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NCAA Preview Week 3: Labor Day edition

Week number two was full of upsets at the top of the rankings. It will be hard for week three to match five of the top six ranked teams in the nation dropping a result but, nonetheless, there are some intriguing games on tap for the holiday weekend. Here’s a quick look at a few to check out.

NCAA GAME OF THE WEEK:

No. 5 Stanford Cardinal vs No. 10 Georgetown Hoyas

Stanford faces a tough test in their 2017 home opener. (photo by Aaron Shepley, courtesy of Stanford University)

Time: Friday, September 1, 7 p.m. ET

How to Watch: PAC-12 Networks

After playing its first four contests on the road, the Cardinal open the home slate against the Hoyas. It’s a return game as Stanford soundly beat Georgetown 3-0 in the nation’s capital last fall. The Cardinal would surely take a repeat of that result on the heels of twice conceding the lead in a 3-2 loss to Florida. For the visitors, eyes will be on midfield maestro senior Rachel Corboz, who leads the Hoyas in goals and total points. Defensively, the game will be a test for the center back Liz Wenger, who’s taken the reins of the Hoyas’ backline following Marina Paul’s graduation.

For the Cardinal, Catarina Macario leads the way offensively. The freshman is currently averaging a goal for every 41 minutes played. Junior Kyra Carusa has added three to the Cardinal’s cause already this season. Top 2018 NWSL draft prospect Andi Sullivan made her first start of the season against Florida but had a quiet second half albeit in limited minutes. Also, keep an eye on the home side’s backline, which juggled personnel defensively the team’s last game. Of note, center back Sam Hiatt did not play in the second half of last Friday’s game after starting the first three contests of the year for the Cardinal.

No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers vs No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions

Time: Saturday, September 2, 7 pm ET

How to Watch: http://wvusports.com/watch

Due to geographical proximity, these two teams square off quite frequently, and it’s usually a pretty tight defensive battle. On one side, you have the 2015 NCAA champions reunited with most of the elements of that defense which allowed zero goals in its NCAA tournament run, and on the other, a team seeking to maintain its defensive identity after the loss of MAC Hermann trophy-winning center back Kadeisha Buchanan. The responsibility of anchoring that backline falls to Canadian Easther Mayi Kith. Offensively so far this season, the Mountaineers have spread out the scoring with each of their five goals coming from a different source. Nonetheless, Michaela Abam will be the focal point and attract attention from the Penn State defense.

For the Nittany Lions, a few weeks into the season, it looks like 2017 could be a breakout season for the speedy Marissa Sheva, who’s already tallied four goals on the season, recording a brace in both the Arkansas and BYU games.

No. 18 Wake Forest University vs Princeton University

Time: Sunday, September 3, 1 pm ET

How to Watch: ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN

This year’s senior class for Wake Forest have never played in the NCAA Tournament. It’s the proverbial now or never situation, and now is off to a pretty good start. While the Demon Deacons haven’t exactly played a murderer’s row schedule so far, they did manage to secure a major victory over then-No. 3 South Carolina. It will be interesting to see if they continue to build momentum against Princeton. Maddie Huster, who is the reigning ACC Co-Offensive Player of the Week, is certainly a player to watch. Last year the senior captain paced the team in both total points and assists despite moving to center back during the course of the season.

For the Tigers, all eyes will be on Mimi Asom, who, along with now Portland Thorn Tyler Lussi, formed a dangerous duo for Ivy League defenses to contend with in her first two seasons. The dynamic junior forward has a goal in two games on the young season. Also keep an eye on senior Natalie Larkin, a three-time All-Ivy League performer who is stellar at getting up and down the flank.

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