(1) Florida State vs Colorado – 12:00 PM
To This Point
One side’s completely lived up to expectations, while another has spent the past few weeks beating them at every turn. Most expected Florida State to breeze their way through this regional, and they haven’t disappointed, brushing aside South Alabama in the opening round before shutting Ole Miss’ volatile offense off on Thursday night. They held the Rebels to two shots on goal and saw Dagny Brynjarsdottir continue to soar with two more goals to help drive her side to victory.
Colorado didn’t lose any steam after their upset of Denver, topping BYU on Thursday afternoon in the second round opener. CU would race out to a 2-0 lead, netting the eventual winner when the normally sure handed Erica Owens committed a ghastly gaffe, fumbling in Carly Bolyard’s shot. The Buffs would need to endure some waves of pressure from BYU down the stretch and conceded one but not two to move on to the third round of the Big Dance.
Names To Know:
Dagny Brynjarsdottir (FSU) (AMC) – Icelandic international is creeping up the Hermann Trophy pecking order with continued excellent performances. The offense really relies on their big junior for goals.
Kassey Kallman (FSU) (CB) – The nation’s best defender. A total package at the center of defense for Florida State and will be tasked with shutting down either Anne Stuller or Brie Hooks. Likely a mid-first round pick in January’s NWSL Draft for a team needing defense.
Emily Paxton (COL) (F) – Was a star on Thursday with three shots on goal and the opener against BYU. Hasn’t been prolific this season but was feeling it in the second round and might have some space with Hooks and Stuller likely to warrant close attention.
Annie Brunner (COL) (GK) – Made six saves, including three in the second half to preserve the Colorado win. She’ll likely need more on Saturday if her side is to shock the world.
The Bottom Line
The level of difficulty goes up exponentially at this stage, with Colorado facing very steep odds to make it to the last eight. The Buffs’ effort against UCLA earlier in the season, along with their mature displays against Denver and BYU give them some degree of hope of springing a shock on Saturday. Still though, CU were under spates of pressure against the Cougars in stretches on Thursday, and Florida State aren’t likely to let chances go spurned. CU’s got a talented attack but there aren’t any true stars, and they could struggle to create consistent chances against a rock solid back four the Noles go to battle with. Dagny Brynjarsdottir looks to be in dominant form as the centerpiece of the FSU attack and could be the key to a long coveted national title. It might be more attritional than the home side would like, but in the end, I think it’ll be comfortable enough, with the ACC side locking up a spot in the last eight.
(1) Florida State 2 – 0 Colorado