Not only is there drama about both the men's and women's soccer teams getting to the final four and possibly winning a national championship. But with UCLA hanging at 99 NCAA championships, there's also the added drama of which program will claim the big No. 100.
In the quarter finals Friday night, the women's soccer team recorded a 2-1 victory over Portland, the reigning NCAA champ who beat UCLA in last year's final, to advance to the NCAA College Cup. The second-seeded but third-ranked Bruins will take on top-seeded and #1-ranked North Carolina Friday at 12:30 PST, in Cary, North Carolina.
The game can be seen live on ESPN 2.
The men's soccer team, eighth-seeded in the NCAA tournament, upset top-ranked Duke in the quarterfinals, 3-2, in overtime, to advance to the men's College Cup. They'll face four-seeded Virginia, at 3:00 PST Friday in St. Louis, with the game also being televised live on ESPN 2. And in case you're getting ahead of yourself, and want to know which would have the first crack at that magical 100, the women's championship is scheduled for 9:30 PST Sunday, and the men's begins at 12:00 PST.
UCLA has won two championships on the same day just one other time, in 1971, when the men's tennis and men's track and field teams won titles that season.
For the women's team #3-ranked team, the road won't be easy. It will be the sixth meeting between UCLA and North Carolina, and the Tar Heels have won all five previous matches. North Carolina, though, isn't considered as formidable as they have been in the past, and barely snuck by Texas A&M, in a come-from-behind victory, 3-2, in the semis.
If the women do get by North Carolina, in the final they'll then face the winner of the other semi-finals, which pits undefeated and #2-ranked Notre Dame (24-0-1) against Florida State. UCLA faced Notre Dame in the 2004 championship game, when the Fighting Irish edged UCLA on penalty kicks after two scoreless overtimes. That game was also in Cary, North Carolina. The men's team, which is ranked #14 in the country, faces a 6th-ranked Virginia team. UCLA lost to Virginia early in the season, 1-0. If they do get by the Cavaliers, the Bruins will face the winner of the other semi-final, either unseeded UC Santa Barbara or #2 seed and #3-ranked Wake Forest.
The men's soccer program has won the NCAA championship four times, as recently as 2002. It's UCLA's 11th appearance in the Final Four. This is the fifth appearance for the UCLA women in the Final Four. They've appeared in the final three times, including the last two consecutive years, but have yet to win a championship. North Carolina has won 16 women's soccer national championships, which is even more impressive considering women's soccer has only been awarded an official NCAA championship for 24 years.