielder Beattie Goad. The Victorian has bounced between the starting lineup and making an impact off the bench throughout the season, but has performed admirably the many roles in which she has been deployed in 2019. Already with an assist in the tournament on a wicked corner against BYU, Goad sits at equal fifth in that category for Stanford with six for the season alongside three goals. UCLA may concede just 0.7 goals per game, but that number won’t even register for Stanford as they look to do what they’ve done all season – bang in a multitude of goals for fun.

NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Wrap

(Photo: Stanford Athletics)

We’ve had Aussies in the national championship game. We’ve had Aussies face off against each other in the national championship game. What we’ve never had is three teams with Aussies on the roster in the College Cup semi-finals.

UNTIL NOW.

UCLA and Stanford rolled to dominant victories on Saturday, whilst Washington State eked out another upset in overtime against South Carolina to see Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah, Beattie Goad, and Aly Hay all book their tickets to San Jose for the College Cup.

UCLA (Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah)

Elite Eight: defeated Florida State 4-0

Mike Tyson once said ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,’ and UCLA certainly punched first in their Elite Eight match against Florida State in Tallahassee. Three goals in just over half an hour to open the game turned what was meant to be a tight contest into a blowout even before halftime.

Chloe Castaneda was the early hero for the Bruins, opening the scoring in the eighth minute with a close-range volley to set the visitors on their way. The redshirt senior followed up just 12 minutes later, turning her defender inside out before finishing across the goalkeeper with a pinpoint finish.

Freshman sensation Mia Fishel all but wrapped the game up with still 13 minutes remaining in the first half. Latching onto an Ashley Sanchez ball, Fishel slotted home, beating the onrushing goalkeeper put the Bruins up 3-0 as Florida State found themselves without an answer for the Bruins’ dominance.

Fishel then added a fourth for the Bruins after halftime as the visitors cruised to victory. Teagan Micah was forced into just two saves as UCLA thoroughly shut down the Seminoles, whilst Rachel Lowe saw 28 minutes of action off the bench as the Bruins rolled into a College Cup semi-final against either Stanford or BYU, who would face off just two hours after the Bruins’ game wrapped up.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

Elite Eight: defeated BYU 5-1

Stanford had been utterly ruthless in reaching the Elite Eight, but one would be forgiven for thinking that a game against #2 seed BYU would be slightly closer. It wasn’t to be, though. Stanford rode roughshod over the Cougars in the first half, opening up a 4-0 lead to secure their place in the College Cup semi-finals with still 45 minutes to play.

Catarina Macario continued her absurdly dominant season with two goals inside the opening 30 minutes to send Stanford on their way. Even at that point, the game was all but a foregone conclusion as BYU attempted to score at least two goals against a side averaging less than half a goal conceded per game.

Kiki Pickett chalked up a 3rd to extend the lead in the 41st minute, and when Beattie Goad whipped in a killer corner which was nodded on for Sam Tran to finish just two minutes later, a 4-0 halftime lead had Stanford fans checking the Caltrain timetable for the short trip to San Jose.

However, Stanford weren’t done there. Sophomore star Sophia Smith forced an own goal in the early minutes of the second half, and although BYU managed a consolation 27 minutes from time, Stanford were hardly troubled in rolling into a College Cup semi-final against UCLA.

Beattie Goad saw 32 minutes of action off the bench, with her most valuable contribution coming in her first half cameo with the assist on the Cardinal’s fourth goal.

Washington State (Aly Hay)

Elite Eight: defeated South Carolina 1-0 (OT)

UCLA and Stanford may have done it easy, but unseeded Washington State were never likely to be gifted such a comfortable path on the road at #2 seed South Carolina. In a back-and-forth game, both teams had their chances, but taking advantage of those chances proved to be a different story entirely.

Both teams finished the game with 15 shots, but despite those opportunities, the goalkeepers were largely untested. Washington State stalwart Ella Dederick was forced into just two saves, whilst South Carolina custodian Mikayla Krzeczowski faced only four shots on target.

However, that fourth shot on target for the Cougars proved to be the game-winner. Having ridden out a period of dominance from South Carolina at the back end of the second half, Washington State came up with a 96th minute goal as Mykiaa Minniss buried a corner into the roof of the net, sending the Cougars into delirium.

