Based on last week’s results, the Coaches’ Poll saw a few minor stirs, with Virginia leapfrogging BYU on the strength of an eight-goal performance. Penn State and Duke dropped down following a handful of lackluster showings, while Wake Forest cracked the Top 10 with a little help from star forward Katie Stengel. More poll vaulting is inevitable in the coming week as several Top 10 teams faced other highly-ranked opponents…
North Carolina (1) – Won 2-1 over New Mexico on Friday and beat Kennesaw State 3-0 on Sunday.
The Tar Heels had a difficult time with New Mexico, but some tactics and formation adjustments led the way back from a one-goal first half deficit. To the surprise of no one, Crystal Dunn again was the catalyst for the second half comeback, slotting a lawnmower from the corner of the box to the near post. Caroline Lindquist put Carolina ahead in the 68th minute when the sophomore connected with Megan Brigman’s redirected header across the face of the goal.
Sunday’s match against KSU was another difficult puzzle for the Tar Heels. UNC seemed on their way to another unproductive first half with the Owls limiting the Tar Heel offense to nine shots. Less than a minute to go in the half, though, Carolina finally found a way through the defense when Paige Nielsen, receiving a ball to the left of goal, sent a trickling shot to the far post, eluding Owl keeper Olivia Sturdivant for the first score. The second half was another workman-like chore for UNC, but sophomore Summer Green’s cannon-shot from 23 yards out finally put some distance between the two teams. Kealia Ohai chalked one up for herself on a nice feed through the center by Brooke Elby. Receiving the ball at the top of the box and with her back to goal, Ohai zigged as her defender zagged, leaving the opponent on the ground and putting Ohai straight in on goal for the third score of the match.
UNC’s (4-0-0) biggest test of the season comes on Friday with the undefeated UCLA Bruins meeting the Tar Heels on the semi-neutral grounds of Durham in the Duke Nike Classic.
Stanford (2) – Tied 1-1 with No. 16 Portland at home on Saturday.
Maybe the Cardinal are just choosing to save their energy, but their results have been raising eyebrows for the wrong reasons, having only won their previous two games by one goal. Portland jumped out to an aggressive start, pinning the favored Cardinal side in their defensive half with fluid passing combinations all the way up the pitch. With the defense exposed in the 11th minute, Pilot Ellen Parker crossed the ball to the far post, where junior Emily Sipple dunked it in from close range. Stanford would eventually wrest control of the game away from the Pilots late in the first half, helped in large part by the substitution of freshman Ryan Walker-Hartshorn. Stanford goalkeeper Emily Oliver was injured in a collision before the half, leading to the introduction of heir-apparent to the USWNT net, Jane Campbell. In the second half, the home side would finally net one after a sustained half of pressure set up a Courtney Verloo corner which the Pilots were unable to clear. As the ball pinged around in the box, it eventually dropped to Haley Rosen who struck a nice right-footed shot to beat keeper Erin Dees. Stanford stayed on the accelerator the rest of the half, but were unable to find a way past Dees again. Both teams had excellent chances in the overtime segment, but remained deadlocked at the end.
With this the only game of the weekend for the Card, Stanford (2-0-1) will have to wait until next weekend’s bouts against Loyola Marymount and No. 15 Maryland to convince pollsters they belong near the top of the table.
Florida State (3) – Beat No. 9 Florida 3-0 on Friday, Won 1-0 in OT over UCF on Sunday
Friday’s battle of in-state Top 10 rivals was slightly anti-climactic after FSU handled the Gators fairly easily. Dagny Brynjarsdottir stamped her name on this one, scoring twice in just over two minutes. Her first goal came off a clever chip over onrushing Gator keeper Nora Neset Gjøen, while the second looked like a simple game of connect-the-dots as Ireland international Megan Campbell hurled a a line-drive throw from an incredible distance straight to the Icelander for a clean header into the goal. The real spear through Florida hearts came just seconds before the half as Michaela Hahn rifled a gorgeous strike into the opposite corner from distance to put the result beyond doubt. The Seminoles ceded possession in the second half, but you got the feeling it was more to sharpen their defensive chops rather than any kind of Gator revival.
