The review is a little behind this week, so we’ll go ahead and incorporate the updated rankings following this past weekend’s action:
North Carolina (1) – Stayed at the top of the mountain by defeating #3 UCLA 1-0 and #19 West Virginia 4-2 to win the Duke Nike Classic.
A relentless Carolina offense had UCLA’s back against the wall for most of Friday’s game. Crystal Dunn finally ended the standoff in the 79th-minute while the goalkeeping platoon of Bryane Heaberlin and Anna Sieloff combined for the shutout.
Sunday’s contest against the Mountaineers saw the Tar Heels pull ahead 3-0 at the half, then add another at the start of the second. Dunn scored again while Joanna Boyles’ stunning bender on a free kick for the third goal was particularly impressive. Four goals down, West Virginia kept fighting, though, and put up two of their own in quick succession on a complacent Heels defense. Similar to Friday’s game, Anson Dorrance again was critical of his team’s lack of discipline under pressure when they should’ve been dictating the flow of the game, but was overall “ecstatic” with his team’s performance at the conclusion of the weekend.
Carolina (6-0-0) heads into conference play undefeated. First up for the Tar Heel buzzsaw: Virginia Tech on Thursday followed by #8 Notre Dame on Sunday. Dunn’s six goals in six games account for over a third of the team’s offensive production this season.
Virginia (2) – Blew out Rutgers 6-0 and Seton Hall 3-0. Slip-ups from Florida State and UCLA allowed the undefeated Cavaliers to slot into the #2 spot, up 3 places from last week.
Another barrage of goals in Charlottesville on Friday as the home side presented Rutgers with their first loss of the season. Danielle Colaprico had a tournament-MVP performance, netting a pair of beauties against the Scarlet Knights. It wouldn’t be a Virginia victory without goals from Morgan Brian and uber-sub Brittany Ratcliffe as the two players scored again.
Brian featured in Sunday’s match as well with two goals and an assist against Seton Hall while Makenzy Doniak, showing no signs of a sophomore slump, had a goal and an assist to bring her points total up to 11 for the season. Steve Swanson’s backline of Shasta Fisher, Molly Menchel, Emily Sonnett and Morgan Stith has solidified into an impenetrable wall and Michigan State-transfer Annie Steinlage’s conversion to holding mid is paying huge dividends as a first line of defense. While Virginia have scored 25 goals through their first 6 games, their opponents haven’t even managed 25 shots.
Virginia (6-0-0) wrap up a month-long homestand on Thursday, rolling out the “Welcome to the ACC” mat for newbies Syracuse. Morgan Brian leads the team with 15 points from five goals and five assists, but ten different Cavaliers have scored to make for a real cornucopia of offense.
Stanford (3) – Posted their first multi-goal margins of victory with a 4-0 win over Loyola Marymount and 3-0 win over #16 Maryland. They moved up one spot from last week.
Stanford may have finally awakened following their unexpected draw at home against Portland. Friday’s 4-0 thumping of Loyola Marymount featured goals from Senior forwards Courtney Verloo and Taylor Uhl as well as the first for freshman defender Stephanie Amack. The shooting was remarkably wild, though, as the Cardinal only put four of 25 shots on target, but those four all found the back of the net.
Maryland were a potential banana peel, but Stanford took care of business in Palo Alto with bookend goals from Minnesota transfer Uhl in the 10th and 89th minutes. Jane Campbell has lived up to her billing so far as the freshman has yet to allow a goal on her watch while filling in for the injured Emily Oliver in net.
Stanford (4-0-1) host Iowa State and St. Mary’s in the coming weekend before another big test away against a resurgent Santa Clara side the following week.
Florida State (4) – Dropped two spots in the poll following a 1-1 draw with Oklahoma State on Friday, before narrowly defeating Oklahoma 1-0 on Sunday.
With 31 shots fired on Friday, all but three of the 15 field players who took to the pitch for the Seminoles had a crack at the Cowgirls’ frame. Improbably, only one went in: Jamia Fields’ very late goal with 69 seconds left in regulation to tie it up. Oklahoma State had a pair of goal line clearances to keep FSU scoreless in the previous 89 minutes and neither team were able to settle the score through overtime.
With only one day to recover from Friday’s 110-minute contest, the tired Seminoles mustered one lone goal, a 76th-minute strike from Dagny Brynjarsdottir, to defeat a weaker Sooner team. Although it was the fourth shutout of the season, it was also the fourth time FSU scored a solitary goal, leading to some hand-wringing amongst the Seminole faithful about the lack of cutting edge in the offense.
