Monthly Archives: October 2011

NCAA Soccer – Your Tournament Week Bubble Cheat Sheet

So this might need some explaining.

Everything after the jump is pretty self-explanatory. Those are my best guesses based on RPI and significant results as to what each bubble team needs to make it into the field. Of course, that’s with the caveat that the bubble may contract if there are conference tournament upsets with locked teams stealing at-large bids.

Before the jump, I’ve separated all the teams who I think have legitimate claims to a potential at-large bid into three categories. The first shows those teams with an at-large chance who are still possibilities for their league’s automatic bid. The second category is teams eliminated from their conference tournament or out of the running for their league’s title in conferences without tournaments who are on the bubble. The third category is similar but with teams who are locked into the field with an at-large berth.

As the week goes on, the teams in the first category will dwindle and be moved into one of the last three categories (or removed entirely for team’s on the back edge of the bubble), giving us our final bubble group on Sunday evening. With teams shifting between groups, we’ll also be able to grab an estimate of how many spots are up for grab between bubble teams.

The last category is for auto bid holders. Teams will migrate down here throughout the week as well obviously. By this first count, there are currently fifty-one teams in the running for twenty-eight at-large bids.

Active Auto-Bid Pool (44): Boston University, Dayton, La Salle, Richmond, Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, Missouri, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Louisville, Georgetown, Penn State, Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, UC Irvine, Long Beach State, William & Mary, Memphis, UCF, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Central Michigan, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Denver, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, San Diego

Eliminated Bubble Pool (7): Miami (FL), NC State, Oregon State, Cal, Washington State, Portland, BYU

Eliminated Lock Pool (6): North Carolina, Boston College, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Marquette, UCLA

Confirmed Auto-Bid Pool (2/30): Stanford, Harvard
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NCAA Soccer – RPI Bracket After October 30 Matches

1 – Duke – ACC*
2 – Stanford – Pac-12*
3 – Virginia – ACC
4 – Wake Forest – ACC
5 – Memphis – Conference USA*
6 – Oklahoma State – Big XII*
7 – Florida State – ACC
8 – UCLA – Pac-12

9 – Pepperdine – WCC
10 – Florida – SEC
11 – Penn State – Big Ten*
12 – North Carolina – ACC
13 – Santa Clara – WCC*
14 – Baylor – Big XII
15 – Boston College – ACC
16 – Texas A&M – Big XII
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NCAA Soccer – Toreros Tame Cougars To Keep WCC Title Hopes Alive

Elissa Magracia

Top Torero - Elissa Magracia Was The Difference Against BYU

BYU 0 – 1 (Magracia 57′) San Diego

Elissa Magracia’s early second half goal stood up, likely sending San Diego to the NCAA Tournament while dealing BYU’s hopes a severe blow. Magracia’s goal was, in a way, a bit of a gift after a long ball down the flank led to a suicidal square ball from the normally steady Lindsi Lisonbee in defense. Magracia would intercept and dash into the box, seeing her first attempt saved by McKinzie Olson and her second attempt blocked by the defense. Persistence paid off though, and Magracia was third time lucky as her shot went over the prone Olson and off the underside of the bar before crossing the line. The Torero defense held strong to maintain their lead and pick up a huge win, not only for their NCAA Tournament hopes but also for their run at a possible WCC title. The big question about San Diego’s always been what they’ll be able to do when Stephanie Ochs isn’t providing the offense. Magracia stepped up in a big way on this afternoon with the game winner and four shots on goal to boot. If San Diego’s offense isn’t one dimensional, they can be a very dangerous team, because the defense is a very good unit. Whatever was affecting this team in the middle of the season during their horrid losing spell seems to be long dead and buried, making these Toreros a very dangerous proposition come November. That includes on Friday against Santa Clara in another big WCC showdown that has major title implications.

The game is likely up for BYU. They have one match remaining against St. Mary’s which isn’t likely to boost their RPI much, if it all. With some of the teams on its non-conference slate being of dubious distinction, the Cougars really needed a big win which unfortunately for them never came. Their profile is very, very thin with the only win of real note being against Portland. The palpable dejection in BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood’s quotes after the match really said it all. How this team wasn’t able to respond with the appropriate energy at home with the season potentially on the line will be a much discussed mystery. For now though, they have to finish with a win and hope a lot of teams ahead of them implode, or it’ll be a very disappointing first season in the WCC for the Cougars.
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NCAA Soccer – The First XI for October 30, 2011