Sunday the Seminoles returned to Tallahassee to host in-state foe UCF. Florida State had their hands full with the No. 17 Knights, going into overtime before a blocked shot from Berglind Thorvaldsdottir fell loose in the box which defender Kirsten Crowley cleaned up to kill the game away.
The midwest wagon train rolls into Tallahassee next weekend, as the Seminoles (4-0-0) host Big-12 powers Oklahoma State and Oklahoma on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
UCLA (4) – Squeaked past No. 20 Marquette 2-1 on Friday and No. 7 Notre Dame 1-0 on Sunday.
Friday was the warm-up for a pair of challenging match-ups in the Notre Dame Invitational as the Bruins eked out a victory against Marquette despite giving up a goal less than a minute into the game. Freshman Darian Jenkins again scored for UCLA for her third of the season while Samantha Mewis broke the deadlock in the second half to net the game-winner.
Sunday’s match against Notre Dame was another grinding battle, with the Bruins showing slightly more on offense than the Irish, but neither team emerging as a clear favorite through 80 minutes. With 10 minutes left, fate smiled on the Bruins when Ally Courtnall’s long-range missile struck the crossbar, rebounding in the box, where a scrambling Irish defense couldn’t clear before Jenkins tapped it in for her fourth goal in as many games. Abby Dahlkemper was particularly impressive on defense, outrunning a number of ND breakaways to foil the Irish attack.
Friday. Bruins. Heels. ‘Nuff said.
Virginia (5) – Destroyed No. 9 Penn State 5-1 and topped Richmond 3-0 for an encore.
Wow. Is Penn State this bad or is Virginia this good? (Correct answer: Virginia are this good.) Following Friday’s jaw-dropping result, there can’t be much doubt that Virginia are a legitimate powerhouse this year. The blistering Cavalier offense put PSU to work with 27 shots, 13 of them on goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom’s goal. With five goals all coming from a variety of players, coach Steve Swanson’s plan of offense-by-committee seems to be working perfectly: So far, eight Cavaliers have gotten on the score sheet in three games. Morgan Brian threw down the gauntlet minutes after an early Maya Hayes goal with a left-footed laser from the top of the box to even the score. Brian was assisted by Makenzy Doniak who broke loose in the box five minutes later for another goal and unsung midfield workhorse Kate Norbo got in on the fiesta two minutes afterwards with a lengthy run capped by a sweet strike of her own. Any sparks of hope for a Penn State revival at the half were quickly doused as defender Shasta Fisher scored almost immediately after the break on a fantastic combination play with Gloria Douglas. Brittany Ratcliffe added the final goal for her team-leading fourth, all coming off the bench.
Sunday’s game against in-state rival Richmond featured less of Brian, as the midfielder played in just the opening half to prepare for a brief trip to the nation’s capitol to don the national team kit. The Cavaliers still brought offense by the bucket load as defender Molly Menchel had a first-half brace in two minutes and Doniak added another in the second 45 to bring each players’ season totals to three. Although the Cavaliers posted 28 shots on the Spiders, 11 on target, coach Swanson admitted that his players weren’t as sharp on Sunday and still need to improve in some areas.
Virginia (4-0-0) stays in Charlottesville for the third consecutive weekend, welcoming undefeated Rutgers and Seton Hall for the Virginia Nike Classic.
BYU (6) – Defeated Nebraska 3-0 at home
The Cougars played to a record crowd in Provo and rewarded their fans with a splendid showing. Despite controlling much of the match, it took BYU till the end of the first half to finally break the Cornhusker defense when Elena Medeiros scored on a header from senior Niki Fernandes’ corner kick. Cloee Colohan scored off another header in the second half while substitute Marissa Nimmer had a brilliant individual effort near the end of regulation, busting through several defenders before taking an angled shot through goalkeeper Emma Stevens’ outstretched palm to score the final goal.
