NCAA Soccer Review – 08/24/12 – Stanford Rises Up Once More

Penn State-Stanford

A Record Crowd Watched Penn State & Stanford Put On A Classic

Penn State 2 (Weber 19′, Nairn PK 83′) – 3 (Doll 23′, Sy. Payne 63′, Nogueira 88′) Stanford

Stanford outlasted Penn State in front of a packed Jeffrey Field in a very entertaining match that could be set for an encore in November or December on the evidence from this night. Penn State would strike first in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, as a Christine Nairn shot from range took an awkward deflection right into the path of Mallory Weber, who used Aly Gleason’s slight hesitation in goal to beat the keeper to the ball and shoulder it beyond her, though Gleason did get a hand to it before it eventually rolled across the line. The Cardinal would strike back shortly after though, with a long ball nodded on by Courtney Verloo towards Alex Doll. Doll would beat her marker to the ball before firing across Erin McNulty’s body to knot the match up at 1-1. A cheap giveaway early in the second half almost let Stanford take the lead, with Natalie Griffen’s quick effort from the edge of the area clanging off the bar. Penn State would then almost strike themselves after a beautiful long diagonal ball from Nairn set Weber away. The freshman would round Gleason but saw her shot cleared off the line by Laura Liedle, and a follow-up effort saved by the keeper. The visitors would finally break the deadlock when a criminally unmarked Sydney Payne was allowed time to cut inside before ripping a shot from twenty yards that sailed into the left side of the goal, giving McNulty no chance. While the action percolated, things began to really pick up with ten minutes to play, and Penn State so nearly had the equalizer as Kori Chapic’s header was saved in jaw dropping fashion by Gleason. The chance would come soon enough though, as Rachel Quon hauled down Tani Costa in the area, netting the home side a penalty which Nairn dispatched into the left side of the goal. Just as it appeared that extra time was going to be in the cards, Stanford would come up trumps from a corner kick. Taylor McCann’s delivery forced Mariah Nogueira to run back to the ball, but the defensive midfielder got there and unleashed a powerful flicked header that snuck inside of the left post and out of the reach of McNulty. A late comeback against Notre Dame helped act as the catalyst for Stanford’s national title run last year, and so it could be again this year with a potentially momentous win against Penn State on the road. There were some defensive hiccups along the way, but Stanford never backed down and scored three great goals to win it. Alex Doll continues to show signs of great improvement for the club, while Aly Gleason grew into her starting role as the night rolled along, making a massive save in the second half to keep Stanford in it. Special mention of course has to be made of Mariah Nogueira, who has been immense as the club’s defensive midfielder thus far while proving why she’s one of the best aerial threats in the nation in Stanford’s two wins. A reeling West Virginia team should be dealt with if the Card are focused, setting up an immense Friday night showdown back in Palo Alto against Boston College next week.

It’s definitely been a while since Stanford’s been tested to that degree in the regular season, and Penn State could hardly be disappointed about their effort in a fabulous match. Christine Nairn had some outrageous passes that showcased her skill, while freshman Mallory Weber continued to look like a handful up front for the Nittany Lions. When you consider that this club is still missing its top two offensive threats, the possibilities are mouthwatering down the line for this club. While PSU may have been initially ticketed to mount a challenge to reach the College Cup, the first few weeks have shown that the bar should perhaps be set even higher. Now it’s just a matter of not looking ahead and past a talented Central Michigan team coming off a huge win of their own on Friday.