Jessica Schuveiller

The Heat Is On - Jessica Schuveiller & The Irish Will Be Under Pressure To Win On Sunday

(17) Marquette vs (41) Notre Dame – 2:00 PM EST – Big East Tournament Quarterfinal [Regular Season: Marquette 3 - 2 Notre Dame (aet)]

Never in a million years did anybody think it would come to this for Notre Dame at the beginning of the season. Or even halfway through the season. But as the Irish start their postseason journey, they stand on the brink of also finishing it in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon. It’s difficult to say if whether a defeat will prove fatal to their NCAA Tournament hopes, but the signs are iffy to say the least. While Notre Dame’s RPI number is on the happy side of the bubble, their overall profile could be enough to give the Selection Committee pause when looking at them for an at-large bid. The Irish have no great wins, with a bubble win over Wisconsin their best victory of the season, while a draw with Santa Clara is really their only other result of consequence. The club has also bubble losses to Georgetown and Louisville to worry about as they take the pitch at Valley Fields on Sunday. Their opponents have already beaten Notre Dame once this season, 3-2, in a mistake riddled performance from the Irish that saw them fall very early into extra time. The Golden Eagles have no small degree of incentive coming into this one, knowing that being on the bubble for a national seed, a deep run into this tournament will do their cause plenty of good. Marquette were humbled in their second league match against West Virginia but have since won nine in a row to claim a share of their division’s title in the Big East. The Golden Eagles have made it look pretty easy as well, conceding just one time since the first Notre Dame match this season. Staring down Melissa Henderson and a desperate Notre Dame team is a whole different matter though and could derail Marquette’s Big East Tournament run at the first hurdle. Most eyes will be on the visitors though. Defeat will mean a very nervous week while they await their fate.
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NCAA Soccer – Broncos Buck Waves To Take Command of WCC

Bridgett Miller

One Step Closer - Bridgett Miller's Goal Puts Santa Clara on The Brink of A WCC Title

Santa Clara 1 (Miller 45′) – 0 Pepperdine

Santa Clara used an all-out assault on goal in the first half to take a lead that they’d hold through the second period as the Broncos took hold of their WCC title destiny against Pepperdine. Despite battering the Pepperdine goal for much of the opening half, it’d take until the last minute of the period for the home side to take the lead. A foul at midfield saw goalkeeper Bianca Henninger step up for Santa Clara and drive a ball into the area that Bridgett Miller got onto the end of, beating Roxanne Barker at last and delivering a real sucker punch to the visitors before the break. Truthfully, Pepperdine should have been thankful it was only 1-0 after Sophia Huerta hit the post in the twenty-second minute, while Barker saved the day late in the half with a kick save on Julie Johnston. After being outshot 14-3 in the first half, the Waves began to surge in the second half in search of an equalizer. Henninger was forced into a leaping save of Myriah Stockman’s effort early in the half, while Lynn Williams dragged a shot just wide later in the half. The Broncos would hold on to the advantage to take the lead in the WCC title race and end Pepperdine’s unbeaten mark. Santa Clara’s hitting their stride at a great time in the season. The month of September, where they went winless in five matches with four draws seems a long, long time ago, and it’s easy to forget that the Broncos have only lost to Stanford. Henninger was her brilliant self again, while Julie Johnston and Sophia Huerta were vibrant in the attack for the Broncos. A slumping Loyola Marymount side should be handled easily enough by a focused SCU side on Sunday before a showdown at San Diego next Friday.

It was always going to be difficult for anyone, much less a team that hadn’t been in a title race in years, to get through the perilous WCC schedule unscathed. Pepperdine came out slower than they should have and got caught, by a goal with just seconds remaining in the half, no less. They battled back valiantly though but just couldn’t find a way through. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this team responds on Sunday against a Portland team fighting for their postseason lives. Having not been defeated before Friday, nobody really knows how the Waves are going to respond to such a setback. The title certainly isn’t lost, and Pepperdine will be right back in the mix if SCU slips up in their final two matches.
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NCAA Soccer – The First XI for October 29, 2011

Lindsi Lisonbee

Lockdown Artist - Towering Defender Lindsi Lisonbee Will Aim To Shut Down USD's Stephanie Ochs

