West Virginia 1 (Silva 83′) – 0 Stanford
West Virginia upset the odds to deliver one of the biggest regular season upsets in recent memory, as the once struggling Mountaineers breathed life into their season by being the first team to top Stanford in the regular season since Halloween of 2008. The defeat also snapped the Card’s twenty-five match winning streak and twenty-eight game unbeaten streak. Showing a stunning lack of nous in front of goal, Stanford managed just a single shot on goal despite taking seventeen shots overall, more than twice the number of their opponent. The Big XII side would land the decisive blow though, with Frances Silva lofting the ball into the upper-left corner of the goal after Stanford had just cleared off the line from a corner kick just seconds earlier. The Mountaineers defended deep and in numbers and nearly had a second goal late when Bry McCarthy intercepted a Stanford pass and forced Card goalkeeper Aly Gleason in to a good save. The Card were in the end left to rue an early spurned chance, as Natalie Griffen wasted a prime opportunity, sending a volley into orbit after a quick restart from a foul had Stanford looking likely to score. It can’t be said enough how big of a win this was for West Virginia. Never mind knocking off the #1 team in the eyes of some and ending multiple streaks, the Mountaineers finally displayed a pulse again after looking so listless for the first three games of the season. The offense fared about as well as could be expected against a club like Stanford and were opportune in taking the chance that was presented to them. WVU basically showed that they have the talent and drive to beat anyone on their day, and there can’t be any excuse for this club to underperform now. The Mountaineers will get another chance at an upset on Friday, when Penn State comes to town. WVU had seemingly blown chances at a national seed early this year, but a win over PSU would perceivably put them right back in the mix.
It’s not just the loss but the manner of the loss that has to set Stanford fans ill at ease. How many times has a club only managed one shot on goal from seventeen shots? You just got the feeling that Stanford was going to pay the price the longer the game went on without a Cardinal breakthrough. With Courtney Verloo out through injury, Stanford’s attack lacked bite to say the least, which has to be an alarming development if Verloo is out for any considerable length of time. While the return of Chioma Ubogagu from international duty and the (potential) return of Marjani Hing-Glover from injury would likely solve some of those problems, getting everyone pulling as one could take some time. The real worry now is that Stanford’s future opponents are going to watch the tape of this match and ape West Virginia’s tactics, forcing Stanford to try and break down a swath of opposing players behind the ball. If the Card can’t unlock such tactics, it could be a frustrating season. Friday against Boston College back at home might present a different challenge. The Eagles have been scoring goals for fun and may rather attack than defend, meaning the Stanford defense could be the ones under fire from a talented BC club in Palo Alto.
Duke 2 (Doria 10′, Pecht 29′) – 3 (Graff 39′, OWN GOAL 65′, Tymrak 94′) Florida [aet]
Duke rolled to a 2-0 lead in the first thirty minutes against Florida but was then rocked by three unanswered goals that sent them crashing to their first defeat of 2012. It was all Blue Devils early, who were knocking on the door with corner kicks in the first handful of minutes before Gilda Doria hit the target with a shot following Kim DeCesare’s assist. The Gators looked to be sinking without a trace before the half-hour mark, when Cassie Pecht intercepted a Florida pass and snuck a shot inside the left post from just outside the area. Florida would net a crucial lifeline late in the first half though, with Havana Solaun’s delicious through ball finding Jillian Graff, who made no mistake from fifteen yards. Florida would pull level some twenty minutes after the restart, with Erika Tymrak rifling in a cross that deflected off the back of a defender and past Tara Campbell to even the score at 2-2. Both defenses would hold fast in regulation, but it didn’t take long for the Gators to find a winner in extra time. Erika Tymrak played a one-two with McKenzie Barney and slotted the return pass into the lower-left corner of the goal to seal a sensational fightback. If Florida has a successful season down the line this year, they might well point to this match as a potential turning point. Florida could have folded down 2-0 after half an hour, but winning programs always find a way, which is exactly what the Gators did. The defense still needs to tighten up, especially considering the first thirty minutes of this one, but the offensive explosion afterward has to be encouraging. Getting Adriana Leon back from international duty should help immensely if she can settle quickly, giving the club some much needed depth in attack. Florida State’s obviously a massive game on Friday, with the Gators getting the chance to knock off their second straight #1 ranked team, with a chance to build momentum for the start of league play to boot.
