Women’s College Cup Tonight!

Maya Hayes, Penn State Nittany Lions. Photo by Mark Selders

The 2012 NCAA Women’s College Cup kicks off tonight in San Diego, Calif. Semifinal matches are at 7:30 and 10 p.m. The national championship match of the NCAA Women’s College Cup will be played 3 p.m. on December 2nd.

Stanford are the defending champions, defeating Duke 1-0 last year.

Friday November 30
7:30 PM on ESPN3 – Penn State vs. Florida State (Semifinal #1)
Keep an eye on Maya Hayes (#5, forward) and Christine Nairn (#10, midfielder) for Penn State as well as Ines Jaurena (#2, defender) for Florida State. Each has made the short list in the Hermann Trophy voting. Details on FAN VOTING below.

The Nittany Lions will be appearing in the Women’s College Cup for the first time since 2005. Senior midfielder Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.) scored the game winning goal on a penalty kick in the 13th minute. She leads the team with 16 goals and 11 assists from her central position, while Hayes (15) and #16 Mallory Weber (13) give the Lions three proven scorers.

The Seminoles are back in the College Cup for the second year in a row and sixth time in school history. Tiffany McCarty (#14, forward) and Jessica Price (#6, ) are no strangers to facing Penn State as the two Seminole seniors have combined for nine career points in two games against the Nittany Lions. McCarty is the teams leading scorer, with 16 goals and 5 assists. Price is the assist leader with 10, to go with two goals.

10:00 PM on ESPNU – North Carolina vs. Stanford (Semifinal #2)
This game features four Hermann Trophy candidates, two for each team. Crystal Dunn (#19, forward) and Kealia Ohai (#7, forward) for North Carolina as well as Rachel Quon (#11, defender) and Alina Garciamendez (#4, defender) for Stanford. Carolina is the only non-No. 1 seed to advance to the NCAA College Cup. Crystal Dunn scored both goals for the Tar Heels in their win over #1 seed BYU, sending them to the Cup. Kealia Ohai assisting on both goals

Keep an eye on Chioma Ubogagu (#9, forward) for Stanford, you may remember her dynamic play from the U20 World Championships. She has 5 goals and 11 assists, second behind Courtney Verloo (#5, forward) who leads the Cardinals with 10 goals and 11 assists.

Stanford has never beaten the Tar Heels, and one might surmise that the only way the Cardinal can be deemed as one of the great programs of all-time would be to go through the 21-time national champion. North Carolina holds an 8-0-3 series lead, though the past three meetings have included two draws. In fact, Stanford had never led at any point in any match against UNC until their most recent meeting, when Christen Press scored in the 32nd minute (off an assist by current redshirt junior Courtney Verloo) on Aug. 27, 2010 in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels came back twice, including after Teresa Noyola’s goal gave Stanford a 2-1 lead in the 60th minute, to complete a 2-2 draw.

North Carolina returns this season to the College Cup for the first time since 2009. It marks the 26th NCAA College Cup appearance for Carolina in the 31-year history of the tournament. The team has seven players who reached double-digits in points and four of them have seven goals, tied for the team lead, including Ohai. A balanced attack for taking on the Cardinals.

Sunday December 2
1:00 pm on ESPNU – Penn State vs. Florida State (Semifinal #1) will be re-broadcast
3:00 pm on ESPNU – NCAA Women’s College Cup Final presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car

The MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top male and female college player each year, has added a Fan Vote this year.