Florida State leave the state of Florida for the first time this season as they head to North Carolina to battle #7 Wake Forest on Thursday with #15 Duke next up on Sunday.
UCLA (5) – Lost to UNC 0-1, but handled Duke in a 2-1 victory on Sunday. The Bruins dropped two spots to #5 this week.
The Bruins held out valiantly against a blitzkrieg UNC offense on the back of a stellar performance from goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland who earned a spot on the all-tournament team for her heroics. UCLA may not have much appreciation for the irony, but the loss was very similar to their one-goal defeat of Notre Dame a week prior as UCLA’s defense, especially center backs Abby Dahlkemper and Megan Oyster, buoyed the backline through an 80-minute hail storm, but just couldn’t quite go the distance.
Sunday’s match against Duke gave the road-weary Bruins an immediate chance to respond. An early goal from Rosie White put UCLA on top and Darian Jackson doubled the lead in the second half, shooting on an empty net after Duke goalkeeper Ali Kershner came well out of the box trying to stifle Jackson’s run. A mistake by the Bruin defense with four seconds remaining set up a Duke PK, making the contest look closer on paper than it was.
Following a grueling road trip, the Bruins have just one game this weekend, a home contest against San Diego State on Friday.
BYU (6) – Won away at LSU 4-2 on the previous Monday and at home 1-0 over Utah, holding their spot
Four different players contributed to the scoring in the defeat of LSU, as the two teams traded blows back-and-forth, drawing level twice before the Cougars finally started to pull away in the second half. BYU posted four times as many shots as the Tigers with 28 total.
Saturday’s derby against Utah was a typically tense affair which saw a BYU player sent off, a highlight reel of game-saving blocks from Utah keeper Cheyanne Mulcock and, ultimately, a goal off a PK by Cougar Ashley Hatch to earn a dramatic fourth win for BYU with two minutes left on the clock.
BYU faces Pac-12 side Oregon on Thursday away before returning to South Field to play UC Irvine on Saturday.
Wake Forest (7) – Away at the Nike Portland Invitational, the Deacons beat Washington 1-0 and #15 Portland 3-2 to win the tournament. Their rank remains the same as the previous week.
Wake’s first game away from Winston-Salem was on the other side of the country against a tough Washington defense. Although the Huskies have underwhelmed in the scoring column thus far, they still outshot the Demon Deacons 10-9. The only goal of the game came early in the first half, when Katie Stengel scored directly off a corner kick.
Although Tony Da Luz seemed fairly pleased after Friday’s result, the Sunday contest against #15 Portland had the coach positively beaming, with Wake demonstrating the heart and determination his side will need to stay near the top this season. Going down 2-0 in the first half, the Deacs could’ve just cashed in their chips, but switched to an attacking 3-4-3 in the second to send the team on an astonishing 3-goal tear. Scoring contributions came from Riley Ridgik, Sarah Teegarden and Jackie McSally, later named Offensive MVP of the tournament.
The offense couldn’t have awakened at a better time with ACC play coming in just a few days. Wake (5-0-0) starts off with #5 Florida State at home on Thursday and Miami at the close of the weekend.
Notre Dame (8) – The Irish played one game against Detroit on Sunday: a 4-0 victory to hold their position in the rankings.
Four seems to be the lucky number for the Irish as the team put up its fourth four-goal performance in five games. Following last week’s defeat to UCLA, Notre Dame returned to their usual selves, scoring early and often against Detroit. Morgan Andrews seems to be settling in just fine, thank you, as the freshman midfielder had two goals and an assist in the contest. Meanwhile, the defense gave keeper Kaela Little little to do in the net, allowing only four shots all night, none of which required the freshman’s attention.
The Irish (4-1-0) open ACC play away at NC State before heading down the road to Chapel Hill and a daunting challenge against the defending national champions.
Florida (9) – Swept the Oklahomas, beating the Sooners 3-0 and the Cowgirls 2-0, while swapping places with Baylor in the rankings.
Three goal-scorers led the Gators over the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday as Pamela Begic, Lauren Smith and Brooke Sharp all contributed to the win. Sunday’s match against Oklahoma State was a two-goal performance from Havana Solaun while keeper Taylor Burke has been perfect through three-and-a-half games since taking over at halftime in the Florida State match.
Florida (5-1-0) has undefeated Big-10 side Minnesota on tap for Friday’s fixture with a match against USF on Sunday.
Baylor (10) – Picked up a win against Missouri 2-1, then battled to a scoreless draw with Texas A&M to drop one spot back in the poll.
