UCLA to Play USC in Final Four

The #1-ranked women's soccer team has overcome a couple of overtime games in the NCAA tournament to make it to its fifth straight College Cup, where they play cross-town rival USC in a semi-final game Friday...

UCLA is in the Final Four this weekend.

The UCLA women's soccer team, ranked #1 in the country, is in the College Cup in College Station, Texas.

They will take on USC in the semin-final game Friday.

UCLA (20-1-2) takes on their cross-town rivals for the second time this season, having beaten them at Drake Stadium, 2-0. UCLA dominates the all-time series, with a 16-2-1 advantage. The Bruins have won nine in a row, and are unbeaten in the last 11 matches (including a tie in 2000). USC's last victory in the series came back in 1998 (a 5-4 win at USC). The two schools have met two prior times in the NCAA Tournament, both UCLA wins (3-0 1st Rd. in 2000 / 1-0 2nd Rd. in 2002).

The game will be televised on ESPNU on Friday at 4:00 PST.

The first semi-final on Friday pits third-seeded Florida State (17-5-3) against fourth-seeded Notre Dame (19-4-2) on ESPN2 at 2:00 p.m. Friday's winners will meet in the national championship on Sunday at 11:00 p.m. (PST).

UCLA got to the College Cup by beating Portland in the Elight Eight last Friday, in a 3-2 double-overtime win. UCLA was ahead 2-1 with about a minute left when Portland scored to send it into overtime. But then, in the second overtime, in the 104th minute, Danesha Adams scored on a header off a corner kick.

UCLA gave up the first goal of the game to Portland, and the Bruins have surrendered the first goal in three matches this season, and have battled back to win all three contests, including two during the NCAA Tournament.

Before beating Portland in the tournament, UCLA defeated Cal State Fullerton (3-1), Oklahoma State (4-0) and Virginia 2-1 in overtime.

UCLA is only the third school in Division I women's soccer history to be making five straight appearances in the NCAA College Cup. North Carolina (1982-2003) and Massachusetts (1983-87) are the other two schools. The Bruins are the only team to do it in the current 64-team format, which began in 2001.

At 20-1-2, UCLA has posted its third straight 20-win season, as the Bruins won 22 matches in 2005 and followed that up with a 21-win effort in 2006. All five of UCLA's 20-win seasons have come under current head coach Jillian Ellis (2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007). The school record for victories in a season was set by the 2005 squad that went 22-2-2. The Bruins can equal that win total if they capture the NCAA Championship.

Sophomore Lauren Cheney broke the UCLA single-season scoring record against Virginia, as her three points in that match gave her 55 on the season.

UCLA has a very potent trio in Cheney, Adams, who has played on the U.S. National Team, and Kara Lang, who missed the beginning of the season when she was playing with the Canadian World Cup team. Cheney was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year, along with first team selections of Adams, Christian DiMartino, and goalkeeper Valerie Henderson, while defender Erin Hardy and Lang were second-team selections. Jillian Ellis was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

Cheney, Adams and DiMartino are three of just 15 semifinalists for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, given annually to the player of the year in college soccer.

UCLA is the only #1 seed left in the tournament, with North Carolina, Penn State and Stanford all going down before the Elite Eight.

Against its potential opponents in the final, UCLA owns a 1-0 record against Florida State and an 0-2 record against Notre Dame, as all three matches against those two schools have come during the NCAA Tournament.

This year marks the first time in Pac-10 history that the conference has two teams in the College Cup. Only Stanford and UCLA have been to the College Cup and never in the same year.

UCLA has been to the the College Cup in each of the last four years, but has yet to win a national championship in women's soccer.

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