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  • Writer's pictureEmma Treptow

Elite Eight: Three Top Stories from Each Section of the Bracket about How We Got Here

The elite eight kicks off on Friday as the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament is in full swing. From upsets to large goal differentials, overtime, and penalty kicks, there has been no lack of excitement in the last two weeks as teams battle out for the title of National Champion. Let’s look at the top moments for the tournament so far this year:


Top Left Quadrant:

Top four seeds included 1. Florida State, 2. Saint Louis, 3. Arkansas, 4. Pittsburgh

  1. Unranked Memphis upsets #2 Saint Louis 1-0.

Saorla Miller was the difference maker, scoring with under 27 minutes remaining in the second half. Miller is a senior and has only scored 12 total goals in her career, with two of those coming from this year’s tournament.

Memphis was able to continue their upset streak alive with a second-round win over Mississippi State, winning 4-0.

  1. Florida State is still dominant, winning 3-0 over Pitt

Pitt, the #4 team in the quadrant, beat Georgetown in the second round after hanging on to a first-half lead but FSU proved to be too much for the Panthers. The Seminoles are the defending champions and they are certainly playing as such. Their quarterfinal game against Arkansas is such to be a thriller. Florida State has also beaten Florida Gulf Coast 3-0 in the first round and #8 LSU 4-1 in the second round. Scoring ten goals and only conceding one in three games is quite impressive and FSU is certainly a national champion contender again this season.

  1. Arkansas holds off upset-minded Memphis

Memphis was looking to continue their Cinderella story after beating Saint Louis and Mississippi State but Arkansas wasn’t for it. The Razorbacks and Tigers battled to a 3-3 draw before overtime and penalties. Arkansas prevailed on PKs 3-2, sending Memphis home but those Tigers should be proud of their run. Arkansas plays the defending champion, Florida State in the quarterfinals on November 26, 2022, at 5:00 PM.


Bottom Left Quadrant:

Top four seeds included 1. Notre Dame, 2. UNC, 3. Stanford, 4. Michigan State

  1. Michigan State holds off unranked Milwaukee 3-2

Michigan State are first-time Big Ten regular season champions, finishing with an undefeated record. They faced Milwaukee, champions of the Horizon League, in the first record and were taken all the way to double overtime. Milwaukee started the scoring before MSU fired back with two unanswered in the second half. With 20 seconds remaining, Milwaukee scored the game-tying goal before Michigan State went on to win in overtime off a goal from Camryn Evans. Michigan State, unfortunately, ended their season in the next round after losing to TCU 1-0.

  1. #6 BYU beats #3 Stanford on PKs

BYU and Stanford know each other well, both teams have been very successful in recent years but the underdog reigned supreme in their second-round matchup this season. Both teams recorded first-half goals and then went scoreless throughout the second half and two overtime periods.

On the fifth and final penalty for Stanford, BYU goalkeeper Savanna Mason saved the PK from Elise Evans. BYU’s Ellie Maughan put her PK away, sending BYU into the next round 5-4 on penalties. BYU lost to powerhouse UNC 3-2 in the next round.

  1. Notre Dame has scored 11 goals in three games, recording 3 shutouts

Top-ranked Notre Dame is showing us all why they received the number one bid. They have scored 11 goals in three games and kept a shutout in all three games as well. After putting five past Ohama in the first round, they met #8 Santa Clara who they swept off the floor, beating them 4-0. The Fighting Irish saw the fifth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs in the third round, beating them 2-0. Korbin Albert has three goals and one assist while Olivia Wingate has three goals as well. Albert scored a brace against Santa Clara after Wingate scored her own against Ohama. Notre Dame is set to face long-time powerhouse UNC in the quarterfinals on November 26, 2022, at 6:00 PM. UNC last made the semifinals in 2020 whereas Notre Dame hasn’t been since 2010. Will it be Notre Dame’s time again or will the powerhouse prevail?