Duke boss Robbie Church sounded exasperated in the post-match interview and with good reason. Title winning clubs don’t let teams back in games at 2-0 up, and they certainly don’t give up three unanswered. The Blue Devils’ defense has been leaking goals after being one of the nation’s best last season, and Duke has to fix those ills if they are to contend for the big prize come the end of the season. With the potential of this defense on paper, two goals should be plenty to see off most clubs the Blue Devils play, but the defending ACC champs wilted in Chapel Hill. While Gilda Doria had a decent game with a goal and three shots on target, midfield talisman Kaitlyn Kerr found it harder, with just one off-target shot to her name. USC should be very beatable on Friday, even on the road, but it’s just a matter of if this club’s confidence took a blow by Sunday’s setback.
Boston University 1 (Clemens 5′) – 3 (McCaffrey 28′, 73′, McCarthy 57′) Boston College
Boston College conceded early yet again but roared back to down city rivals Boston University in the Green Line Derby, with Stephanie McCaffrey netting a brace for the victors. The Terriers would take the early lead through Madison Clemens, who snapped a shot beyond Alexa Gaul at the near post after receiving a cross from Tayor Krebs. The Eagles would equalize after some overambitious goalkeeping from Terriers netminder Andrea Green, with the keeper coming off her line and five yards out of the area to try and confront McCaffrey. The clumsy challenge was unsuccessful, leaving the BC attacker an open net to fire into. Green would again be at fault for the visitors’ second goal, as a corner from Kristen Mewis was fumbled before being bundled into the back of the net by Kate McCarthy. There was little Green could do about the third goal though, as McCaffrey would score after a great individual effort, cutting inside and beyond a defender before curling a ball just inside of the right post. There certainly can’t be any complaints about a stoic offense from Eagles’ supporters thus far, as BC has looked like a scoring machine in the early weeks of the season. A club once reliant on the likes of Victoria DiMartino and Kristen Mewis for offense now looks like a well-oiled machine going forward. Though DiMartino didn’t score, she did have three shots on goal to lead the Eagles, which has to be a positive sign given the funk she’s been in. The club’s awful tendency to concede early could end up biting them down the line though, and Alison Foley and co. need to get that sorted sooner rather than later. Stanford on the road on Friday will be a monumental test. Should the Eagles win there, BC fans may dare dream about a potential national title this season.
BU started brightly but was outgunned in the end, which is hardly anything to be ashamed about, because Boston College is probably going to do that to a lot of teams this year. The Terriers don’t really seem to have the firepower to keep up with the biggest guns as they have been able to in the past few seasons. That means the defense has to step it up, notably in goal, where Green was at fault for two of the club’s three goals. One wonders about the status of junior Kelly King, who started eleven games last season and should be in contention for starting duty if healthy. Goalkeeping situation aside, the Terriers are running out of time to net a big result to give themselves a shot at an at-large bid. The next few games against Monmouth and Harvard are now must wins, before a potential make or break weekend in California against Stanford and Santa Clara.