UConn 3 (Ruutu 2′, Schulmann 57′, McGuire 72′) – 4 (Jeffrey 44′, Meehan 59′, 86′, McCarthy 78′) Boston College

Boston College fell behind three times but equalized in turn before landing a knockout blow in the eighty-sixth minute in an early contender for match of the season against UConn. The backline issues that would rear their ugly head all night for the visitors emerged early, with Samantha McGuire’s sublime pass saw Linda Ruutu convert a wide open shot to give the hosts an early lead. The Eagles would spend much of the rest of the half knocking on the door but would only tie the game late in the half, as Jana Jeffrey turned in a blocked shot from Kristen Mewis to send the clubs into the break level. The Huskies would strike again through Danielle Schulmann, who took a pass from Ruutu before beating Alexa Gaul to make it 2-1. The lead would be short lived, with McKenzie Meehan scoring the first of her two goals right before the hour mark off an assist from Mewis. McGuire would give UConn their third lead of the night after Schulmann connected with McGuire in the seventy-second minute. The valiant Eagles would battle back for the third time on the night when Gibby Wagner’s shot was saved by Allison Saucier but put right to Kate McCarthy who set up a grandstand finish. Meehan would seal a famous BC victory with less than five to play, with a ten-yard finish following a feed from Victoria DiMartino. This was an absolute scorcher of a game, but it’s unlikely BC coach Alison Foley will want to repeat a seven goal thriller like this any time soon. The defense looked absolutely fragile at times, though enough can’t be said about the heart displayed by the Eagles to fight back three times. Meehan was a hit off the bench, and though Victoria DiMartino still looks a shadow of herself, the assist for the game winner was perhaps a sign of turning things around. Though Mewis was still heavily involved, this club still scoring four goals with her not tallying one of them is still a positive sign that the offense is at least diversifying from last year’s rather static unit. Boston University in the always fiercely fought derby awaits on Sunday night.

For better or for worse, UConn’s been a thrill a minute side this season. On one hand, that’s made for some unbelievably exciting matches through a week and a half. On the other, it’s probably leading to some grey hairs for the coaching staff as they try and figure a way to stop leaking so many goals. Giving up three equalizers, even against a talented squad like BC, is not a recipe for success, and the Huskies seriously need to tighten up in back if they want to reach their potential this year. Fortunately for UConn, Maine should provide a good opportunity to get back on solid footing Sunday before two huge games against North Carolina and Santa Clara next weekend.

UCF 0 – 1 (Brynjarsdottir 26′) Florida State

UCF held state rivals Florida State to just one shot on goal, but unfortunately for the home side, it turned out to be the only goal of the match. Jessica Price’s rifle-like long throw proved to be the catalyst for Florida State’s winner, as she launched the ball into the area in the middle of the first half where Icelandic sophomore Dagny Brynjarsdottir was waiting to head home for the game’s only goal. The home side had come out quickly and forced Kelsey Wys to make a pair of saves on Nicolette Radovcic to keep the score knotted at 0-0 early on. Wys would come up huge again late, parrying Kristin Trujic’s shot over the bar in the eighty-second minute to preserve FSU’s clean sheet. FSU would also have a shot cleared off the line as well as a Tiffany McCarty shot hit the woodwork in the second half but had trouble forcing Lianne Maldonado into saves in the UCF goal. After some real fireworks to open up the season, it was perhaps a little refreshing to see FSU capable of winning a game in 1-0 fashion. UCF did what UCF does best, and the Noles found a way to emerge triumphant. Price’s long throws are a real weapon for FSU, and Brynjarsdottir looks like a potential All-American given her impressive displays thus far for the club. One situation that does bear watching though is the status of French freshman Nora Kervroedan, who played the opening twenty-one minutes before being subbed off and not returning. Losing her for any length of time would be a blow, as the rookie has looked a real find early on this year. Florida comes calling next Friday, but the Noles will fancy their chances given how poor the Gators have looked thus far.

The Golden Knights always have the tendency to play better when the odds are stacked against them, and so it was on Friday, as they stymied FSU’s explosive offense in large part. While UCF’s offense didn’t carry over the form of the first week of the season, they still gave Florida State some problems, forcing some good saves out of Wys in goal. Now it’s a matter of bringing that same energy on Sunday against a very good Miami (FL) team hoping to make it a perfect weekend after a dominant win on Friday. Given the atmosphere in Orlando on Friday, the club will want to do everything it can to get its RPI high enough for a potential hosting duty in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and a win over the Hurricanes would go a long way in making that goal a possibility.

