CARY — Freshmen Bria Dixon, Sydney Curtis and Alexis Shaffer all came back home to Cary last weekend in hopes of an NCAA women’s soccer title. But all three were denied on Friday night as their respective teams fell in the College Cup semifinals at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Shaffer’s Virginia Cavaliers team fell to eventual champion UCLA.
Shaffer was a two-time N.C. Gatorade state player of the year at Green Hope. She played 40 minutes off the bench in the semifinal.
Dixon, from Cary High, and Curtis, from Green Hope, were representing Virginia Tech, which fell to eventual runner-up Florida State. Neither player played in the game.
UCLA made a habit of eliminating teams from the ACC, and players who hail from Cary.
When UCLA eliminated Virginia 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie in regulation and overtime, it took out the tournament’s No. 1 seed. Shaffer scored one of the two penalty kicks for UVA, but UCLA clinched on its fifth kick.
“I was very confident coming into PKs,” said UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell.
Just a week prior, UCLA had knocked out reigning champion North Carolina, where Green Hope graduates Indi Cowie and Maya Worth now play, by a 1-0 score in Chapel Hill.
The Bruins defeated Florida State 1-0 in the championship on Sunday to win their ninth NCAA women’s soccer title.
WakeMed Soccer Park broke its preview attendance record on Friday night, thanks in large part to the Virginia and Virginia Tech fan bases making the short trip south and the stadium’s expanded seating area.
The crowd of 10,168 broke the old record set in the 2003 Women’s College Cup title game, when 10,042 people came to see North Carolina defeat Connecticut.
Although 8,806 tickets were sold for Sunday’s championship, an estimated 3,000 or fewer showed up due in large part to the mid-30s temperature and rainy conditions.
This was the first time since 2010 that Cary hosted a Women’s College Cup. The last time it hosted a Men’s College Cup was 2009.
Staff writer Kip Coons contributed to this report.