The win against Mizzou came in spite of the Bears being outgunned by the Tigers 16 shots to 10. Goalkeeper Michelle Kloss kept her team in it with six saves as the offense put two up against Missouri. The contest against A&M will be the more memorable performance of the weekend, though, and for all the wrong reasons. Baylor settles in for a seven-game home stand beginning Friday against Cal Poly.
Michigan (11, 5-0-0) – A quality victory over a ranked Pepperdine side on Friday edges the Wolverines ever closer to the top 10. With winnable games against Detroit and Butler in the coming week, Michigan should be undefeated heading into the start of conference play.
Georgetown (12, 6-0-0) – Claimed an ACC skin away at NC State and returned home to beat Delaware 3-0 to move the Hoyas up one spot. Big East Offensive Player of the Year Daphne Corboz returned to the lineup for the first time this season in Sunday’s match and collected an assist.
Penn State (13, 4-1-1) – Beat Boston University 1-0 on Friday and Bucknell 6-0 on Tuesday. PSU travels to Oklahoma this week to play Oklahoma State and Tulsa.
Cal (14, 5-0-1) Had wins away at Harvard (2-1) and at home over UC Davis (4-0). Thursday the Bears have a marquee matchup away at Santa Clara.
Duke (15, 3-2-1) The Blue Devils will be happy to put a brutal non-conference schedule behind them, concluding with a one-all draw against #19 West Virginia and dropping their contest with #5 UCLA. Coach Robbie Church is still optimistic about the overall quality and character of his team, but has a number of concerns with injuries to three-year starter Gilda Doria, outside back Tabria Williford and the loss of last year’s ACC Freshman of the Year Cassie Pecht for the season. Miami comes to Durham on Thursday to kick off the start of ACC play.
Denver (16, 6-0-0) Off to their best start in program history, the Pioneers are undefeated through six with a 1-0 win over UT-Martin and a 2-0 shutout of hapless Alabama. Sunday Denver heads to Boulder to face in-state rivals Colorado with both teams putting their 6-0 records on the line.
Portland (17, 3-1-1) Following an early display of brilliance against Stanford, the Pilots moved down the table two spots following an uninspired 1-0 win over Central Michigan and a deflating 2-3 collapse to #7 Wake Forest.
South Carolina (18, 5-0-1) Continued their surprising rise up the charts, scoring a 2-1 win away at rival Clemson and a 2-0 home win versus SMU. With 10 goals in six games, the offense isn’t exactly running amok, but when you’ve got Sabrina D’Angelo in net, you don’t need much: The Canadian keeper has allowed just one goal so far this season. The Gamecocks have USF and East Carolina on the horizon before starting conference play the following week.
West Virginia (19, 3-1-2) – Made a fine account of themselves amongst three higher-ranked teams in the Duke tournament, tying the hosts 1-1 and showing a battling spirit in their 2-4 loss to the top team in the country. Carolina coach Anson Dorrance had high praise for the defensive performance of Canadian International Kadeisha Buchanan, calling her “one of the best defenders I’ve seen at the collegiate level” while forwards Frances Silva and Kate Schwindel each made the All-Tournament Team. With two weeks to go until the start of conference play, the only real challenge that lies ahead for the Mountaineers until then is Sunday’s match against Kentucky.
Texas A&M (20, 3-2-1) TAMU beat up on San Diego 6-1, but could only manage a scoreless draw in a controversial match against Baylor. An injury to forward Annie Kunz just seconds into the game will leave a bitter taste in Aggie mouths if she isn’t fit to play heading into the first week of conference play. With nearly all Sunday’s starters lasting the full 110 minutes in the match, the coming week’s home games against UMass and Cal Poly will be crucial for the team to get their heads right in the wake of Sunday’s drama.
Maryland (21, 4-2-0) A tough West Coast trip offered potentially huge rewards for the ACC side, but the Terrapins failed to even dent the scoreboard, losing 0-1 to Santa Clara and 0-3 against #3 Stanford. Forward Hayley Brock is off to a flying start with six goals in as many games as Maryland start their ACC season against Clemson on Thursday.
Marquette (22, 4-2-0) Scored three goals in each game of the Marquette Invitational with a shutout of St. Mary’s and a 3-1 victory over Colorado College.
USC (23, 3-1-1) A one-goal draw against a strong Ole Miss team on Friday and 0-1 loss to LSU on the opponent’s only shot-on-goal of the match dropped the Trojans back six spots from their previous #17.
Texas Tech (24, 5-1-0) The Red Raiders crack the Top 25 with home wins against Cal States Fullerton and Northridge, 1-0 and 3-1 respectively.
Arkansas (25, 6-0-0) A 1-0 win over Tulsa and a 2-1 double-overtime win over Nebraska keep the Razorbacks perfect through six.
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