Opening weekend for NCAA teams saw a host of 4-goal games and a few early surprises for the top teams. Here’s how the Top 10 fared:
North Carolina (1) – Victorious 2-0 against Santa Clara (16) on Friday and 4-0 over VCU on Sunday.
Despite nursing her hamstring in preseason, 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy winner Crystal Dunn was in championship form on Friday with four shots, all on target, scoring both Tar Heels goals. Forwards Kealia Ohai and Summer Green each had assists on the night. The defense did an excellent job of stifling a marquee Bronco attack, holding the team to only three shots on goal all night.
On Sunday, it was Ohai and Dunn leading the charge again with five shots each, resulting in two goals for Ohai and one for Dunn. Paige Nielsen contributed a goal of her own while assists came from Alexa Newfield, Katie Bowen, Caroline Lindquist and Cameron Castleberry. Coach Anson Dorrance kept the revolving door spinning on the sidelines, getting the entire caravan of 26 players out on the pitch for some meaningful minutes. Dorrance split goalkeeping duties in both games between top choices Bryane Heaberlin and Anna Sieloff, while Lindsey Harris jumped in for the last 10 minutes of Sunday’s contest.
North Carolina (2-0-0) faces New Mexico (1-1-0) next on Friday in the Nike Carolina Classic.
Stanford (2) – Wins away at Boston College in 2OT 2-1 on Friday and away at UConn 1-0.
Stanford squeaked by again on Sunday when transfer forward Taylor Uhl scored the only goal in the Cardinal’s match against UConn. Paul Ratcliffe’s starting backline lasted the full 90 minutes, allowing the Huskies 17 shots, but only one actually troubling keeper Emily Oliver.
Stanford (2-0-0) returns home for Saturday’s match against No. 22 Portland (2-0-0).
Florida State (3) – Beat Oregon State 1-0 on Friday and breezed past Auburn 4-1 on Sunday.
Looking eerily similar to last year’s team which posted no less than 10, 1-0 wins in 2012, FSU’s defense did much of the heavy lifting on opening night, allowing only two shots in 90 minutes, as the offense hammered Oregon State’s frame with a barrage of long-distance rockets. Sophomore Nora Kervroedan’s 25-yard shot broke the deadlock in a contest that looked much tighter on the scoreboard than it was.
Sunday’s performance may allay some fears as to where the goals will come from this season. FSU’s international talent was on full display Sunday as Seminoles from all over Europe racked up points: Icelandic-International Berglind Thorvaldsdottir scored two and assisted on another, France’s Kervroedan coolly slotted home a PK to get her second of the weekend and Englander Marta Bakowska-Mathews had an assist of her own. Senior Jamia Fields bagged a goal and an assist to round out the four-goal outburst.
Friday’s derby against in-state rival Florida (2-0-0) will be a good early metric for each of these Top 10 teams’ quality.
Penn State (4) – 2-2 draw with West Virginia on Friday, 2-1 win over Hofstra on Sunday.
The first weekend was not an entirely spectacular one for a Nittany Lions team looking to improve on last season. Seated just outside the Top 25, West Virginia’s no cream puff and the Mountaineers held a two-goal advantage on the home team until the 81st minute, when Maya Hayes linked up with Taylor Schram to start a comeback, then netted a goal of her own a minute later to draw the game level.
In Sunday’s game against Hofstra, it was PSU who jumped out to an early lead on the strength of goals by Hayes and Mallory Weber. Hofstra attempted to mount a second-half comeback of their own with a goal early in the half, but the backline and goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom kept them at bay.
Penn State (1-0-1) goes on the road for the second of Friday’s two Top 10 showdowns, facing an in-form Virginia at Klockner.
UCLA (5) – Downs Northeastern 4-0 on Friday and Cal State Northridge 3-0 on Sunday.
Bruin freshman Gabbi Miranda scored the first goal of the season with Rosie White, Darian Jenkins and Jenna Richmond all getting their names in the paper on Friday. The defense limited Northeastern to only one shot on the night, while returning serve with 17 of their own.
Sunday’s contest against the Matadors was another lopsided affair, with the Bruins netting three goals off 14 shots while Cal State Northridge could only muster three of their own. Richmond and Jenkins each added another goal apiece while Taylor Smith scored the third. Midfielder Sarah Killion contributed with two assists, bringing her to three for the weekend.
Next weekend, UCLA has stiff competition lined up in South Bend, with No. 14 Marquette (1-1-0) on Friday and a tantalizing duel with No. 10 Notre Dame (2-0-0) on Sunday.
BYU (6) – Handled Cal State Fullerton (UR) on Friday with a 3-1 win at home
Bookend goals from Rachel Manning, one off a header, the other from the penalty spot, led the scoring for Brigham Young as the Cougars looked in fine form on opening night. Of their 21 shots, BYU’s offense registered a remarkable 14 of those on target, including four each for Manning and forward Ashley Hatch, who scored the second goal. Also noteworthy, five of the Cougars’ field players went the full 90 minutes, including all four defenders.
The Cougars’ next game is on Saturday against Nebraska (1-1-0).
Duke (7) – Won Friday in College Station 1-0 over Texas A&M (12), but lost 0-1 to South Carolina on Sunday.