(51) BYU vs (45) San Diego – 3:00 PM EST

There’s very little subtlety about Saturday’s matchup in Provo between the Cougars and Toreros. Both sides are on the bubble, both sides desperately need a win to continue their march towards the NCAA Tournament. It’s been a season of streaks for San Diego who lost five in a row in the middle of the year but have now won five in a row in WCC play. Luckily for USD fans, they have accrued no small number of bubble scalps this season and may get the benefit of the doubt from the selection committee in a few weeks’ time. The home side have also been on a tear as of late, ripping up some of the league’s second tier sides to keep their slight title hopes alive while working their way back into the bubble picture. The problem for the Cougars is that they don’t nearly have the number of bubble wins San Diego has, meaning this is crucial to their NCAA Tournament hopes. A loss here would likely equal big trouble for BYU, though San Diego probably has a little more leverage with Santa Clara in their finale a prime target for boosting their RPI. The visitors will have to hope to contain BYU’s powerful attack which has scored eleven goals in the past three matches. But the Cougars will have to be on guard themselves to shut down Stephanie Ochs, one of the nation’s most dangerous strikers when at her best. The visitors will also have to be prepared to face one of the most intimidating crowds in the nation at South Field in Provo.

Atlantic Sun

Quarterfinals – At Higher Seed

(4) North Florida vs (5) Belmont – 2:00 PM EST

NCAA Soccer – RPI Bracket After October 28 Matches

1 – Duke – ACC*
2 – Stanford – Pac-12*
3 – Virginia – ACC
4 – Wake Forest – ACC
5 – Memphis – Conference USA*
6 – UCLA – Pac-12
7 – Oklahoma State – Big XII*
8 – North Carolina – ACC

9 – Florida State – ACC
10 – Pepperdine – WCC
11 – Florida – SEC
12 – Penn State – Big Ten*
13 – Boston College – ACC
14 – Santa Clara – WCC*
15 – Baylor – Big XII
16 – Texas A&M – Big XII
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Canada Brings Home Pan American Gold

Mexsport; CSA

That title has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? The Canadian Women’s National Team captured the top prize at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico by defeating Brazil in dramatic fashion. Following a come-from-behind 1-1 draw in regulation and a scoreless overtime, Canada struck gold with penalty kicks, 4-3.

Twenty year-old Debora opened the scoring just 4 minutes into the match. The Brazilian striker headed towards three Canadian defenders and was given an excess of space to dribble up field before unleashing a top corner beauty from outside the box.

Canada was able to stay in the game thanks to a series of critical saves by Karina LeBlanc, especially late in regulation time when Brazil began peppering the Canadian net. Brazil outshot Canada 22-13, while Canada maintained 57% of possession.

As the clock ticked away, it appeared that Brazil was on its way to claiming another PanAm gold medal. However, like the 2011 Women’s World Cup quarter-finals against the USA, Brazil was undone late in the game by an equalizer off a header. This time it was at the mercy of Christine Sinclair being her usual clutch self. Canada won a corner kick in the 88th minute and Diana Matheson sent in a perfectly struck ball. Sinclair circled around goalkeeper Barbara to head it in with ease and forced the game into overtime.

But 30 minutes was not enough to break the deadlock between the teams, so the dreaded, heart wrenching penalty kicks were to settle the score.

Matheson converted the first Canadian PK with confidence, as did Francielle for Brazil. Upon the second round, Barbara was in a rage when she got a glove on Sinclair’s shot, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out of the net. Maurine and Melanie Booth were both successful in their respective shots from the mark. Canada took the lead following Brazil’s third PK when Grazielle placed her attempt up the middle for an easy stop by LeBlanc. Sophie Schmidt put Canada ahead once again and Ketlen answered back. It was 4-3 heading into the fifth set of PKs; things got momentarily tense for Canada while Brazil saw a glimmer of hope when Candace Chapman’s strike rattled the right sided post. The next kicker, Debora, had an opportunity to play hero for Brazil once again if she could tie up the results, but LeBlanc guessed the right direction to make her second PK save and secure first place.

Watch highlights of the final, Canada vs. Brazil, Brazil’s medal ceremony, Canada celebrating the win and the gold medal ceremony.

The win marks Canada’s first PanAm gold in women’s soccer, and John Herdman’s first tournament win since taking over the team in September. Canada previusly claimed fourth (1999), second (2003) and third place (2007) since the sport was included in the PanAm Games 12 years earlier. Brazil had won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2007, and with the absence of any US team, it appeared to be theirs for the taking. Alas, it was yet another second place finish (see: the Women’s World Cup, Olympic Games and Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo).