Monday, BYU (2-0-0) goes on the road to Baton Rouge, to face LSU.
Notre Dame (7) – Hosted the Notre Dame Invitational, beating Oakland 4-0, but dropping a close game to UCLA 1-0.
Friday the Irish posted their third straight four-goal performance, this time over Oakland. Cold starts don’t seem to be an issue for the South Benders as Notre Dame came out aggressively to post goals within two minutes of the first half, second half and following a 35-minute weather delay in the second half. Lauren Bohaboy has emerged as the early leader in the attack, scoring two minutes into the game and assisting on Morgan Andrews’ first collegiate goal in the second half. Crystal Thomas earned points on two assists for Bohaboy’s goal and Karin Simonian’s early second-half goal.
Coach Randy Waldrum downplayed Sunday’s matchup against UCLA, insinuating that it was set up as more of a test for his young team than a clash of the titans. Notre Dame performed admirably, though, with the defensive line looking comfortable and composed, giving UCLA few golden chances. Notre Dame needed some Irish luck, but fortune favored the team from the West on this day. Notre Dame’s best opportunity came with 16 minutes left in the game when Crystal Thomas was in on goal after keeper Katelyn Rowland couldn’t come down with a flighted ball in the box, but Thomas’ netted strike was disallowed on an offside call. UCLA’s goal off a caromed shot was another stroke of bad luck, but the experience will be invaluable as ND prepare for the competition in the ACC. If this was a test for the Irish, the defense and midfield seemed very solid, but the attack seems to just be lacking some creative solutions in the final third.
Notre Dame (3-1-0) play Detroit in their only game of the coming weekend before beginning conference play the following weekend.
Florida (8) – Dropped Friday’s game against Florida State 0-3, then won 4-0 away at Florida International.
The Gators were force-fed a bit of humble pie on Friday as they were unable to find a way through Florida State’s oppressive defense. Freshman Savannah Jordan, coming off an opening weekend performance that garnered numerous Player of the Week honors, showed she has a tremendous physical ability on the front line (check out her YouTube video showcasing her martial arts skill), but her lone presence up top just wasn’t enough to break down the twin towers of Kassey Kallman and Kristin Grubka. Florida had a few decent looks at the goal in the first half, but FSU never really seemed all that worried.
Sunday’s match against FIU provided some therapeutic release for a Florida team on the rebound. Four different Gators scored, including a second-half shot which got rookie Jordan back on track for her sixth of the year. Caroline Triglia opened the scoring in the first half, while freshmen Pamela Begic and Meggie Dougherty Howard each scored on headers off set pieces in the second.
Florida (3-1-0) sees the Sooners and Cowgirls in reverse order from FSU, with Oklahoma playing in Gainesville on Friday and Ok State on Sunday.
Penn State (9) – Lost away to No. 5 Virginia 1-5 and turned the tables on La Salle, winning 5-1.
Maya Hayes looked to have Penn State off and running early in the game against Virginia when Mallory Weber outmaneuvered a bold advance from keeper Morgan Stearns to connect with Hayes in front of an unguarded goal. The Cavaliers’ attack retaliated by shredding their three-back defense, sending the Nittany Lions back to Happy Valley to lick their wounds.
Penn State began to pick up the pieces from Friday’s beating by doling out a 5-1 thrashing of their own. It took over half an hour for the engine to get warmed up, but when it did, all the key components in the offense, Maya Hayes, Raquel Rodriguez, Taylor Schram and Tani Costa, got their licks in. The defense was still a little too loose, though, allowing the weaker La Salle side back into the game in the second half with a goal and 12 shots total on the day, before PSU were able to respond with three unanswered goals to put the game on ice.
Penn State (2-1-1) can’t let their guard down next week as Boston University comes to Jeffrey Field fresh off a win over Big 10 team Northwestern.
Wake Forest (10) – Defeated North Texas in double-overtime Friday 2-1, but had Sunday’s 1-0 lead against Louisville erased when severe weather cancelled the game.
