The NCAA College Cup Championship is coming to a close, with the semifinals being played later this week, where Stanford will take on South Carolina and Duke will take on UCLA. Since this tournament has been filled with exciting moments, jaw dropping goals, and heartbreaking upsets, I don’t see the semifinals and final being any different. Each team has shown why they could take home this trophy, so let’s look at how each team could potentially go back to their colleges as champions.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are no strangers to winning, seeing as they’ve gone 19-2-1 this season, only losing against Wake Forest and Arkansas. They’ve shown they have an incredible defense, recording 17 shutouts for the season. Savannah McCaskill will also be expected to show up against Stanford, as she’s one of South Carolina’s most gifted midfielders. In her entire career at South Carolina, McCaskill has played and started 91 games, scored 40 goals, recorded 34 assists and earned 114 points. There’s no doubt we’ll be seeing some of that firepower when the Gamecocks take on Stanford.
Everyone who reads my articles know that I’m slightly biased towards Stanford- but they have their work cut off for them when they take on South Carolina. If they want to make it to the finals they need to bring it all on Friday- including their star midfielder, defender, and forward. Andi Sullivan, Catarina Macario, and Tierna Davidson will be expected to help carry the team to victory over the Gamecocks, having won Midfielder of the Year, Freshman and Forward of the Year, and Defender of the Year respectively.
The UCLA Bruins come into these semifinals with confidence- currently on a 6 game win streak thanks to their amazing team play. Players Ashley Sanchez and Jessie Fleming are expected to shine against Duke- each player bringing a certain mentality to the field. Sanchez, being only a freshman, has started 21 out of the 22 games she played, scoring 6 goals and recording 12 assists for the year. Fleming, coming back from camp with Canada where they played in two friendlies against the United States, has played 40 games in her UCLA career, scoring 16 goals and earning 13 assists in her two years. Both players will be expected to make an impact when they take on the Blue Devils.
Duke will come out strong against UCLA, hungry for a trophy after their loss in the final of the ACC Championship. They still have one of the best records, going 23-2 in all games, only losing to North Carolina in the UNC Nike Classic and again in the ACC Championship Final. The Blue Devils are coming off strong offensively in the NCAA Championship- scoring 15 goals in 5 games, coming off their most recent win of 4-0 against Baylor. If Duke continues their domination offense against UCLA, I see quite a few goals coming from the Bruins and the Blue Devils.
Although all four teams show potential to win the final, only one of them will be able to take the trophy home. The semifinals are another step of this long journey for all four teams, but only two will make it to the final. Make sure to tune in on Friday to watch the Stanford Cardinals face off against South Carolina Gamecocks and the Duke Blue Devils taking on the UCLA Bruins.