BYU 0 – 1 (Magracia 57′) San Diego
Elissa Magracia’s early second half goal stood up, likely sending San Diego to the NCAA Tournament while dealing BYU’s hopes a severe blow. Magracia’s goal was, in a way, a bit of a gift after a long ball down the flank led to a suicidal square ball from the normally steady Lindsi Lisonbee in defense. Magracia would intercept and dash into the box, seeing her first attempt saved by McKinzie Olson and her second attempt blocked by the defense. Persistence paid off though, and Magracia was third time lucky as her shot went over the prone Olson and off the underside of the bar before crossing the line. The Torero defense held strong to maintain their lead and pick up a huge win, not only for their NCAA Tournament hopes but also for their run at a possible WCC title. The big question about San Diego’s always been what they’ll be able to do when Stephanie Ochs isn’t providing the offense. Magracia stepped up in a big way on this afternoon with the game winner and four shots on goal to boot. If San Diego’s offense isn’t one dimensional, they can be a very dangerous team, because the defense is a very good unit. Whatever was affecting this team in the middle of the season during their horrid losing spell seems to be long dead and buried, making these Toreros a very dangerous proposition come November. That includes on Friday against Santa Clara in another big WCC showdown that has major title implications.
The game is likely up for BYU. They have one match remaining against St. Mary’s which isn’t likely to boost their RPI much, if it all. With some of the teams on its non-conference slate being of dubious distinction, the Cougars really needed a big win which unfortunately for them never came. Their profile is very, very thin with the only win of real note being against Portland. The palpable dejection in BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood’s quotes after the match really said it all. How this team wasn’t able to respond with the appropriate energy at home with the season potentially on the line will be a much discussed mystery. For now though, they have to finish with a win and hope a lot of teams ahead of them implode, or it’ll be a very disappointing first season in the WCC for the Cougars.
Georgia 0 – 2 (Brown 50′, Dowd 64′) Tennessee
Georgia’s defense proved to be their undoing once again as Tennessee picked up a rare win in Athens after a pair of second half goals in a match that was delayed from Friday thanks to floodlight failure. The fixture got off to a bizarre start on Friday evening after the floodlights at one corner of the pitch failed, forcing the match to be abandoned and restarted midway through the first half on Saturday afternoon. After both sides came up empty in the first half while searching for the opener, it was to be Tennessee that struck first early in the second half. A lofting cross from the far side into the box by the Lady Vols was limply cleared by full-back Rebekah Perry to the edge of the area where a wide open Caroline Brown was waiting. The sophomore would make no mistake in beating Baker to the near post with a low, powerful shot that gave the visitors the advantage. Tennessee would double their lead fourteen minutes later after Georgia’s set piece defense inadequacies popped up again. Chelsea Hatcher’s corner from the far side to the six-yard box pinballed around in the air before dropping down in a crowd of players. Emily Dowd would react first and punch it home for her eleventh of the season, joining Brown on that mark in this match. Down by a pair of goals, Georgia would struggle to create clear cut opportunities, logging just three efforts after conceding their second, all in the last five minutes, and all handled by the Tennessee defense. The visitors, as you might expect with a pair of eleven goal scorers on the roster, were ruthless in front of net and stout defensively, holding Alexa Newfield in check about as well as anyone has this season. When the forwards are rumbling, this Lady Vols squad is a match for most teams in the country. It’s just getting them to maintain that level of consistency that will be the key for any postseason run. UT’s not the deepest team in the world either, hence their two subs in this one, so managing fatigue levels will be key as well.
Georgia’s form is submarining at a very bad time. The Bulldogs are probably safely in the NCAA Tournament thanks to their early SEC form, but they won’t be there long if they play as they did against Tennessee. After winning four in a row, Georgia has now gone three without a win to slip down to fifth in the table Perhaps more concerning is where all the offense has gone after the team was scoring for fun in that winning SEC stretch. Georgia also hasn’t scored away from the penalty spot in three matches either. That’d be OK if the defense was holding up, but they conceded two terrible goals in this one and continue to be wretched defending set pieces. Odd as it may sound, Georgia may have gotten a nice break in the SEC Tournament bracket by catching a Florida team that’s as out of form as they are. Alexa Newfield gave Florida’s defense a few problems in Athens earlier this season, but on the whole, the gameplan will have to be a whole lot more proactive than the regular season encounter with Florida also desperate to arrest their late season slide.
Quarterfinals – At Higher Seed
(4) Belmont 0 – 1 (5) North Florida