Women's College Cup: Four No. 1 seeds attract sellout for semifinals

Friday's Women's College Cup semifinals are sold out at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.

Friday, November 30
Georgetown (21-0-3) vs. North Carolina (20-3-2), 5 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Stanford (21-0-2) vs. Florida State (18-4-3), 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

The presence of North Carolina, which played most of its home games this season in Cary while its new soccer stadium was being finished, certainly helped, but this year's final four is quite a field. This is the first time since 2011 that all four No. 1 regional seeds have advanced to the national semifinals.

History: Carolina is the only school in the country that has played in all 37 NCAA Tournaments, reaching the final four 28 times and winning 21 championships.
Path to Cary: UNC beat Howard (4-0), Kansas (4-1) and Virginia Tech (3-0), then survived a shootout against UCLA after blowing a 2-0 lead in the NCAA quarterfinals. It won 4-2 on penalty kicks after the two teams battled to a 2-2 tie.
Players to watch: The Tar Heels lost sophomore star Alessia Russo, the England U-20 international, with a broken leg in late October but they have a lot of young talent. Sophomore defender Emily Fox, who debuted for the U.S national team on its recent European tour, sophomore midfielder Taylor Otto and freshman midfielder Brianna Pinto were all first-team All-ACC picks.

History: The Hoyas are playing in the College Cup for the second time. They also reached the semifinals in 2016.
Path to Cary: Georgetown blanked Big 12 champion Baylor, 3-0, in the quarterfinals after wins over Northeast champion Central Connecticut State (3-1), Washington State (1-0) and Duke (4-1).
Players to watch: The Hoyas feature the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Caitlin Farrell, Defensive Player of the Year Meaghan Nally and Goalkeeper of the Year Arielle Schechtman. Farrell (18 goals) and Schechtman are both first-team All-Americans. Kyra Carusa, who had one goal and two assists against Baylor, won the national championship at Stanford in 2017.

History: The Cardinal won its second national title in 2017 with a run that included a 1-0 win over Florida State in the third round. It is making its eighth appearance in the College Cup in 11 seasons and ninth overall. Its other title came in 2011.
Path to Cary: Stanford advanced to the College Cup by way of a 2-0 win over Tennessee, extending its program-record unbeaten streak to 45 games, the longest in the nation in 20 years. Earlier, it beat Seattle (3-0), Ole Miss (4-1) and Wisconsin (1-0).
Players to watch: Sophomore Catarina Macario, who already has the Stanford career record in NCAA Tournament assists with nine, Jordan DiBiasi, the Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year, and defender Ana Cook were all named to first-team NCAA Division I All-Americans. Tegan McGrady was a third-team pick. U.S. national team defender Tierna Davidson might return for the College Cup after sitting out the last two and a half months with an ankle injury.

History: Florida State won its first national title in 2014, its eighth trip to the College Cup. Its trips to the semifinals in 2015 and 2018 give in 10 College Cup appearances overall -- all in the last 16 years.
Path to Cary: Friday’s match against Stanford will be the third straight game against each of the last three national champions after 2016 winner USC (1-1, PKs) in the third round and 2015 winner Penn State (1-0) in the quarterfinals. The Seminoles also beat Loyola Chicago (1-0) and South Florida (3-1).
Players to watch: Venezuelan Deyna Castellanos, third in voting for the 2017 FIFA Women's Player of the Year, leads FSU in goals with 10 and assists with six. Chinese midfielder Yujie Zhao, only a freshman, Finnish defender Natalia Kuikka and Castellanos were all named 2018 All-Americans. Since replacing Brooke Bollinger, who was injured in the ACC final against UNC, keeper Caroline Jeffers has allowed just two goals for a 0.47 goals-against average.
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