by Amy Farnum, NCAA.com basketball blogger
It has been quite a year for Division I women’s soccer.
The regular season started out with several surprises as Siena hung in there as the last remaining unbeaten and untied team in the nation. UC Irvine, Hoftstra and UNC Greensboro put together their best seasons in program history and North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance picked up his 700th career victory.
There were 12 first-timers in this year’s 64-team NCAA tournament bracket. Top-seeded Maryland and Portland went down in the second-round of postseason play, while Oklahoma State and Georgetown advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in program history.
Only one of the teams that advanced to the Women’s College Cup in Cary, N.C., had ever previously won an NCAA title (Notre Dame), while Boston College and Ohio State were making their first trips to the semifinals. Stanford, which lost in the 2009 championship game to North Carolina (1-0) repeated the result in 2010, falling to the Fighting Irish (1-0) as UND won its third championship in program history. The championship game losses for Stanford are the only two setbacks for the Cardinal over the last two seasons.