Penn State 5 (Weber 23′, Nairn 24′, 27′, Kehoe 35′, Kalwa 57′) – 0 Central Michigan
Penn State used an impressive first half offensive display to blow away Central Michigan and ease any fears of a hangover after Friday’s defeat to Stanford. Outshot 21-11 and 8-6 in shots on goal, the home side used a ruthless display of finishing to run out convincing winners. The visitors would be left to rue some early missed opportunities, including having a shot cleared off the line in the early stages of the opening half. While CMU goalkeeper Stefanie Turner was solid early, her indecisiveness in coming for a Christine Nairn cross saw the ball loop over her head, letting fabulous freshman Mallory Weber head home the eventual game winner. Nairn would hammer home a screamer just seconds later, the ball crashing against the woodwork before crossing the line. Nairn would net another a few minutes later, winning the ball from two CMU players with a solid challenge before another blast from range to make it 3-0. A cross from Kindrah Kohne was found by Erin Kehoe in a scrum in the box, with the sophomore making it 4-0 before the break. Jenna Kalwa would finish the scoring after the break, blasting another shot from range that hit the back of the net. This was about as brutally efficient a display from Penn State as they come, as the put five of their six on-target shots in the back of the net. Nairn was phenomenal, with a fine assist to open the scoring before two lasers to put the game out of reach, the second preceded by an excellent defensive effort. Despite giving up a lot of chances, PSU kept the number of clear cut opportunities for their opposition low and ended up with their second clean sheet of the season. West Virginia on the road on Friday should provide a nice challenge, with the Mountaineers likely riding a new wave of confidence after their win over Stanford.
Central Michigan fought bravely, but you have to wonder how much the win over West Virginia on Friday took out of them. The Chippewas though probably aren’t going to be alone in being unable to stand up to Penn State’s fearsome attack. If CMU would’ve been able to convert one of their chances early, who knows how the match would’ve turned out? The likes of Kaely Schlosser and Jennifer Gassman threatened at times, but once the goal tide started, it was all but over, with the club down 4-0 at the half. The MAC powerhouse will just have to shrug it off as a bad day at the office though, because the next stretch is just as brutal, with a key mid-major battle against Dayton on Friday before traveling to play Marquette at Valley Fields on Monday. Though they look to be in a good position in the hunt for an at-large bid already with the win over WVU, a win this week would be another huge feather in their cap come November.
UCLA 2 (Bywaters 48′, Courtnall 61′) – 0 Illinois
UCLA produced a convincing display against Illinois to keep their 100% start to the new season intact. After a scoreless first half, the Bruins would net the game winner right after the break, when Abby Dahlkemper played a beautiful long ball over the Illinois backline that set Zakiya Bywaters off on a breakaway. Illinois goalkeeper Steph Panozzo committed early, and Bywaters made no mistake in moving around her and scoring the opener. Bywaters would terrorize the Illinois defense all game, but it was Canadian Ally Courtnall who added the insurance goal, with Chelsea Cline playing her through for the simple finish. This was by far UCLA’s biggest test of the season thus far (discounting the cancelled game against UConn), and the Bruins at times made the Illini defense look like they were moving through quicksand. There are questions over whether Bywaters, talented though she may be, being a first option in attack, but she run the Illinois rearguard ragged on this afternoon and could enjoy a breakout season this year with more of the same. Just as impressive perhaps was the defense holding a solid Illinois team without a goal, showing more defensive improvement since the wobbly start on the road the first weekend of the season. The club will get Rosie White back from the U20 World Cup this weekend, with the sophomore providing some more depth at the very least. Wisconsin is a hard nosed team who’ve made a fine start themselves, so the Bruins can’t experience a let down if they want to stay perfect in 2012.
Illinois caretaker boss Jeff Freeman was less than thrilled in his post-match comments, rueing having a goal chalked off and seeing two balls cleared off the line but saving much of his venom for the Illini’s backline, who he accused of showing a lack of concentration. All things considered, Illinois still showed a lot of fight, certainly showing much more offensive proclivity than many of UCLA’s opponents have or will this season. It’s just that with so many changes from last year’s side, along with the absence of Vanessa DiBernardo, it’s difficult envisioning this Illinois club being able to consistently challenge the nation’s elite. The latter will change in a few weeks upon DiBernardo’s return, though it remains to be seen just how much she can boost her club. A one-match week awaits Illinois’ return home, and anything less than victory against a slumping Wisconsin-Milwaukee side would have to be seen as very disappointing.