The win continued a dream run for Washington State, who have now knocked off a top seed in Virginia as well as a #2 seed in South Carolina on the way to their first College Cup appearance in program history.

As expected, freshman backup goalkeeper Aly Hay did not feature for the Cougars.

NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Preview

(Photo: Percy Anderson/UCLA)

Having started the NCAA Tournament with just five teams featuring Aussies, three remain alive as we head into the Elite Eight. Wins for UCLA and Stanford would see the two sides meet in the College Cup semi-finals, whilst Washington State look to keep a dream run going on the road at South Carolina.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

Elite Eight: v BYU – 10am, Saturday November 30

Live on Stanford Live Stream

Stanford have won 16 games in a row since their sole loss of the season to Pepperdine in September, but their Elite Eight opponent won’t make it easy for the Cardinal to make it 17 on the trot. Whilst BYU play in the West Coast Conference, a slightly weaker conference than Stanford’s Pac-12, the Cougars have ridden roughshod over their entire schedule in 2019. Sitting on a 21-0-1 record, BYU are one of the few teams in the nation with a better record than Stanford, with wins over Santa Clara, Kansas, and Texas A&M among those victories. Stanford will certainly come into this game as favourites as they look to extend their 4-0 all-time record against BYU to 5-0, but this game shapes to be by far their toughest test of the NCAA Tournament to this point. The Cougars feature a trio of attackers that have combined for 48 goals this season, led by 20-goal striker Elise Flake, one of the deadliest forwards going around. Shutting Flake down, which not many teams have been able to do this season, shapes to play a large part in Stanford getting the win.

However, the Cardinal are led by the undoubted top player in the nation in Catarina Macario, who has not only banged in 30 goals but also assisted on 23 more this season. Backed up by the likes of Sophia Smith and Madison Haley, who have combined for 25 goals and 18 assists, Stanford have notched 93 goals in 21 games this season. With a defence that has shipped just 10 goals in 2019, Stanford look primed for a return trip to the College Cup and potentially a second national championship in three seasons.

Beattie Goad appears set for another cameo off the bench this weekend, and will look to add to her three goals and five assists for the season as the senior’s college career approaches its conclusion after four outstanding seasons.

UCLA (Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah)

Elite Eight: @ Florida State – 6am, Saturday November 30

Live on ACC Network Extra (US Only)

UCLA have already beaten Florida State once this season, but that game was in Los Angeles. This time, the Bruins will travel to Tallahassee for a rematch against the Seminoles in a game with far more on the line than their non-conference game in late August. Since that game, Florida State’s three losses have all come against other teams that secured #1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament, falling twice to Virginia and once to North Carolina. However, whilst the Seminoles may have home ground advantage and the #1 next to their name, that hasn’t always translated to success in this tournament. Unseeded Washington State have already knocked off Virginia in the Round of 32, and UCLA come into this game with far more of a chance than the Cougars were given in that contest.

In fact, given the numbers posted by both teams this season, one could argue that on a neutral pitch, UCLA would be the favourites in this one. They have narrowly outscored Florida State this season, whilst conceding just 0.73 goals per game whereas the Seminoles have conceded a single goal per contest. In a weekend featuring three #1 v #2 matchups, this shapes as the tightest of them all.

Senior goalkeeper Teagan Micah shapes to be pivotal for the Bruins if they are to earn their way into the College Cup semi-finals for the second time in three seasons. The Matildas goalkeeper hasn’t always been required to perform heavy duties between the sticks this season, but when she has, Micah has regularly performed admirably. It will also be intriguing to see what role Rachel Lowe plays this weekend. The freshman has played extended minutes in UCLA’s dominant victories to this point, but how much action Lowe sees in a potential nail-biter remains to be seen.

Washington State (Aly Hay)

Elite Eight: @ South Carolina – 10am, Saturday November 30

Live on SEC Network Plus (US Only)

They’ve already beaten a #1 seed on the road in Virginia, and now Washington State look to repeat the dose against #2 seed South Carolina and reach the College Cup for the first time in program history. With just one loss this season and an SEC tournament title under their belt, South Carolina have continued their run of elite seasons in recent times, and are yet to concede a goal in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, the Gamecocks rank third in the nation in shutout percentage, keeping 17 clean sheets in 24 games so far this season.

