Jessie Fleming and Rebecca Quinn often room together in camp with the Canadian women’s soccer team.
On Friday, however, the two friends will be facing off in Orlando when Fleming’s UCLA Bruins meet Quinn’s Duke Blue Devils in Friday’s semifinal of the NCAA College Cup.
“I think we’ve been playing together since I was 15,” the 19-year-old Fleming said from Florida. “We know each other pretty well … We’re just super close.”
A pre-game coffee was planned.
“It’ll be exciting and kind of funny to see us (battle it out) but at the end of the day there’ll still be a Canadian in the final,” she added.
Duke (23-2-0) is ranked third while UCLA (19-2-2) is fourth. The Bruins hold a career 4-1 edge with the only loss coming in their first meeting in 1996.
No. 1 Stanford (22-1-0) takes on No. 5 South Carolina (19-2-1) in the other semifinal Friday. The championship game goes Sunday.
Stanford, South Carolina and Duke were all seeded No. 1 in their respective brackets while the Bruins were seeded second (No. 1 North Carolina lost to Princeton and fellow Canadian Vanessa Gregoire). UCLA beat Princeton to win its bracket.
Fleming, Quinn and Gregoire, are among the 15 semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy as the top women’s NCAA soccer player.
Fleming, from London, Ont., has been a hit right out of the box with the Bruins. She opened her collegiate career last year with a four-game goal-scoring streak, including a two-goal game in her debut against Florida on Aug. 28, just nine days after helping Canada to a bronze medal win over Brazil at the Rio Olympics.
She led UCLA in scoring with 11 goals and 27 points and was just the fourth UCLA freshman to earn NCAA All-America honours.
Fleming has five goals, including three game-winners, and 18 assists this season when she returned to more of a playmaker role with the Bruins given its firepower up front. Hailie Mace, a centre back turned forward who is also a MAC Hermann semifinalist, was UCLA’s leading scorer this season with a career-high 15 goals and 33 points
Fleming was just 15 when she made her senior debut for Canada at a tournament in Brazil in December 2013. She now has 47 caps and four goals.
Quinn, who made her debut at 22 in the Cyprus Cup in March 2014, has 33 caps and two goals for her country.
The 22-year-old from Toronto was named 2017 ACC midfielder of the year, the first Duke player to be so honoured. Playing more than 1,500 minutes this season, Quinn helped marshal a Blue Devils defence that shut out its first four opponents in NCAA tournament play.
Both Fleming and Quinn had to miss Canada’s friendly win over Norway in Spain this week because of their tournament commitments. They did play every minute of Canada’s two-game series with the U.S. earlier in November.
In last year’s NCAA tournament, UCLA lost 4-3 on penalty kicks to a West Virginia team stacked with Canadians (Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence, Easther Mayi Kith, Amanda Pierre-Louis and Carla Portilla). Fleming forced the extra time with an 89th minute goal to tie the score at 1-1.
All four successful Mountaineer penalties were scored by Canadians while Fleming missed her attempt.