Cal 2 (Onumonu 9′, Hassett 74′) – 3 (Adeshigbin 51′, Krentz 59′, Raymer 76′) Missouri
Missouri came out on top against Cal in Berkeley thanks to a late winner from Abi Raymer in a pulsating non-conference encounter. The home side would come out and race to a quick lead, with Ifeoma Onumonu finishing low and past Mizzou keeper McKenzie Sauerwein. Though the clubs would go into the break without another goal, the fireworks really ramped up in an exciting second half. It wouldn’t take long for the Tigers to equalize, with Taiwo Adeshigbin driving to the endline before firing far post at a sharp angle to make it 1-1. The home side would misjudge a deep cross into the box less than ten minutes later, freeing up Haley Krentz to fire home and make it 2-1 to the Tigers. New Zealand international Betsy Hassett would equalize with a quarter of an hour to play, wrongfooting Sauerwein at the near post following a Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick cross. Cal’s joy would be short-lived though, as they went back behind for good just a few minutes later. Krentz’s corner kick was finished off in fine style with a thumping header from Raymer, with the visitors hanging on for victory after. Missouri continues to impress after their quick start last week, with the offense again looking very dangerous. The feat this weekend was even more impressive considering they were without Alyssa Diggs thanks to a hamstring injury. The pieces that were so inconsistent last season seem to be blending together well this year, and the Tigers should be favored for two more wins back at home this weekend. If they can maintain their current form, the Tigers could well be darkhorse candidates to win the SEC as well.
Is it officially time to start worrying about Cal? The Golden Bears may have dropped their last two matches at home to stellar opposition, but the manner of Cal’s season thus far has to be a little concerning. The defense, which was supposed to be one of the league’s best, has instead been prone to giving up goals, with just one clean sheet in four matches thus far. The offense has also been inconsistent, but they did score twice here, which should have been enough for a win had the defense been playing up to expectations. The non-conference schedule eases up considerably at this point, so while Cal should rack up some wins, questions may remain over the club until conference play begins and the Golden Bears start facing top competition again.
Ohio State 1 (Cameron 18′) – 0 Maryland
Ohio State continued their recovery from their first weekend night mare with a solid home victory against a young Maryland side, dealing the Terps their first regular season non-conference loss in four seasons. The Buckeyes had looked like spurning a great opportunity early, when Lauren Granberg skied a shot form short range after a cross from Tiffany Cameron. The Buckeyes would make amends seconds later though, when Cameron was played through by Michela Paradiso and made no mistake, giving OSU a lead they would never relinquish. The Buckeyes could have made life more comfortable in the first half when Samantha Lewis hit the bar, but the Terps also threatened, with Hayley Brock’s shot being cleared off the line by Marisa Wolf. OSU coach Lori Walker gambled again in goal after the break, rotating in Jillian McVicker, but the rookie repaid her coach’s faith with a good save on Olivia Wagner after the hour mark. The home side would have a shot cleared off the line late, with Maryland also missing from short distance through Becky Kaplan, allowing the home side to finish with a 1-0 win. You have to commend OSU for buckling down and sealing a perfect weekend after such a shaky start last weekend. It wasn’t exactly the most thrilling offensive performance, but it still got the job done, with OSU’s defense also holding their opponents to just three shots on goal. Tiffany Cameron continues to impress and should be key down the stretch, while getting Danica Wu back from international duty should be an added boost. Syracuse on Sunday should be winnable if OSU are on their game, setting up a big matchup with Missouri one week later.
The young Terps certainly created a lot of chances, nearly outshooting OSU by a 2:1 ratio on Sunday but just couldn’t find the back of the net. Olivia Wagner and Danielle Hubka, two of the club’s more tenured players, were among the most active, with twelve shots on goal combined, but the club still put just four on goal overall. The defense held up reasonably well, save for the lapse that led to the goal, giving up just two shots on goal. The problem Maryland has is their non-conference SOS isn’t likely to help them out much if the club is anywhere near the bubble, with this past defeat one the club really needed to get something out of. A match against Alabama in a few weeks could prove decisive down the road. Until then, the club needs to take care of business this week and top George Mason and Towson.