North Carolina 0 – 0 Florida

In a series that has promised goals and drama in the past, what was served up on Friday was a turgid, goalless draw that likely answered few lingering questions about these two titans of college soccer going forward. North Carolina will likelier be the happier of the two sides having come into the match ravaged by players away on international duty or carrying injuries. Amber Brooks came close to giving UNC a lead in the opening half, hitting the post after a long free kick had been brought down by Satara Murray. Florida struggled to create from the run of play in regulation, with one of their best chances coming from Havana Solaun lifting an indirect free kick over the bar in the second half. Some comedy defending by Florida in extra time nearly led to Paige Nielsen netting a winner, with the bar denying the rookie. Tar Heel keeper Anna Sieloff would come up big in snuffing out a chance on another set piece in extra time, coming out to claim bravely before Solaun could get a toe on the ball. UNC actually had the ball in the back of the net in the final seconds of the first half of extra time, but Maria Lubrano’s goal was chalked off for the closest of offside calls. Florida keeper Taylor Burke, by far the busier of the two keepers, would deny UNC a winner late, tipping over Brooks’ shot from range. Considering UNC has been so crippled by absences and were starting a pair of walk-ons in defense, they probably can’t complain too much about bringing home a draw. That defense did a great job shutting down the Gators in the run of play, limiting UF to trying to make something out of dead ball situations. The Heels probably will feel a bit aggrieved to have not won it though, considering they had a goal ruled out for offside while also hitting the woodwork twice.

The opening two matches have painted a somewhat grim picture for the Gators. That they weren’t able to mount much of an offensive attack against North Carolina, a team with a makeshift defense in many ways, should be alarming. One shot on goal in a hundred and ten minutes is just not acceptable, and Florida supporters might well be sweating bullets knowing that Duke’s standout defense is waiting on Sunday. The Gators really need a solution at center forward in a hurry though. McKenzie Barney is not delivering the goods and looks a shell of the player who just a few years ago couldn’t stop scoring. The return of Adriana Leon could help the Gators out, but banking on the inconsistent Notre Dame transfer solving all those problems is a risky gambit. Getting anything out of the Duke match would be huge, but based on current form, it doesn’t look likely.

Pepperdine 2 (Guajardo 35′, LeCave 48′) – 1 (Allen 55′) Auburn

Pepperdine’s red hot offense shot down SEC side Auburn despite a valiant battling effort from the visitors in Malibu. Waves boss Tim Ward rued what he saw as a slow start, the home side needing Michelle Pao to clear off the line at one point to keep the score tied at 0-0. The momentum would swing Pepperdine’s way with ten to play in the first half, with Lynn Williams cross to Anisa Guajardo, who rocketed a shot through the hands of goalkeeper Amy Howard and into the goal. The winning goal came early after the restart, with Pao’s powerful cross being turned in by Amanda LeCave to put the hosts up by two goals. Auburn would be handed a lifeline shortly after, as Alexa Allen finished off a scoring move that was begun by passes from Natalie Donaldson and Tatiana Coleman. The Waves’ defense would hold firm from that point on though, netting the club their second win of the season. The defending WCC co-champs’ offense looks quite formidable after six goals in two games against reputable opposition. The defense has been a tad brittle, but if this Waves club is firing on all cylinders up front, it’s going to be hard for many foes to keep up. Guajardo has started the new season on fire, with her and LeCave showing there’s more to the offense than just Williams. The one worry of course is the status of starting keeper Roxanne Barker, who was a bit of a puzzling DNP, though rookie Erinn Middo held it down well in her first start. Obviously though, losing Barker to any type of long-term malady could spell trouble for the Waves. Pacific on Sunday should be another ‘W’ before a trip to San Diego State next week in what could be a huge battle.

