It’s simple: The winner will be the first team to secure a spot in the College Cup, soccer’s version of the Final Four next weekend in Cary, NC.
The loser starts thinking about the next season.
When the Duke women’s soccer team visits the Crimson Tide in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, the matchup will feature two teams that like their chances.
The game will feature two of the nation’s leading scorers, as Duke’s Michelle Cooper and Alabama’s Riley Mattingly Parker have scored 17 goals this season.
It also has two of the best scoring duos, as Cooper and Duke’s Kat Rader rank second with 29 goals, while Parker and Ashlynn Serepca are fifth with 26 goals.
But at least on paper, that’s where the similarities end.
Alabama owns a tournament-high 14 goals, while Duke’s lone goal allowed is tied for second-fewest.
Duke has allowed just 18 shots and one goal in the NCAA while allowing five shots on goal.
In terms of experience, Duke has 10 different players who have scored at least once in an NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils are aiming to make the College Cup, which will be played in close proximity to the Duke campus, for the fifth time in school history (and fourth under head coach Robbie Church in 1992, 2011, 2015, 2017).
The crimson tide? Last year’s win against Clemson was the program’s first in an NCAA Tournament.
Here are the quarterfinal matchups (all times CT):
How to watch: Alabama Soccer vs. Duke
Who: Duke (15-4-3) at Alabama (22-2-1)
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When: 18:00, Friday
Where: Alabama football stadium
TV: ESPN+ (Gray Robertson and Hayley MacDonald)
The series: Duke and Alabama will meet for the fourth time in school history and the first since Oct. 4, 1997. The Blue Devils hold a 3-0 series lead with all three meeting in Durham. The Blue Devils have outscored Alabama 16-0 in three meetings.
Last Exit, Alabama: Alabama’s Felicia Knox scored a pair of goals to lead No. 1 seed Alabama past UC Irvine, 3-1, in the third round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament on Sunday. Ashlynn Serepca scored the eventual game-winner in ’66the minute as the Crimson Tide advanced to the tournament quarterfinals for the first time in program history.
Last Exit, Duke: The No. 2 seeded Blue Devils prevented the region from having an SEC final. American Michelle Cooper recorded her sixth double of the season, a school record, when Duke defeated No.3 seed South Carolina, 2-1, on Sunday. Cooper continued his impressive sophomore season with 17 goals, 11 assists, and a school record 45 points.
- Alabama has broken seven team records this season, setting the new standard in points (211), goals (73), assists (66), shots (502), shots on goal (212), wins (22) and shutouts (12). )
- Riley Mattingly Parker holds the UA record for points (41), goals (17) and game-winning goals (7) in a single season, while tied for the program leader in game-winning goals (10)
- Felicia Knox broke the Tide record for assists with 20 and career assists with 25
- All told, McKinley Crone has a program-record 22 single-season wins and 40 career wins, as well as having a UA-record 10 shutouts this year to tie for the most career shutouts in a uniform. from Alabama with 21,
- For the ninth time in the last 12 years, Duke will play in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
- Duke hasn’t lost a game since Oct. 13 at FSU. In those eight games, the Blue Devils are 5-0-3 and outscored their opponents 15-4.
- Michelle Cooper and Kat Rader have combined for 29 goals on the season.
- Duke has allowed just two goals in the last five games, including three shutouts.
- In 39 games played at Duke, Michelle Cooper has scored at least one goal or one assist in 28 of those games.
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