Katie Stengel’s free kick blast in the 106th minute saved the Deacons some blushes after North Texas drew level and held the scoreline from the beginning of the second half. The goal was Stengel’s third in the young season and her second game-winner. Stengel is a dominant force in the game, but coach Tony Da Luz finds himself with the familiar problem of limited support surrounding her.
Wake Forest moves on to Portland to face a hapless Washington and an exhilarating No. 16 Pilots team.
The results mean Florida and Penn State should temporarily drop out of the Top 10 with the Card likely falling a few spots as well. A number of 10-20 teams still boast flawless records and are steadily moving up the board….
Baylor (11, 4-0-0) – Won away at Washington 1-0 and SMU 2-0. Big tests against former Big 12 rivals Texas A&M and Missouri await in the coming weekend.
Duke (12, 3-1-0) – Posted 1-0 victories over both Kennesaw State and New Mexico. A win’s a win, but the offense needs some smelling salts with West Virginia and No. 4 UCLA coming to town next.
Georgetown (13, 4-0-0) – Won away at George Washington 3-2 and at home to VCU 4-0. If they can get a positive result against NC State on Wednesday, the Hoyas might be able to stretch out their undefeated run for a while.
Michigan (14, 4-0-0) – Needed OT to down Eastern Michigan 2-1 and won 3-1 over San Diego State. Host Pepperdine in their only match of the coming week on Friday.
Maryland (15, 4-0-0) – Concluded a four-game homestand to beat George Mason 3-0 and sink Navy 2-0. Undefeated as they head out West, it’s difficult to imagine the Terps leaving California unscathed with Santa Clara and No. 2 Stanford on tap next.
Portland (16, 3-0-1) – Tied No. 2 Stanford on the road. Will play Central Michigan and No. 10 Wake Forest in the Nike Portland Invitational. After their performance in Palo Alto, it’s entirely foreseeable that the Pilots could take down the higher-ranked Deacs and run well into October with no losses.
UCF (17, 2-2-0) – Lost to both Tennessee 1-2 and to No. 3 Florida State 0-1. The schedule eases up for a little bit, starting with upcoming matches against North Florida and Middle Tennessee State.
Cal (18, 3-0-1) – Victorious over Detroit 2-1 and San Jose State 3-0. Play Harvard and UC Davis next with a tough contest against Santa Clara looming after.
Texas A&M (19, 2-2-0) – Beat Arizona State 3-1, but were porous against Pepperdine, losing 1-3. The Aggies continue their generous eight-game homestand next weekend against San Diego on Friday. Sunday’s battle against No. 11 Baylor presents a winnable match versus the undefeated and highly-ranked Bears: TAMU has dominated the series with a 14-4-1 record.
Marquette (20, 2-2-0) – Lost 1-2 to No. 4 UCLA and rebounded 4-1 against Oakland. The Marquette Invitational brings Saint Mary’s and Colorado College with no truly stiff opponents on the horizon until former Big East powerhouse Louisville come to Valley Fields in three weeks.
Boston College and Hofstra took this week’s award for most ridiculous scoreline, with visiting BC emerging the victors in the first overtime of a 6-5 defenders’ nightmare. McKenzie Meehan had a hat trick for BC and Stephanie McCaffrey scored two and assisted on four in the Eagles’ victory. Hofstra initially took a 2-0 lead 10 minutes into the game before the pair went ballistic. Boston College have been all over the map in their first four games, which makes next week’s contest against No. 24 Ohio State an exciting prospect.
Kentucky scored a touchdown against Eastern Kentucky on Friday with a hat trick of goals from freshman Zoe Swift, and a hat trick of assists from defender-by-day, forward-by-night Arin Gilliland.
No. 25 Denver, Miami (Fl), Rutgers, Iowa, Minnesota, Arkansas, USC, Ole Miss, Temple, St. John’s and Colorado are all undefeated through the second week of play.
Notre Dame was the only ACC team to lose a contest this weekend. Both Clemson and Va Tech had draws on Friday, while Boston College and Pitt both stumbled for losses mid-week.
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