Auburn put up a much better fight than I figured they would, which should only bode well for the season ahead. The defense did concede twice, but it was against a quality offensive team. It’s easy to forget the club is also missing Bianca Sierra and Ashley Kotero on international duty, with the return of the duo likely to go some ways in shoring up that rearguard. The offense in this one was rather well balanced, though Ana Cate was very quiet on the afternoon, going without a shot for the Tigers. UC Irvine away looked daunting a week ago, but the Anteaters have been ice cold to open up the new season, meaning the Tigers could easily walk away with a win if they play to their potential. If they do, they should carry some momentum into SEC play, as they’ll likely be favored in the three remaining non-conference games back at home.

West Virginia 0 – 2 (Twidle 2′, Wilcoxon 44′) Central Michigan

West Virginia’s season fell into further disarray after the Mountaineers crashed to a shock defeat to MAC powerhouse Central Michigan thanks to two first half goals from the Chippewas. Laura Twidle would nab the game winner less than two minutes into the match, as the senior lifted the ball over goalkeeper Sara Keane after Katie Slaughter had dropped the ball over the WVU backline. Bry McCarthy would nearly equalize right away, but saw her shot bounce off the bar. Morgan Wilcoxon would send CMU into the break two goals to the good when a throw-in was not handled well by the Mountaineers, letting the sophomore forward sneak in and double her side’s lead. West Virginia would try to rally furiously in the second half but fell victim to wayward shooting and some solid saves by CMU keeper Stefanie Turner. This was a massive win for the Chippewas, the type that the program has desperately been looking to hang their hat on for a few years now. Though they were outshot 19-9 on the day, it was only 5-3 on shots on goal, and CMU showed the type of killer instinct in front of goal that could carry them far this season. The schedule certainly doesn’t ease up from here, with games against Penn State, Marquette, and Texas A&M ahead, but performances like Friday’s show that the Chippewas can hang with many a team in the nation this season and even spring an upset or two.

Though West Virginia’s probably not close to hitting the panic button, there are disconcerting signs for the Mountaineer faithful through a week and a half of play. The defense has given up five goals in three games and lost to two mid-majors, albeit very accomplished mid-majors. With a murderous stretch coming up over the next week, West Virginia could well be staring down the barrel of a 1-5-0 start to the season. The offense was shockingly tame in this one, barely putting a quarter of their shots on goal, while the defense had some serious lapses to lead to going down into the break by two goals. Improvement is needed in a hurry. If they don’t fix things by Sunday, the Mountaineers don’t stand a prayer against Stanford and could be embarrassed by the defending national champs.

Cal State Northridge 1 (OWN GOAL 7′) – 2 (Ludlow 30′, Larsen 65′) Baylor

Baylor started their match against Cal State Northridge calamitously but ended it well on top as they rallied for a 2-1 victory against the Big West side. The Bears found themselves in a hole early after a bizarre own goal, when Selby Polley’s backpass slipped beyond goalkeeper Michelle Kloss to give the home side a lead. Baylor would prove deadly on set pieces though, drawing level when Kat Ludlow headed home Taylor Heatherly’s long free kick to send the clubs into the break even at 1-1. While Northridge came out flying early in the second half trying to regain the lead, it would be the visitors who found a second goal, as Dana Larsen’s header off a long free kick from Larissa Campos proved to be the winning goal come the end of the match. Flashy they ain’t, but Baylor has proven to be damn effective thus far and passed another test with flying colors by coming back confidently after their rough start. The Bears’ proficiency on set pieces will certainly come in handy in the physical Big XII, and they could still make more strides in non-conference play. That includes on Sunday against Long Beach State. Victory there could set up the Bears for a major run, as they’d likely be favored in every match into October, potentially setting up a dark horse run at a league title.

