The biggest third-round match in the NCAA Division I Women's Tournament pits a pair of Olympic gold-medalists in action when Lauren Cheney's UCLA hosts Amy Rodriguez's USC Saturday in Westwood. Last year, they met in the Women's College Cup semifinals, where the Women of Troy prevailed, 2-1. The Bruins were crushed, having had their hopes of a title after five straight College Cup appearances dashed. USC went on to win the national championship two days later.
Once again, UCLA is the favorite. It is undefeated at 20-0-2 and beat USC, 2-1, in a game that drew almost 8,000 fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Cheney and Kristina Larsen lead the Bruins in scoring with 10 goals each. Rodriguez, part of deep senior class, leads USC with nine goals.
The game could come down to goalkeepers.
USC's Kristin Olsen has been hot of late, securing two shutouts at Oregon and Oregon State on the final day of the regular season and winning the shootout at BYU last Saturday in the second round.
UCLA's Ashley Thompson has 12 shutouts in her first season as the No. 1 keeper. She red-shirted as a freshman and then spent three seasons a backup.