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Elite Eight set in women's college soccer

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: November 20, 2012

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are carrying the torch. They are the last underdog left in the NCAA Division I women’s soccer tournament heading into the quarterfinal round.

The unseeded Irish enjoyed wins over Wake Forest and Florida over the weekend to set up a showdown with Florida State on Friday for one of the tickets to College Cup.

This is Notre Dame’s eighth trip to this stage of the competition in the last nine seasons, but this one might be the most unexpected, as Randy Waldrum’s side is very young.

college soccer player penn state erin mcnultyPenn State's Erin McNulty

"I'm just extremely proud of this young group of players," Waldrum, the head coach, said in a release after the game. "We've gone through the year with 12 freshmen and as many as six or seven starting throughout the year for us, so it's been a big learning curve for these guys, but I'm really proud of the way they've continued to grow each week.”

Notre Dame freshman keeper Elyse Hight was one of the main reasons the last Big East program remains in the hunt for the title. Hight had six saves in the two victories, but faces an even bigger test this week with the matchup against the Seminoles.

Florida State has won 17 games in a row at home after wins over Texas Tech and Texas A&M.

Another shot at redemption

The Bruins wanted the rematch against Stanford after losing 2-1 at home to the Cardinal in conference play earlier this season, and now they got what they wanted.

After both of the Pac-12 powerhouses rattled off 3-0 wins on Sunday, the rematch is on for Friday in Palo Alto.

It’s been over four years since the last time UCLA beat Stanford. Can the Bruins reverse that curse and book a spot at College Cup? Or will the Cardinal defend its crown in San Diego?

Decidedly close

Three of the eight games from the Round of 16 ended in penalty kicks.

BYU was the first to advance from the spot after a 0-0 draw with Marquette followed by a 6-5 victory in penalty kicks. The Cougars host North Carolina on Friday in the quarterfinal matchup.

The Heels also advanced in penalty kicks with a 4-2 victory over Baylor on Sunday following a 1-1 draw in 110 minutes of play. Remarkably, this was the first time in the storied history of North Carolina that it had won a penalty kick shootout in the NCAA Tournament.

In the final penalty kick battle, Penn State goalkeeper Erin McNulty made three saves in a row to turn an 0-2 deficit into a 3-2 win. The Nittany Lions take on Duke in the quarterfinal after the Blue Devils 3-1 win over Virginia on Sunday.

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