Long Beach State 2 (Balcer 64′, Maes 92′) – 1 (Larsen 59′) Baylor [aet]
Long Beach State came from one goal down in the second half to net a big non-conference win against Baylor after extra time. After a cagey first half, the visitors would strike first out of the break, netting the opener just before the hour mark. Taylor Heatherly’s free kick from the left side was nodded in by Dana Larsen as the Bears struck from set pieces again. Defensive star Alex Balcer made sure Baylor’s lead was short-lived, taking advantage of some woeful goalkeeping by Michelle Kloss, hammering a free kick from the middle of the field that bounced off the keeper’s fingertips from fifty-five yards out. The Bears would nearly take the lead again when Kat Ludlow’s header from Justine Hovden’s corner pinged the top of the bar. The Beach would come up trumps from dead ball situations in extra time though, needing less than two minutes to find a winner, with Eileen Maes heading home a long free kick from Jordan Nelson. The Big West title favorites continue to impress this season, beating Baylor at their own game with set pieces. It was very impressive to see LBSU able to come and down a strong team even when Nadia Link had a relatively quiet game by her standards. Balcer’s now scored on two very long free kicks and looks like a real weapon, while the defense held strong against a potent Baylor attack. The next few weeks are killer for the 49ers though, beginning with a trip to Provo on Thursday to play a BYU side looking for a statement win.
It was pretty ironic to see Baylor, a club that has been lights out on set pieces so far this season, see them cost them the game on Sunday, even after scoring one of their own. Of course, the first goal conceded could also be blamed on some wretched goalkeeping, and Jobson will certainly expect better from Kloss as the season goes along. On the whole though, the club still created a decent amount of offense and were perhaps unlucky to not win in regulation after hitting the bar late. The Bears shouldn’t face a huge challenge for weeks, meaning a big run of victories could be on the way, which should put them in good shape in the RPI come the heart of Big XII play.
UCF 1 (Radovcic 95′) – 0 Miami (FL) [aet]
UCF’s clutch scoring senior Nicolette Radovcic struck again on Sunday, netting a game winner in extra time to give the home side a weekend split of two ACC opponents. It capped off an excellent display from the C-USA club, who won a hard-nosed battle with the Hurricanes, their defense limiting Miami (FL) to just a single shot on goal and none after the first ten minutes. The Golden Knights would deal with the elements better after the break, as rain and wind buffeted Orlando. UCF always looked more likely to score in the second half, but it’d take extra frames to net the victory, who Radovcic taking a pass from Megan Fish and then doing the rest herself to net the home side a big victory. This was a very good performance from UCF, who did well to combat both fatigue and the elements to push through to a big win against a solid Miami (FL) side. Radovcic continues to be a tremendously clutch scorer, and the defense was great in holding a dangerous Hurricane attack at bay. UCF will likely be favored in both games this weekend at home before a trip to Boston College and a tantalizing non-conference match against the Eagles.
You get the sense that supporting Miami (FL) this year could be an adventure, as the Hurricanes have basically been all over the place this season so far. They’ve been good enough to destroy a Florida team that just downed Duke but also haven’t been good enough to down South Florida or UCF, teams that should theoretically be beatable for this Hurricanes side. The defense put in a decent display, but the offense was plodding, with just one shot on goal being utterly unacceptable if this club harbors hopes of making an impact in the ACC. There are a lot of new pieces needing to gel, but the Canes simply need to threaten a lot more in front of goal. They should be able to handle Pittsburgh on Friday, but West Virginia on Sunday in Morgantown should provide another barometer as to how good this group might end up being.