Northridge had begun the new season in fine fashion with two clean sheet wins to work their way into the college soccer world’s consciousness but fell just a little short on Friday. The Matadors just couldn’t seem to find a foothold after they scored off the Baylor own goal, with the offense stuttering for production for most of the game. Set piece defense may be a sudden concern after being outmuscled for two goals against the Bears, though the two clean sheets last weekend show that the defense on the whole probably isn’t that bad. Fresno State could be tricky Sunday, but it’s still doable, with Michigan coming next Thursday in another solid test for a club with Big West title ambitions this year.

Kansas 1 (Kastor 22′) – 0 Georgia

Caroline Kastor took advantage of a goalkeeping error from Georgia #1 Ashley Baker and a general moment of madness from the Bulldog defense to score a decisive goal that netted a priceless win for shorthanded Kansas. The Jayhawks would profit midway through the first half when Whitney Berry’s cross was fumbled by Baker. The ball pinball around the middle of the area, with the Georgia defense unable to clear before Kastor picked up the scrappiest of goals. The rest of the match was unlikely to end up on either team’s highlight reels come the end of the season, as a rather sleepy affair was punctuated by just three shots on goal for each side. Georgia would nearly steal and equalizer late, but Alexa Newfield saw her screamer tipped away by KU keeper Kat Liebetrau, with the Jayhawks holding on to avenge last season’s NCAA Tournament defeat by the same opponents. Considering this KU team looks far from complete at the moment, with Cassie Dickerson injured at the moment and Ingrid Vidal and Liana Salazar still MIA, any win by the Jayhawks over a major conference club is a big one. The offense didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but they found a way in the end, with club talisman Kastor grabbing a vital goal. The rest of the non-conference schedule before Big XII play should be smooth sailing for the Jayhawks, with a match against Denver likely to prove the biggest possible hiccup. The return of KU’s absent stars will hopefully be coming sooner rather than later for the club’s long-term goals this year.

Georgia head coach Steve Holeman seemed nonplussed in defeat and content with his side’s effort, but three shots on goal in ninety minutes is still three shots on goal. Newfield had the club’s best scoring effort, but still had just a single shot on goal the entire game. Considering she was still working her way back to full fitness in the Summer after surgery to repair a meniscus injury, along with her DNP last Sunday, questions over said fitness and sharpness seem inevitable. If her worries are bad enough, the club also will be praying that Baker’s howler in goal was just a one-off. If the Bulldogs’ stars aren’t performing to their best, Georgia’s a mid-table SEC team, if that. They should handle South Dakota State on Sunday, but games against South Florida and UCF on the road next weekend could prove very testing once again.

Tennessee 1 (Brown PK 107′) – 0 William & Mary

Tennessee battered CAA champions William & Mary for the better part of one hundred and seven minutes but needed Caroline Brown’s penalty to seal a much deserved win in Knoxville. The home side mounted an all-out assault on the opposing goal and were dominant in almost ludicrous fashion for the entire night but were foiled by their own bad finishing in combination with an outstanding display from rookie keeper Caroline Casey in the Tribe goal. Somehow, the match ended up in extra time, and it looked at some points like Tennessee were going to pay for their profligacy in front of goal as Julie Eckel was forced into a few saves. Brown would be fouled in the second half of extra time though and buried the resulting spot kick to send UT home winners. It was an odd kind of game for the Lady Vols. They posted better numbers on the stat sheet against harder opposition than their first few foes but ended up scoring just the one goal, from the penalty spot at that. Caroline Brown was certainly a big factor through this one, with seven shots and four on goal, but the likes of Iyana Moore and Ashlee Burt were also heavily involved in the offense. Mix in the return of Hannah Wilkinson in time, and UT looks like a budding force going forward. Holding a high powered W&M side to such a low offensive output was a good sign for the defense as well. The next three matches should be winnable, potentially setting up a showdown with UCLA in Westwood. Given the struggles of Florida and Texas A&M as well, you might fancy these Vols for a dark horse run at a league title as well.

