Los Angeles Soccer: Wake Forest
Long Beach State's unprecedented run through the NCAA Division I women's soccer tournament came to its conclusion against a faster, stronger, better team. That didn't make it any easier to accept.
The 49ers bowed in a quarterfinal Friday night to Duke, which claimed a College Cup berth with a 2-0 victory in Durham, N.C., capping its dominance with two fine second-half goals to reach the final four the first time since 1992.
Long Beach (18-6-1) stayed level until the 67th minute, but its failure to create much of an attack -- with just three shots (to Duke's 15) and none on frame -- meant it was going to take something very special to add to NCAA victories over Pepperdine, Miami and San Diego with an upset of the third-ranked Blue Devils (21-3-1).
“They were very athletic, more so than my kids,” 49ers coach Mauricio Ingrassia told ESPN Los Angeles afterward. “Normally, we get to the ball quicker or we hang in the air higher. They just had some beastly athletes -- and good soccer players. End of the day, we did very well to give ourselves a shot.”
Duke will meet Wake Forest (18-3-4), a 3-0 winner over Central Florida, in a semifinal next Friday in Kennesaw, Ga. A third Atlantic Coast Conference team, Florida State (18-6-1), routed ACC rival Virginia, 3-0, and will face top-ranked Stanford (23-0-1), which beat Oklahoma State, 2-1, in overtime.
Duke was explosive on the flanks, especially through Mollie Pathman on the left, and moved the ball impressively, but Long Beach stayed in the game by surviving Kelly Cobb's blast off the crossbar in the 22nd minute and through strong play by center backs Jordan Nelson (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS and Loyola Marymount) and Alex Balcer and goalkeeper Kaitlyn Gustaves (Long Beach/Wilson HS).
GOLETA -- Akron should have won the NCAA men's soccer title a year ago. The Zips made amends Sunday, dominating top-ranked Louisville in the College Cup final at UC Santa Barbara and holding on for a 1-0 triumph.
Louisville (20-1-3), massively outplayed, especially in the second half, was unfortunate not to win. The Cardinals were denied a clear penalty kick midway through the first half and nearly netted a late winner, halted only by two desperation saves.
Akron (22-1-2), which fell on penalties to Virginia in last year's final, dictated nearly every phase of play in the second half, using a weaving passing game to trigger waves of attacks and spend most of half in or in front of Louisville's box.
It led to eight corner kicks in the half, and Scott Caldwell finished off one of them in the 79th minute.
Bests, worsts and so forth:
BEST PLAYER: Darlington Nagbe's finishing touch was off, but he was at the heart of Akron's attack all day, opening space for teammates and teaming with playmaker Anthony Ampaipitakwong to connect the dots through Louisville's defense. He set up chances by Michael Nanchoff and Darren Mattocks and fired just wide of the post, but our favorite moment: Nagbe, surrounded at midfield, twirls out of trouble and streaks forward, feeding Kofi Sarkodie on the right flank. The sequence ended with a foul, and the Zips did nothing with the free kick.
Three more we liked: Austin Berry, the backbone of Louisville's backline; Ampaipitakwong, the faux-hawked maestro who makes the Zips zip; and Nanchoff, the left-footer next to “Ampai” whose crosses cause havoc.
The 16th-ranked Anteaters (19-2-2) will meet Washington (12-8-2) next weekend in the third round. The Huskies stunned second-ranked Portland on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw.
Portland was one of two national No. 1 seeds to lose Sunday. Maryland was beaten on penalties by Georgetown.
Taylor (Buena Park/Sunny Hills HS) tallied in the 12th minute, her team-best 11th goal of the season, and set up CoCo Goodson in the 71st, her ninth, as the UCI prevailed in a tight, defensive battle.
No. 21 Wake Forest (13-8-3) managed just five shots, and only two of them on target, against a defense led by Goodson and midfielder Judy Christopher (Ontario/Upland HS).
TROJANS TRUMPED: Rose Augustin and Lauren Fowlkes scored in the first nine minutes, and seventh-ranked Notre Dame (17-2-2) romped to a 4-0 victory over No. 22 USC (13-6-3) in a Division I second-round game in South Bend, Ind.
Augustin scored in the eighth minute and Fowlkes in the ninth for the Irish, a No. 2 regional seed who gave what coach Randy Waldrum called “probably our most complete 90-minute performance of the season” to advance to a third-round game next weekend against third-ranked North Carolina (19-2-2), the defending national champion and a regional No. 1 seed.