Utah 1 (Robison 30′) – 0 BYU (From Saturday)
Utah defeated bitter rivals BYU for the first time since 2007 thanks to a goal at the half-hour mark from sophomore Jill Robison. The Cougars would cough it up to Robison in their own end, resulting in the forward dribbling forward and uncorking a blast into the upper-right corner of the goal for the game’s only goal. Much of the game would be marked by a wasteful offensive display from the visitors, as they tallied four times as many shots as the Utes but fired off-target far too often. When the shots were headed on-target, they were often denied by Utah reserve keeper Lindsey Luke, who stepped in in the fifteenth minute for an injured Cheyanne Mulcock and put on a fine display of goalkeeping for the victors. Luke, making her collegiate debut, made six saves for the home side and looked quite good in relief for Utah. Utah’s defense probably gave up a few more shots than they would’ve liked, but solid goalkeeping bailed them out in the end. Also credit the Utes for taking advantage of one of the few opportunities to come their way, showing a killer instinct that should serve them well come league play. Utah can’t rest on their laurels though, as Thursday brings a road trip to Colorado College, a potentially tricky tie against a talented Tigers club looking for an upset.
The perils of having plenty of good strikers but no great ones reared its ugly head on Saturday, with BYU creating plenty of scoring opportunities but failing to cash in on any of them. Such a lack of cutting edge in front of goal puts a lot of pressure on the defense to be perfect, and though the Cougars have a pretty good rearguard on paper, they proved to be fallible one time too many on this occasion. BYU’s schedule certainly doesn’t get any easier from this point, though the next six are at home. Long Beach State awaits on Thursday, with the home side knowing that a win would be valuable ammunition in the RPI, delivering a solid non-conference win that the club lacked as they missed out on the Big Dance last season.
Dayton 5 (Libertin 7′, 75′, Garcia 19′, SENT OFF 85′, Waters 66′, Campbell 77′) – 2 (Allen 63′, Sebo 64′, SENT OFF 83′) Northwestern
Dayton’s defense wobbled, but their offense exploded in an eventful victory over Northwestern on Sunday afternoon. The match featured a virtuoso display from Colleen Williams, whose four assists on the day made her the forty-second player in the history of DI soccer to record forty goals and forty assists in her career, and just the ninth to accomplish the feat in the past decade. Juliana Libertin would give the home side the lead early, running onto a ball on the right side before cutting in and scoring at the near post. The rout looked to be on after twenty minutes, when a great team move featuring Libertin, Williams, and Alexis Garcia saw the latter finish with a shot off the post and over the line to make it 2-0 going into the break. The Wildcats would grab a foothold going into the second half though and made their improvements and adjustments count after the hour mark when a suicidal backpass put goalkeeper Jordin Melchert in a spot of bother, only able to clear off NU attacker Kate Allen, the ball deflecting backwards into the goal. The shellshocked Flyers then saw themselves back level after more defensive follies allowed KK Barr to cross to Nikki Sebo, who made it 2-2. In the end, Dayton would just have too much firepower. Nicole Waters nabbed the game winner a few minutes after the equalizer, turning in Alysha Mallon’s cross to the far post. Libertin would seal a brace after another great team move before Ashley Campbell added the coup de grace from a Williams through ball to complete the scoring. Tempers would get frayed though, resulting in both Sebo and Garcia being sent off late, each within a few minutes of each other. It was a lot of good and a lot of bad for Dayton, who’ll still walk away with the win though. The offense was explosive with Williams playmaking, and she sliced and diced the NU defense with four assists. Libertin continues to be an impressive workhorse as well, with some of the youngster off the bench also coming up huge. The defense still continues to be a real work in progress though, and the club showed a distinct lack of focus in the middle third of the game, missing out on an opportunity to kill off the game before the break. They rebounded well to win going away, but the club has to show a more consistent killer instinct if they want to succeed late in the season. The club will likely be favored the rest of the regular season, missing La Salle in league play. Central Michigan on Friday is a tricky game though, especially with Garcia suspended following her dismissal.
There have certainly been promising signs early this year for Northwestern in Michael Moynihan’s first year in charge, but it’s still going to be a long rebuilding process in Evanston. The adjustments NU made after going down 2-0 certainly worked a treat in getting the club back level, but the Wildcats just didn’t have the horses to stick with Dayton for ninety minutes. Marquette could be a painful experience on Friday, even with home advantage, but the non-conference schedule eases up after that. Growing pains may be evident, but don’t rule this club winning a few games in the Big Ten this season.