Fortunately, Washington State’s attackers are in blistering form at the moment. With six goals across their last two games, the Cougars are hitting their straps at the perfect time to make a run at the College Cup. US Under-23 national squad member Morgan Weaver has tallied 3 goals and an assist in that time, whilst Makamae Gomera-Stevens has popped up with a goal and an assist of her own to help lead Washington State to this point. South Carolina won’t be an easy defence to penetrate, but the Cougars are in the kind of form that could see them keep this run of upsets going. Having Ella Dederick between the sticks helps too – there aren’t many goalkeepers out there that you’d prefer to have keeping you safe in a game where a clean sheet might be your only chance of securing victory without going to penalties.

There also aren’t many better goalkeepers around for a young backup to learn from, which is exactly what Aussie freshman Aly Hay continues to do as she prepares for a crack at the top job next season.

NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Wrap

(Photo: Rand Bleimeister/UCLA)

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

Sweet Sixteen: defeated Penn State 2-0

Penn State had already run Stanford close once this season, and looking at the scoreline, a 2-0 Stanford victory suggests that Penn State were in the contest for much of the 90 minutes. However, in actual fact, Stanford dominated for the entire match. The Cardinal outshot their opponents 35-1, with only a 12-save performance from Penn State goalkeeper Amanda Dennis preventing Stanford from piling up the goals. A 30th minute goal from Catarina Macario handed Stanford the lead, and although the second goal didn’t arrive until the 65th minute through Maya Doms, the Cardinal were hardly troubled. Penn State rarely looked like challenging goalkeeper Katie Meyer, who was not required to make a single save as Stanford marched into the Elite Eight and a matchup against BYU.

Beattie Goad once again came off the bench for Stanford, playing 24 minutes in the win.

UCLA (Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah)

Sweet Sixteen: defeated Wisconsin 2-0

UCLA weren’t quite as dominant in attack as Stanford in securing their own 2-0 win over a Big Ten opponent in the form of Wisconsin, but their defence was on point throughout the 90 minutes. Teagan Micah was forced into just one save in a complete game performance, with Wisconsin managing just three shots all game. At the other end, UCLA blazed away with 17 shots as the Bruins peppered Badgers goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer, who made seven saves. A team with UCLA’s attacking class rarely wastes such a dominant performance, and when Mia Fishel slotted home in the 49th minute, UCLA had one foot in the door. A wicked free kick into the top corner from Viviana Villacorta followed just four minutes later, and with Wisconsin showing few signs of pulling back one goal, let alone two, the Bruins rolled into the Elite Eight to face defending champions Florida State in Tallahassee. UCLA have already beaten Florida State once this season, winning 2-1 in Los Angeles.

Alongside Teagan Micah’s 90-minute effort, freshman Rachel Lowe played 13 minutes off the bench, tallying a shot on target in the process.

Washington State (Aly Hay)

Sweet Sixteen: defeated West Virginia 3-0

The only Sweet Sixteen game between two unseeded teams, this clash between Washington State and West Virginia appeared wide open coming into the game. It would be Washington State who got off to a flyer, with Makamae Gomera-Stevens scoring the opener in the 15th minute to set the Cougars on their way. West Virginia had their chances throughout the contest, finishing with five shots on target, but star goalkeeper Ella Dederick was up to the task on each occasion. Meanwhile, at the other end, Washington State’s attack was lethal in the second half. Goals in the 64th and 71st minutes to Morgan Weaver secured the 3-0 win as the Cougars peppered West Virginia goalkeeper Rylee Foster with ten shots on target as they set up an Elite Eight meeting with #2 seed South Carolina.

Ella Dederick continued to stand tall between the posts, leaving Aly Hay and her fellow backup goalkeepers to watch and learn from a Cougars legend once again.

NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Preview

(Photo: Bill Dally/ISIPhotos.com)

And then there were three. Every Pac-12 team featuring on Aussie on its roster has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, and there is no reason to think all three won’t make it to the Elite Eight. However, there are some tantalising matchups on the board, including two rematches of regular season contests.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

Sweet Sixteen: v Penn State – 8am, Monday November 25

Live on Pac-12 Network

Stanford have been utterly dominant throughout the first two rounds, scoring 19 goals and conceding a grand total of zero. However, this game against Penn State shapes as a tasty encounter for the neutrals and a potential heartstopper for fans of the Cardinal and Nittany Lions. Stanford do have the wood on Penn State so far this season, with the teams meeting in the season opener. The Cardinal won that game 2-1, outshooting the home side 17-9 in the process. With this game being played on Stanford’s home patch, one would be forgiven for expecting Stanford to just keep marching on as they have done for most of this season. However, Penn State didn’t earn a #4 seed being mediocre, winning the Big Ten tournament before knocking off Arizona 4-3 in overtime in the NCAA Tournament second round.

UCLA (Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah)

Sweet Sixteen: v Wisconsin – 11am, Monday November 25

Live on UCLA Live Stream

UCLA haven’t quite been as dominant as Stanford, but with 4-1 and 5-0 wins under their belt to this point, the Bruins are in outstanding form heading into their contest with Wisconsin. This game also represents a rematch of a regular season fixture, with the Bruins and Badgers facing off on UCLA’s home patch in September. UCLA won that game 1-0 in a remarkably tight game, with Teagan Micah forced to make five saves in a match-saving performance. With UCLA a #2 seed for the tournament and Wisconsin a #3 seed, this shapes as potentially one of the tightest of the eight games in the Sweet Sixteen.

Teagan Micah has been largely untested in the opening two rounds, but plenty shapes to change in this fixture. The senior has already proven crucial to one UCLA victory in a game between these teams, and it would not be a surprise to anyone if the Matildas World Cup squad member reprises that role in this contest. Rachel Lowe also enjoyed an extended stint on the pitch in the demolition of Clemson in the second round, but the freshman’s minutes against Wisconsin may depend on the scoreline at any particular time.

Washington State (Aly Hay)

Sweet Sixteen: v West Virginia – 9am, Monday November 25

Live on ACC Network Extra (US Only)

Washington State produced one of the upsets of the tournament to get to this point, defeating #1 seed Virginia, giving the Cougars every reason to be confident heading into this fixture against West Virginia. However, that won’t make the contest against the Mountaineers an easy one, with West Virginia comfortably handling Georgetown 2-0 in the first round before edging to a 1-0 overtime win against Central Connecticut State in the second round. Just three years removed from a national championship game appearance, West Virginia may not be the same team they were then, but they are still in the nation’s top echelon. However, Washington State are probably a better side than their lack of seeding suggests, with a number of elite players on the roster. The draw has partially opened up for them with their defeat of Virginia, but they now have to take advantage.

Once again, it is highly unlikely that we see Aly Hay take to the pitch as the Cougars’ third-string goalkeeper, but as a freshman, that is hardly cause for concern at this stage.

NCAA Tournament Second Round Wrap

(Photo: Rand Bleimeister/UCLA)

We started with five, and three teams featuring Aussies remain alive following the second round of the NCAA Tournament. All three Pac-12 teams advanced, with UCLA and Stanford cruising, and Washington State securing a deserved upset over #1 seed Virginia in a thrilling encounter.

Stanford (Beattie Goad) v Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson Carr)

Final Score: Stanford defeated Hofstra 4-0

Three Aussies featured across the two rosters in what would be the final college game for either Beattie Goad or Monique Iannella. Eventually, it was Goad, the only one of the three to take to the pitch, and Stanford who secured the 4-0 victory courtesy of a second-half barrage. Hofstra had largely kept Stanford in check throughout the first 45 minutes, with a third-minute goal for Madison Haley the only tally of the first half. However, three goals in the space of less than four minutes blew the game wide open as Stanford’s one-goal advantage became four in the blink of an eye. With no more goals forthcoming, the Cardinal would cruise to a spot in the Sweet Sixteen, whilst Hofstra’s season came to an end.

