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The nation's best offense takes on best defense
December 6th, 2013 4:24AM

TAGS:  college women


[WOMEN'S COLLEGE CUP: Virginia-UCLA] It will the nation's top offense against the top defense as Virginia plays Pac-12 champion UCLA in the Women's College Cup Friday in Cary, N.C. (TV: ESPNU, live, 7:30 pm ET). In her first season in charge of UCLA, Amanda Cromwell will go up against her alma mater, Virginia, whose only loss in 25 games came in the ACC semifinals against Virginia Tech after one of the greatest regular-season performances in women's college history.

UCLA. The Bruins (21-1-2) have been to the College Cup more times than any other team in Cary, but they've been major disappointments in the final four. They had a streak of seven consecutive College Cup appearances (2003-09) but they've still not won the national title in eight trips and only reached the final three times.

This year could be different under Cromwell, who engineered a 1-0 overtime win at defending champion North Carolina in the quarterfinals. Two years ago at UCF, her Knights also knocked off UNC in the playoffs.

Freshman Darian Jenkins leads UCLA with 11 goals. Taylor Smith, whose goal beat UNC, is second on the team with eight. Jenkins (27 points), Smith (26) and Sam Mewis (21) are UCLA’s first trio of 20-point scorers since 2009 when the Bruins featured current U.S. national team stars Sydney Leroux and Lauren Cheney.

If anyone can shut down high-scoring Virginia, it could be UCLA. Bruin goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland leads the nation in goals-against average (0.257) and supported by a backline led by central defender Abby Dahlkemper.

UCLA is so deep it has a pair of Olympians, Canadian Chelsea Stewart and Rosie White of New Zealand, come off the bench. Stewart and starting defender Ally Courtnall give the Bruins two daughters of former NHL players. Both grew up in the United States but play for Canada.

0 Katelyn Rowland JR. Vacaville, Calif.
3 Caprice Dydasco JR. Honolulu, Haw.
8 Abby Dahlkemper JR. Menlo Park, Calif.
21 Megan Oyster JR. Naperville, Ill.
42 Ally Courtnall JR. Westlake Village, Calif.
7 Jenna Richmond SR. Centreville, Va.
10 Kodi Lavrusky SOPH. Yucaipa, Calif.
22 Sam Mewis JR. Hanson, Mass.
16 Sarah Killion JR. Fort Wayne, Ind.
11 Darian Jenkins FR. Riverton, Utah
14 Taylor Smith SOPH. Fort Worth, Texas
13 Rosie White JR. New Zealand
19 Chelsea Stewart SR. Highlands Ranch, Colo.
27 Gabbi Miranda FR. Highlands Ranch, Colo.
77 Courtney Proctor SO. Santa Clarita, Calif.

VIRGINIA. Whatever happens this weekend, there is not doubt this is the best team the Cavaliers have ever assembled. In one of the greatest feats in ACC history, they swept their regular-season slate in a conference that sent six teams to the quarterfinals and claimed all four No. 1 regional berths.

Virginia (24-1-0) leads the nation with an average of 3.08 goals per game. The Cavs, who outscored their opponents 77-15, are led by Player of the Year candidate Morgan Brian with 46 points (16 goals, 14 assists), but Makenzy Doniak (19 goals, to go along with six assists for 44 points) and Brittany Ratcliffe (12 goals) give the Cavs multiple weapons in attack.

Coach Steve Swanson looks to win his first national college title a year after leading the USA to an Under-20 World Cup championship.

A win over UCLA would a first for UVa in postseason play. It lost to the Bruins three times in the past decade in Los Angeles.

0 Morgan Stearns FR. San Antonio, Texas
10 Annie Steinlage SR. Grand Haven, Mich.
12 Shasta Fisher SR. Saugus, Calif.
13 Molly Menchel SR. Alexandria, Va.
16 Emily Sonnett SOPH. Marietta, Ga.
2 Kate Norbo SR. Roanoke, Va.
4 Morgan Stith SR. Montclair, N.J.
6 Morgan Brian JR. St. Simons Island, Ga.
24 Danielle Colaprico JR. Freehold, N.J.
7 Gloria Douglas SR. Fayetteville, N.C.
9 Makenzy Doniak SOPH. Chino Hills, Calif.
3 Amber Fry SR. Northfield, Ill.
8 Alexis Shaffer FR. Cary, N.C.
11 Brittany Ratcliffe SOPH. Williamstown, N.J.
18 Morgan Reuther FR. Chantilly, Va.

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