2015 will be a marquee year for the Canadian Women’s National Team with the Women’s World Cup being staged across Canada from June 26-July 17 and PanAm Toronto July 10-26. The overlap makes it highly unlikely that the senior team will be able to defend their title as the reigning PanAm Women’s Soccer champions. But with that aside, the build up in the next 4 years will be exciting times for the sport in the country. Whether it’ll be about seeking World Cup redemption or potentially instilling confidence in our youth team to represent us at the PanAms in place of the full squad, it’s all taking place in Canada. There’s no better feeling than playing (and winning) on home soil, right?

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NCAA Soccer – Duke Are ACC Champions While North Carolina Stumbles Again

Duke Wins The Title

Second To None - Duke's Kaitlyn Kerr (5) Celebrates Her Title Winning Goal With Her Teammates

Boston College 2 (Wagner 11′, Bouchelle 32′) – 0 Wake Forest

Boston College eased past an off-song Wake Forest side in Chestnut Hill to earn the right to host an ACC Tournament match against these same Demon Deacons on Sunday. The Eagles were perhaps more used to playing through the rain and snow that turned the field into a winter wonderland in the second half. With that in mind, it was a good thing for the home side that they did their scoring damage early in the match. Gibby Wagner notched the match winner in the eleventh minute after shooting with her first touch after a deft pass from Victoria DiMartino. Right after the half-hour mark, Julia Bouchelle would double the Eagles’ lead with a shot from just inside the area. Wake would have their only shot on goal of the entire match in the first half when Rachel Nuzzolese had her effort tipped over the bar by Jillian Mastroianni. The elements and a stout Boston College defense would prove to be too much for Wake to overcome though, and the Demon Deacons went down relatively tamely as the snow began to fall in heavier doses towards the end of the match. This was a great win for the Eagles who now get home advantage in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal and did it without DiMartino or Kristen Mewis even putting a shot on goal. That they were able to still win 2-0 over a tough opponent speaks volumes. Given Thursday’s result, the Eagles should fancy their chances at doing the double over their ACC rivals and may well be a dark horse for the ACC Tournament title.

Wake Forest probably weren’t very comfortable with the weather in Massachusetts on Friday night, but despite that, the loss underlines a severe loss of form for much of the month of October. The Demon Deacons have swiftly gone from an ACC title contender and potential College Cup team, to losing out on hosting an ACC Tournament match with this defeat. Wake’s offense has fallen off a cliff in the last month, having been shut out in four of their past five, with the lone exception coming against bottom club Clemson. Katie Stengel has been unable to recreate the form that made her such a terror for the first half of the season, while Rachel Nuzzolese has yet to hit the heights of her pre-injury form of last year either. The problem for WF is that beyond the deadly duo, the offense is hardly the most dynamic, and if someone can shut down the forward pair, it’s going to be very hard for the Demon Deacons to squeeze out results. Tony da Luz has to find the right solution for his side to cure their woes, and he has to do it quick or it’s going to be a short postseason.
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NCAA Soccer – The First XI for October 28, 2011 – Santa Clara vs Pepperdine

Julie Johnston

Heart & Soul - Santa Clara's Julie Johnston Will Lead By Example Again Versus Pepperdine

(17) Santa Clara vs (10) Pepperdine – 8:00 PM EST [Last Year: Pepperdine 3 - 2 Santa Clara]

It’s the WCC match of the season, and for once, it doesn’t involve a certain team from the Pacific Northwest. Instead, the upstarts from Malibu will try to take a massive step towards claiming the WCC title by upending Santa Clara on Friday evening. History will be against the undefeated Waves though, as the visiting side in this series has enjoyed almost no success. You have to go back to 1999 to find the last time the home side lost in this fixture when Pepperdine was thumped 5-0 by their California rivals. Then again, this Waves side has had little use for history so far, shredding program record books with a seventeen match unbeaten run (eighteen if you count last season’s finale win against the Broncos). Title rivals have been waiting for the Waves to slip up, but it hasn’t happened, with the Malibu club winning their first five league contests to move to the brink of a league title. Pepperdine’s been doing it with defense in league play, having conceded just one from five league games so far. Considering some of the firepower they’ve come up against, it’s been a mighty impressive run indeed. But this is a much bigger challenge for the Waves. Santa Clara not only has home advantage, but an offense that may just be finding it’s groove. The Broncos have scored multiple goals in seven of their last eight and have scored eleven in their last three matches. With just one defeat to their name, the Broncos are looking like a club that could potentially make it to Kennesaw in December. But WCC silverware is the order of the day on Friday. A Pepperdine win all but sends the trophy back to Malibu. A Broncos triumph and the momentum swings back to Jerry Smith’s side for the final week of the season.
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