Duke won a big one with a close 1-0 victory away at Texas A&M. Kim DeCesare led the charge with six shots, four on goal and also claimed the game-winner. Kelly Cobb, Laura Weinberg and Kaitlyn Kerr all got multiple shots in on Jordan Day’s goal, indicating the Blue Devils’ multi-pronged attack is alive and well. The largely inexperienced defense performed admirably as well, limiting the Aggies’ powerful offense to just three shots on goal. But…
…In this weekend’s “Not So Fast” moment, the same Duke team that bested arguably the best the SEC had to offer, dropped their second contest to a much weaker South Carolina side on Sunday. Gamecock goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo is one of the best in the NCAA and the Canadian handily put a cork in the potent Duke offense, which came out strong in the first half, but showed signs of fatigue in the second. Spurred on by a key save from D’Angelo, the Carolina offense struck in the 34th minute through Danielle Au, putting the ball beyond Meghan Thomas, a redshirt junior making her first start for the Blue Devils.
Friday, Duke faces a much easier road trip, shuffling down to Chapel Hill to face Kennesaw State University (1-1-0) in the Nike Carolina Classic.
Virginia (8) – Bested VCU 4-2 on Friday and Santa Clara (16) 4-0 on Sunday.
Perhaps wondering if the MAC Hermann voters are watching her now, Morgan Brian commanded the offense with eight shots on the night, six on target, and tallied two assists, the first coming two minutes into the season on a feed to Danielle Colaprico. The other goals came from Molly Menchel, Emily Sonnett and Brittany Ratcliffe. Somewhat alarmingly, the veteran backline had a few lapses and VCU took their chances well, scoring twice.
Sunday’s contest against Santa Clara ended with another four-goal result, but the defense tightened up against a much tougher Bronco lineup, holding the team to a paltry 3 shots, with none coming from the triple threat of Johnston, Huerta, and Marlborough. Sophomore sub Brittany Ratcliffe added two more goals to her weekend haul, while Brian and Makenzy Doniak each got their first goals of the season.
Virginia meets No. 4 Penn State (1-0-1) in Charlottesville on Friday and a key win against PSU could see the Cavaliers near the Top 5.
Florida (9) – A pair of 3-1 victories knocked off Florida Gulf Coast on Friday and Oregon State on Sunday.
Freshman Savannah Jordan had a grand debut in Gainesville on Friday with two goals while Havana Solaun provided the third. Held to only one shot all game, FGCU made it count with a goal off a corner kick in the 44th minute. Norwegian freshman Nora Neset Gjoen supplanted Taylor Burke in goal, playing the full 90 minutes.
Jordan’s encore performance was even more spectacular, netting a hat-trick in Sunday’s match to become the quickest to reach five goals in program history. Annie Speese picked up two assists in Jordan’s wake; Claire Falknor, Brooke Sharp, and Havana Solaun each had one. Junior goalkeeper Burke returned as a starter, but was unable to improve upon the previous game’s one goal against.
The Gators welcome third-ranked Florida State (2-0-0) to Gainesville for a televised match-up on Friday. Although the Gators lead the head-to-head 11-9, the Seminoles have won the last two in the series and will enter as heavy favorites.
Notre Dame (10) – Beat Illinois on Friday in a 4-1 victory in South Bend and had a mirror finish with Sunday’s 4-1 triumph over Northwestern.
In Friday’s match pitting the Fighting Irish against the Fighting Illini, it was the leprechauns who did most of the pummeling. Lauren Bohaboy, Anna Maria Gilbertson, Elizabeth Tucker and Kaleigh Olmsted all had goals in the 25-shot whirlwind of offense. Olmsted and Karin Simonian logged assists in the Irish victory, but the defense was unable to keep the net completely airtight, allowing one goal in despite holding the Illini to only two shots on goal.
Bohaboy doubled her output early in Sunday’s match against Northwestern, with 2 other Irish, Katie Naughton and Cindy Pineda, adding to the total. It rained assists in South Bend as Crystal Thomas and Brittany Von Rueden each picked up a pair, while Naughton, Olmsted and Mandy Laddish all picked up a point as well. The Irish put up a combined 61 shots over the weekend with rookie Morgan Andrews posting seven on her own. Although coach Randy Waldrum will be generally pleased with the offense, the defense again showed hints of weakness, allowing another second-half goal on a failed clearance of a Northwestern set-piece.
Notre Dame stays in South Bend next weekend, warming up with Oakland (1-1-0) on Friday before the highly-anticipated fixture against UCLA (2-0-0).
Outside the Top 10 there were numerous casualties:
San Diego State (11) – lost 1-4 vs. USC, won 1-0 vs. St. Mary’s
Texas A&M (12) – lost 0-1 to Duke, won 1-0 vs. UTSA
Baylor (13) – won 5-0 over UTSA, won 5-0 over Northwestern State
Marquette (14) – lost 0-1 away at Portland, won 2-3 away at Portland State
Wake Forest (15) – won 3-1 over Kentucky, won 3-0 vs. Alabama
Santa Clara (16) – lost 0-2 to Carolina, lost 0-4 at Virginia
Maryland (17) – won 9-0 over The Citadel, plays Monday against Villanova
Georgetown (18) – won 2-1 in OT vs. William & Mary, won 5-0 over Quinnipiac
Michigan (19) – won 3-0 over Wisconsin-Milwaukee, won 6-1 vs. Oakland
Cal (20) – won 3-1 over UC Irvine, plays Monday against Pepperdine
Also of note:
The ACC had only one of its teams lose a game on each of this weekend’s matchdays (Boston College on Friday, Duke on Sunday).
Sunday’s contest between Illinois and Louisville was a classic back-and-forth barn burner, with the Illini landing the final blow in overtime, turning a 2-1 halftime deficit into a 5-4 victory.
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