Paul Kennedy previews the Women's College Cup
[UCLA PREVIEW] This is the fifth straight year UCLA has reached the Women's College Cup, and the Bruins are still looking for their first championship.
What means this weekend will be different in College Station?
UCLA takes a 22-game unbeaten streak into Friday's semifinal game against USC.
In a final four loaded with individual talent, the Bruins may have the nation's best match-winner in sophomore Lauren Cheney,who has scored 22 goals in 22 games.
She single-handedly led the Bruins back from the brink against Virginia in the third round, beating several Cavalier defenders to set up Kristina Larsen for the tying goal with seven minutes left in regulation and winning the game with a golden goal in overtime.
The return of Canadian Kara Lang, who missed last season with a knee injury and the first part of the 2007 season to play in the Women's World Cup, has given the Bruins greater depth than in recent years. Lang came off bench in the quarterfinals and scored the second goal against Portland in UCLA's 3-2 overtime win.
"Kara brought us a fighting personality and leadership role that launched us in the second half of the season," said assistant coach B.J. Snow, who represented UCLA at the pre-Women's College Cup press conference in the place of the ailing head coach Jillian Ellis.
But the biggest factor in the '07 Bruins' favor may be their attitude.
UCLA players agreed that the comebacks against Virginia and Portland marked a change from the performances in recent College Cups when they'd hang their heads after falling behind.
NOTABLE. UCLA is only the third school in Division I women's soccer history to be making five straight appearances in the NCAA College Cup. North Carolina (1982-2003) and Massachusetts (1983-87) are the other two schools.
1 Valerie Henderson (SR Orinda, Calif.) 0.54 GAA
10 Lauren Wilmoth (SO Garland, Texas) 1-9-11
12 Erin Hardy (JR Costa Mesa, Calif.) 0-0-0
23 Dea Cook(SO Acampo, Calif.) 0-0-0
3 Lauren Barnes (FR Upland, Calif.) 1-3-5
5 Christina DiMartino (JR Massapequa, N.Y.) 6-12-24
6 McCall Zerboni(JR San Clemente, Calif.) 1-4-6
18 Kylie Wright(FR Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) 0-2-2
8 Lauren Cheney (SO Indianapolis, Ind.) 22-11-55
9 Danesha Adams (SR Shaker Heights, Ohio) 15-8-38
15 Kara Lang (SO Canada) 7-3-17
20 Kristina Larsen (SO Mission Viejo, Calif.) 5-1-11
4 Blake Zerboni (JR San Clemente, Calif.) 0-1-1
22 Dana Wall (FR Scottsdale, Ariz.) 0-0-0
14 Catherine Calvert(JR Malibu, Calif.) 0-0-0