Top Right Quadrant:

Top four seeds included 1. Alabama, 2. Duke, 3. South Carolina, 4. Southern California

  1. UC Irvine and Brown hold off seeds 4 and 5 to advance

No one expected a UCI and Brown matchup in the second round but these teams came out ready. Irvine played the University of Southern California (USC) in the first round, beating them 2-0. USC was ranked #4 in their quadrant and was looking to go deep into the tournament but Irvine had other plans. Just as Brown did for the Big Ten’s Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. #5 in this quadrant, Rutgers was the 2021 Big Ten regular season champions and made it to the Final Four last season. This season did not go their way and Brown kicking them out in the first round certainly added to that. Ava Seelenfreund scored with ten minutes left in the game for the Bears, sending them to the second round. UCI ended up beating Brown in their matchup on PKs, before advancing to play Alabama in the third round.

  1. Alabama beats Jackson State 9-0

Top-seeded Alabama showed us why they deserve that top spot with a dominant 9-0 win over Jackson State in the opening round. The biggest margin of victory in the tournament this year, the Tide had eight different goal scorers with only Riley Mattingly Parker getting on the score sheet twice. Alabama went into the locker room at half up 3-0 before racking up another six in the second half. The Tide will face their toughest task of the tournament as they meet #2 Duke in the quarterfinals on November 25, 2022, at 7:00 PM.

  1. South Carolina beats Harvard in a five-goal thriller

South Carolina came out ready against Harvard, with three first-half goals. Forward Catherine Barry scored a brace in 20 minutes to put South Carolina up 3-0 at the half.

Despite Harvard having a mountain to climb in the second half, they were able to eliminate most of the deficit but it wasn’t quite enough. Defender Jordan Di Verniero scored with three minutes remaining for Harvard but they were unable to find a third to force overtime against the #3 team in their quadrant. South Carolina then fell to Duke in the following round 2-1.


Bottom Right Quadrant:

Top four seeds included 1. UCLA, 2. Penn State, 3. UVA, 4. Northwestern

  1. Xavier and Vanderbilt find upsets against #6 Tennessee and #5 Clemson

Xavier was able to find their burst of energy in overtime, beating #6 Tennessee 4-1 after double overtime. This past spring, the NCAA removed the sudden-victory or “golden goal” competent in the conference and NCAA postseason games. This allows for teams to play out two full ten-minute periods. Xavier was able to find three goals in overtime pushing them into the next round before falling to UVA 3-1. Peyton Cutshall of Vanderbilt was the hero as the Commodores pushed past #5 Clemson Tigers.

Cutshall scored with 20 minutes remaining and Vanderbilt was able to hang out, upsetting their southern rival. Vanderbilt moved on to fall to #4 Northwestern of the Big Ten 2-1.

  1. UCLA scraps by past UCF on PKs

UCLA has shown their dominance throughout this season, beating UNC and Duke within the same weekend earlier in the year but UCF put up a challenge for the Bruins. The game finished 1-1 in regulation before PKs. UCLA made all three of their penalties while UCF failed to convert any. Despite their PK sweep, this game showed a weak spot for the Bruins and a margin of error. They will look to keep it clean and collected when they battle UVA in the quarterfinals on November 26, 2022, at 9:00 PM after a win over Northwestern in the third round.

  1. UVA beats Penn State in OT 3-2

Penn State won the Big Ten tournament whereas Virginia fell to Duke in the first round but the ACC proved victorious in this matchup. With three goals in less than 20 minutes late in the second half, we had a thriller on our hands in Happy Valley. The teams went back and forth with goals, Penn State’s Payton Linnehan scoring halfway through the first half. Jill Flammia opened the scoring for the Cavaliers in the second half before the Nittany Lions struck back through Amelia White. Virginia’s Maya Carter scored the equalizer with just three minutes remaining in regulation. Haley Hopkins scored the game-winner in University Park just three minutes into overtime. Penn State failed to find an answer and UVA is moving on. UVA will play top-ranked UCLA in the quarterfinals on November 26, 2022, at 9:00 PM.


The full quarterfinals schedule looks as such and can also be found on WSX socials accounts (@wsportsxchange):

Date

Home Team

Away Team

Time (EST)

Where to watch

11/25/22

Alabama

Duke

7:00 PM

ESPN+

11/26/22

Florida State

Arkansas

5:00 PM

ESPN+

11/26/22

Notre Dame

UNC

6:00 PM

ESPN+

11/26/22

UCLA

Virginia

9:00 PM

ESPN+


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