Beattie Goad was the only Aussie to see any playing time, finishing with a pair of shots in a 46-minute outing off the bench.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

Second Round: lost 3-2 to Michigan

A whirlwind start and a whirlwind finish kept this game exciting throughout the contest, but in the end, Demi Koulizakis and her Texas Tech side bowed out of the competition, bringing an end to Koulizakis’ college career. The Red Raiders shipped a goal early to fall in a 1-0 hole, but responded almost just as quickly to knot things up at 1-1 after 22 minutes. Michigan would add goals in the 63rd and 84th minutes to put themselves up 3-1, but Texas Tech refused to lie down. It was Koulizakis herself providing the assist on Savanna Jones’ 89th minute goal to ensure a frenetic last couple of minutes, but Michigan held on for the 3-2 victory to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Koulizakis would play 67 minutes in what turned out to be her final college game, tallying a shot as well as the assist for her team’s second goal.

UCLA (Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah)

Second Round: defeated Clemson 5-0

Clemson had found it tough to score in their opening round game against Vanderbilt, progressing on penalties after a 0-0 draw, and little changed against Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah, and UCLA. There was just one little problem for the Tigers: UCLA had far more success than Vanderbilt at putting the ball in the back of the net. With the scoreboard reading 4-0 at halftime, the game was effectively over as a contest by the time the teams headed to the locker rooms. A fifth goal nine minutes from time ensured that the Bruins would have more goals than Teagan Micah would have saves, as the senior shut down Clemson on four occasions in a complete game performance.

Rachel Lowe enjoyed an extended stint off the bench, playing 53 minutes in midfield in the rout.

Washington State (Aly Hay)

Second Round: defeated Virginia 3-2

In one of the most exciting matches of a day filled with thrillers, Washington State managed to pull out the upset over #1 seed Virginia. The Cougars opened up a 1-0 lead just 12 minutes into the contest, only to be pulled back by the Cavaliers just 6 minutes later. Star attacker Morgan Weaver would restore Washington State’s advantage on the half-hour mark, but Virginia came out firing after halftime and it seemed all but inevitable that an equaliser would follow. Just seven minutes into the second half, the goal came to tie the game at 2-2, but there would be one final twist in the tale. With just 8 minutes to play, Weaver teed up MacKenzie Frimpong-Ellertson for what would turn out to be the winning goal in a famous upset victory on the road.

As backup goalkeeper, Aly Hay did not feature for the Cougars as star custodian Ella Dederick played out the full 90 minutes.

NCAA Tournament Second Round Preview

(Photo: Rand Bleimeister/UCLA)

With five teams featuring Aussies still alive in the NCAA Tournament, a quarter of all games on Saturday will feature at least one Australian. Stanford and Hofstra face off, guaranteeing a path through to the Sweet Sixteen for at least one Australian. Meanwhile, UCLA and Texas Tech come into their games as favourites, whilst Washington State have a real chance of springing an upset against top-seeded Virginia.

Hofstra (Monique Iannella, Grace Watson Carr)

Second Round: @ Stanford – 2pm, Saturday November 23

Live on Stanford Live Stream

Hofstra only just managed to sneak through their first round fixture against Loyola Chicago in overtime, and things won’t get any easier as they travel to #1 seed Stanford for their second round match. Having manage just one goal on fifteen shots in their tournament opener, the Pride will need to be far more ruthless in taking what few chances the Stanford defence may offer, as it is highly unlikely they will get another fifteen opportunities. At the other end, keeping Loyola Chicago to just four shots on target was an encouraging start. The Hofstra defence will need to pull out a performance at least on that level if they are to slow down the rampant Stanford attack, which is in red-hot form at the moment. If Hofstra did win, it wouldn’t be the first time a top-seeded Stanford side lost in the second round in recent years; Santa Clara knocked the Cardinal out in overtime in 2016 after Andi Sullivan’s ACL injury forced the US national team midfielder out of the game.

Unfortunately, we are unlikely to see backup goalkeeper Grace Watson Carr in this game, whilst Monique Iannella misses out through injury.