Fowlkes also assisted goals by Melissa Henderson in the 58th minute and Adriana Leon in the 71st.
UCLA GETS NO. 1: UCLA (13-7-2), which beat Central Florida in a second-round game Saturday, heads north to face No. 1 Stanford (20-0-2) in the third round. The Cardinal held off Santa Clara, 2-1, as Marjani Hing-Glover and Alina Garciamendez scored goals.
NO AUTOMATIC FOR LMU: A late goal by Bryan Burke (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS) lifted San Francisco to a 1-0 victory at Loyola Marymount, costing the Lions (12-6-2) the West Coast Conference's automatic berth in the NCAA Division I men's tournament.
The Lions, who clinched a share of the WCC title with a victory Friday over St. Mary's, will await their fate when NCAA pairings are announced Monday. Santa Clara, which beat Gonzaga, 2-0, on Sunday, is the WCC's top seed because it went 1-0-1 against LMU this season.
REDLANDS ROMPS AGAIN: Surprising Redlands stomped host Cal Lutheran in a women's Division III second-round win, its second victory in 11 days over the Regals.
Fionna Connolly scored her third goal of the NCAA tournament and team-best 12th of the season to start the Bulldogs (12-9-0) toward a 3-0 romp over Cal Lu (18-3-1), which held a commanding 18-4 advantage in shots.
Connolly scored in the seventh minute, Chelsea Hafley (Redlands/Redlands HS) doubled the advantage in the 60th, and Jaimie Morton put the game out of reach with a strike in the 68th.
Redlands will play next weekend at second-ranked Hardin-Simmons (21-0-0) in Abilene, Texas.
NAIA BERTHS: Golden State Athletic Conference champion Vanguard (13-7-0) opens the NAIA men's tournament with a rematch of the conference tournament final, against Azusa Pacific (16-4-1).
Vanguard, which routed the Cougars, 3-0, on Saturday, is unseeded and will play at APU, whioch is seeded 13th. Cal Baptist (15-4-0) is seeded 11th and will be home for next Saturday's opening round against Holy Names (11-5-2).
GSAC champ Azusa Pacific is seeded third, The Master's (16-2-2) sixth and Cal Baptist (13-5-2) 11th for the NAIA women's tournament, and all received home assignments for the first round.
APU will open against William Jessup (11-4-3); TMC, from Santa Clarita, will meet Maine-Fort Kent (19-2-0); and CBU, from Riverside, will take Texas' Northwood (15-3-1).
Saturday's winners will advance to the 16-team, five-game-in-six-days finals, with the men playing at Orange Beach, Ala., and the women at Decatur, Ala.
USC and UC Irvine moved on with opening-round wins Friday in the NCAA Division I women's tournament, but Long Beach State was eliminated despite dominating play against Santa Clara.
Two local men's teams -- Cal State San Bernardino and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps -- were beaten in their NCAA openers.
TROJANS ROLL: USC methodically built a three-goal lead and cruised into the second round of the Division I tournament with a 3-1 triumph over Illinois in South Bend, Ind.
Ashley Freyer scored in the 31st minute, Ashli Sandoval (Jamul/Granite Hills HS) in the 56th and Samantha Johnson (Palmdale/Highland HS) in the 76th for the Women of Troy (13-5-3), who Sunday will face host Notre Dame (16-2-2), a 3-0 winner over New Mexico.
Freyer finished from a ball over the Illini backline by Brittany Kerridge, Sandoval scored on a 50-yard free kick to the upper-right corner, and Johnson tallied from a feed by Courtney Garcia (Yorba Linda/Esperanza HS).
ANTEATERS RALLY: Devon Delarosa scored goals two minutes apart and No. 16 UC Irvine rallied to beat Arizona State, 2-1, in a Division I opener before a school-record crowd of 1,058 at Anteater Stadium.
UCLA's and UC Irvine's women's teams Monday were awarded home assignments for the first two rounds of the NCAA Division I tournament, but neither was among the 16 national seeded teams.
Economic decisions prodded the NCAA Women's Soccer Committee, with five Southern California schools in the 64-team field, to bring fourth-seeded Wake Forest and Central Florida to the Southland for quartets featuring three Western schools.
Big West Conference tournament champion Long Beach State was given a tough assignment, opening against Santa Clara in top-ranked Stanford's quartet, and USC was shipped to South Bend, Ind., where it will open against Illinois.
All first-round games are Friday and second-rounders Sunday except at UCLA, which will play on Thursday and Saturday because the quartet includes Brigham Young, which does not play on Sundays.