Georgetown 2 (Brenn 16′, Corboz 72′) – 1 (Scolarici 79′) Hofstra
Georgetown maintained their perfect start to the new season with a narrow win against CAA contenders Hofstra. Kaitlin Brenn would score the first half’s only goal for the Hoyas, slipping a shot low and by keeper Emily Morphitis from twelve yards after an assist from Jessica Clinton. A chance to extend that lead went by the wayside though, as Morphitis stopped a penalty from Daphne Corboz five minutes after the break. Corboz would make amends with the game winner though, scoring directly from a corner to make it 2-0 for the Hoyas. Hofstra had threatened earlier, nearly scoring through Leah Galton, who saw a header knocked off the line. They’d get their goal late on though, with Sam Scolarici heading home from Amber Stobbs’ cross, marking the third straight game the midfielder has scored in. Hofstra couldn’t find a second though and slipped to their first defeat of the season. Georgetown may have had to deal with some major losses coming into the new season, but they’ve coped reasonably well. Corboz has continued her ascent and looks like a budding star for the Hoyas, while Brenn has looked capable in front of goal. You could argue that the Hoyas haven’t been severely tested, but they’ve done well what what’s been in front of them so far and have at least given themselves a fighting chance of a return to the NCAA Tournament. Matches against Cornell and Columbia at home should be easy enough before an away trip to Santa Clara that could prove very important for the Hoyas’ postseason hopes.
Hofstra don’t seem to be at the level of their excellent 2010 team, but they look a lot more dangerous than last year’s side which had to draft in many newcomers to make up for lots of losses to graduation. The Pride showed a lot of resolve in fighting back from a 2-0 deficit and even getting a penalty save from Morphitis but just didn’t have enough in front of goal to pull off the upset. A tough weekend awaits, with mid-major darling Colgate on Friday before another test on Sunday against Wake Forest, who will be fighting like mad to avoid another upset to a mid-major club.
Virginia 2 (Doniak 56′, Colaprico 67′) – 0 UNC Wilmington
Freshman Makenzy Doniak scored in her fourth straight game to open up her college career, netting the game winner for a Virginia side that was dominant against UNC Wilmington but struggled to make the final connections in front of goal. After forcing UNCW keeper Caitlin Hunter into nine saves in the opening half, UVA would finally get on the board before the hour mark, with Doniak taking advantage of lax marking and a missed defensive header from the visitors. Molly Menchel’s inch perfect cross landed at an unmarked Doniak’s feet. The rookie would need a few touches but then delivered it confidently into the roof of the net to break the ice. The dagger would follow eleven minutes later, as a ball was half-cleared by the visitors, but only to Danielle Colaprico, who dribbled to the edge of the area and hit a rocket that Hunter couldn’t parry clear. The Seahawks would struggle to put together offense all afternoon, finishing with just a single shot on goal but could thank Hunter for a long line of quality saves to keep the scoreline respectable. It wasn’t exactly an electrifying performance from the Cavs, but it was a dominant one, despite the two goal margin of victory. Doniak looks like a star in the making for UVA and one that could make for a deadly partnership with Caroline Miller in attack as the season rolls along. Texas and SMU this weekend should put up a fight, but the Cavs should be in control if focused. There really shouldn’t be a big challenge for this group until the middle of September when North Carolina comes to town.
Wilmington have certainly done well to punch above their weight thus far, especially considering how atrocious the club was last year. The Seahawks have been stout defensively against their ACC opposition but just don’t seem to have the weapons to challenge the big guns going forward. As is, they needed some great saves from Hunter here to avoid a total rout. Fortunately for UNCW, the maniacally difficult part of the schedule for them is over, and the Seahawks should starts inning with regularity if they show the form they have on the road against ACC clubs. They should make the CAA Tournament and have an outside shot at an NCAA Tournament bid by winning the league’s auto bid.