While William & Mary should still be considered CAA favorites, there just seems to be something missing that’s keeping the club from challenging the upper crust of the nation’s elite. Could the Tribe have possibly hit their ceiling last year with so many of the same players back this season? The offense has been held in check a little too easily by Duke and Tennessee, while the defense has cracked in both games, though it took a while on Friday. Given Richmond’s rapid demise, the Tribe’s at-large hopes appear to be all but done at this point if they don’t run the table or come close to it. Beating Akron on Sunday would be a positive first step for a club in desperate need for a win.

Texas Tech 1 (Beckie 90′) – 0 Stephen F. Austin

Janine Beckie proved the heroine for Texas Tech as they topped a brave Stephen F. Austin side with a last minute goal in Lubbock. The match was give and take early on, with the visiting Ladyjacks giving as good as they got for the better part of an hour. The visitors would begin to lose steam late though, and the Red Raiders made them pay in the end, as Tiffani Smith’s shot was deflected, with Beckie winning the footrace to the ball before finishing from short range. Beckie was a force all night, placing all four of her shots on target and leading the line with authority for the Red Raiders. This was a classic trap game, with an energized opponent on neutral ground, yet Texas Tech persevered and emerged victorious. Beckie has looked a force up front thus far and may just be the player to put the Red Raiders over the top in their quest for a long awaited NCAA Tournament berth. The opposition thus far hasn’t been top of the line, but Tom Stone’s club has done well what what’s been presented to them and will surely fancy their chances for two more wins before a trip to Ole Miss next Sunday that could be pivotal for the NCAA Tournament hopes of both.

Stephen F. Austin really has nothing to hang their heads about after a valiant effort on Friday. Inevitably, the club may just be a player or two short of pulling off upsets like this, as they faded noticeably down the stretch despite running TTU hard all night. Kylie Louw was bottled up for much of the night, making it rather surprising that SFA actually had as much success creating opportunities as they did. Tip your hat also towards Lacey Lee in goal, who made some big saves to keep her club in it for as long as they were. The good news is that the Ladyjacks aren’t quite buried in their quest for an at-large bid yet, with LSU, Rice, and Baylor all potentially providing fuel for the RPI. Overlooking TCU on Sunday would be a big mistake though, as a losing streak is exactly what SFA doesn’t want heading into a crucial run of games.

LSU 1 (Blades 74′) – 1 (Hargreaves 16′, Busansky SENT OFF 86′) Rice

LSU slipped to a draw against ten-man Rice despite dominating the match after the dismissal of Lauren Busansky late in regulation for a second bookable offense. The record home crowd were quieted early after Holly Hargreaves sent a rasping blast from thirty-five yards inside of the left post to give the visitors a surprising lead. Rice would so nearly double their advantage out of the break, with senior Lauren LaGro ringing a blast off the post for the Owls. The near miss proved to be costly in the end, as LSU would find an equalizer with roughly a quarter of an hour left. Rice keeper Amy Czyz, steady all night, would knock down a shot from dangerous winger Fernanda Pina, but Kaley Blades was on hand to knock home the rebound to level the score at 1-1. Rice’s hopes for victory dimmed considerably late in regulation when Busansky was given her marching orders, with the Owls battling for survival for much of the extra frames. Blades would come closest to a winner, hitting the bar in the first half of extra time, while Natalie Ieyoub also found the woodwork in the second half of extra time by hitting the left post. The Tigers would finish with double the shots of the Owls, but much of the damage was done after Rice had been reduced to ten. For whatever reason, Rice just seems to have LSU’s number, as the Tigers lost to the Owls last season before netting a draw here. You could argue that LSU were a bit unfortunate here considering the sheer amount of late pressure they put on their opponents, but you could also argue that they really should have pulled it out with the man advantage late. The club is still trying to find a perfect offensive combination up top, though Blades certainly did her cause no harm on this night. Carlie Banks was one of the few Tigers without a shot though, so there’s still some tinkering to be done. Keep an eye on Fernanda Pina though. The Mexican rookie looks like a potential star for the Bayou Bengals, who will likely be favored the rest of the way until league play starts.