Stanford (Beattie Goad)

Second Round: v Hofstra – 2pm, Saturday November 23

Live on Stanford Live Stream

If Hofstra are underdogs against Stanford, that must mean that Beattie Goad’s side come into the game as favourites. Having banged home 15 goals in a record-shattering performance against Prairie View A&M, the Cardinal are in ruthless form of late. Stanford came into the tournament on the back of a perfect Pac-12 season, with their only loss to date coming on the road at Pepperdine early in the campaign. Should Stanford not get too far ahead of themselves, they ought to roll to a solid victory by multiple goals onto a matchup against Arizona or Penn State in the Sweet Sixteen.

Beattie Goad earned a start against Prairie View A&M, tallying three shots on target in her time on the pitch. The senior has been in solid form of late, and is proving to be crucial to Stanford’s chances of securing a second national title in three years.

Texas Tech (Demi Koulizakis)

Second Round: v Michigan – 8am, Saturday November 23

Live on ESPN3 (US Only)

Texas Tech eked out a shootout victory over Pepperdine in the first round, and now face a Michigan side that struggled to get out of its own way against Bowling Green in their own tournament opener. The Red Raiders started well against Pepperdine, taking an early 2-0 lead before allowing Pepperdine to tie things up at 2-2 with goals either side of halftime. However, having come through a heart-stopping penalty shootout in which goalkeeper Madison White came up with saves on Pepperdine’s final two shots to secure the win, Texas Tech will be looking to put together a more clinical performance across the 90 minutes.

Michigan may have needed a winner 11 minutes from time to escape with a win against Bowling Green, but don’t be fooled by that performance. The Wolverines have dropped just five games this season, and have wins over Penn State, Washington State, and Rutgers among their 16 victories to this point. They are certainly a top-notch side, and on a neutral field in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, anything could happen. But if Demi Koulizakis and the Texas Tech attack can start the way they did against Pepperdine, don’t expect the Red Raiders to slip up and let their opponents back into the game again.

UCLA (Rachel Lowe, Teagan Micah)

Second Round: v Clemson – 3pm, Saturday November 23

Live on UCLA Live Stream

UCLA were barely troubled in their 4-1 first round victory over Lamar, but things won’t be quite so easy against Clemson, who won their way through on penalties against Vanderbilt in the first round. The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Commodores in the first round, allowing just six shots on target in the 0-0 draw after 110 minutes. However, that was their first clean sheet in 11 games as their attack generally got the job done, scoring multiple goals on five of those occasions.

It will be interesting to see which Clemson side comes out – the one that we’ve seen for most of the season, or the one that produced a goalless game less than a week ago. Not that UCLA will mind either way – their attack can break down even the stingiest of defences, and a defence backed up by Teagan Micah will make life hard for Clemson’s attack. Nonetheless, the Bruins will have to be at or near their best to get past what could be a tricky contest.

Teagan Micah will almost certainly once again start for the Bruins as the senior looks to return to the College Cup for the second time in three seasons. Meanwhile, Rachel Lowe’s performance off the bench against Lamar was highly encouraging, and may just have earned the freshman extended minutes this weekend.

Washington State (Aly Hay)

Second Round: @ Virginia – 11am, Saturday November 23

Live on ACC Network Extra (US Only)

When the opposition has the big #1 next to their name in the bracket, and you don’t have a number next to your name at all, it’s safe to say that you’re coming into the game as outsiders. Somehow, it’s not likely that Virginia’s status as a top seed in their quarter of the bracket will faze Washington State one iota. The Cougars have played a number of ranked teams close this season, defeating California in overtime, and dropping one-goal decisions to Arizona and UCLA in the regular season. A 1-0 win over #14 Memphis in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament brought Washington State to this point, and they have every right to be confident in their ability to spring an upset.

Of course, it won’t be easy by any stretch. Virginia’s only loss this season came to fellow national #1 seed North Carolina, having cut a swathe through the powerful ACC as well as a non-conference schedule that featured three more ranked teams. But the Cougars feature one of the top goalkeepers in the nation in Ella Dederick, and an attack featuring an elite forward in Morgan Weaver. It might take Dederick standing on her head to keep Washington State in the game, but if Weaver gets her chance, you can just about back her in to take it.

As a backup goalkeeper, it is doubtful that we will see Aly Hay take to the field in this game as the freshman gains experience training alongside Dederick this season.