Had you asked Rice if they would’ve been happy with a draw before the sending off, they probably would’ve answered ‘no’, especially having hit the post with a chance to make it 2-0. Given the late LSU surge that had the Owls clinging on with their fingertips, Rice will probably take the draw though. If Rice’s defense can stifle Baylor and LSU, it’ll probably fare well against most other opponents, meaning the Owls should have an outside chance at an at-large bid as well. Slip-ups need to be few and far between though, meaning Rice needs to put together a bit of a winning streak before a game at Oklahoma State in early September.

Marquette 4 (Sloan 10′, Reigle 32′, C. Jacobson 75′, Miller 84′) – 0 Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Marquette handed city rivals Wisconsin-Milwaukee a lopsided defeat in one of the most one-sided encounters between the clubs in recent memory. The onslaught began early, with the home side scoring in the tenth minute through Rachael Sloan, who put away a ball from Maegan Kelly to give Marquette a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Emily Jacobson helped stretch the lead after the half-hour mark, dishing to Kate Reigle, who finished from twelve yards after the Panthers couldn’t clear their lines. The endless offense would continue in the second half, with Cara Jacobson giving the Golden Eagles their third before Ally Miller made it four with less than ten minutes remaining. It’s hard to make a bigger statement than beating your city rivals by four goals and holding them without a shot. Marquette had looked frail against Florida State in the cancelled game but rebounded with style here in a dominating performance. The offense was well balanced, while the defense showed none of the problems of last Sunday. Realistically, Marquette should win their next three before a huge weekend in Durham to play North Carolina and Duke.

You can’t really put a positive spin on this one for Milwaukee. They were simply outclassed by Marquette on the evening and will need to do much better if they’re to get back to the NCAA Tournament this season. Illinois next week could be a daunting task, but overlooking a solid Miami (OH) team on Sunday would be a mistake. This team needs wins from wherever they can get them, and that means topping the Redhawks a few days after this disaster.

San Diego State 2 (Hurst 1′, Locker 2′) – 0 Seattle

Two goals in the first sixty-one seconds on Friday were all San Diego State needed to defeat Seattle and continue their excellent start to the new season. The Aztecs may have been playing their fourth game in eight days, but they certainly didn’t show signs of fatigue early, with Tiffany Hurst connecting with Hannah Keane for the first goal of the game after just thirty-six seconds. A second would come just seconds later, as Sophie Metz’s corner bounced off the top of the bar, with Haley Locker heading it in on the way down. SDSU would threaten to add to their lead in the first half but would be content to go into the break up by two. Seattle would improve in the second half but failed to seriously trouble the Aztec defense too much, leading to a rather perfunctory win for the home side. The Aztecs have certainly been playing like an experienced and cohesive team and look like runaway favorites for the Mountain West title right now. The big test could come on Friday though, as they entertain WCC power Pepperdine in a titanic clash. Victory there could go a long way in ensuring SDSU is in the hunt for an at-large bid as well.

Seattle learned a valuable lesson today, specifically that coming out slow against a talented team is not advisable. They were 2-0 down on the road after a little over a minute, and on the road against a strong side, that’s as good as a death sentence. The Redhawks look like a talented bunch capable of competing against most clubs, but they may just be a player or two short of begin able to deliver the big upset. Watch out for them in the WAC though. They might just be in with a chance of sneaking into league title discussion.

2 thoughts on “NCAA Soccer Review – 08/24/12 – Stanford Rises Up Once More

  1. cow pasture alum

    Chris: Are you going to have a recap on WVU-Stanford or any other Sunday action? Oh, how I wish I could have stayed in central PA through Sunday. I plan to be in morning Morgantown this weekend to see WVU, PSU, Miami, and Pitt, and I am determined to stay for the duration.


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