Updates to come…
All times Eastern.
Duke vs Stanford – 12:00 PM
Stanford’s win over North Carolina wasn’t exactly a thing of beauty, but the result would’ve been something that Duke would’ve taken after the Blue Devils dominated the stat sheet against Ohio State on Friday but fell on a single goal. While the likes of Imani Dorsey and Toni Payne showed some scintillating potential in the attack, the club just couldn’t find the decisive goal and paid the price as OSU found a winner in the second half. Duke pounded the woodwork three times but couldn’t find a breakthrough, and come November, one wonders if the Blue Devils won’t rue Friday if they fall short of a national seed or a high national seed. Much will be forgiven if they can upset the odds against Stanford on Sunday though. Duke will probably be favored until Penn State comes to Durham in a few weeks, so this might be seen as a chance to start a big string of wins. It might also be an invaluable opportunity to get the offense in scoring form after Friday’s misfire, though it’s not likely to be easy against a Stanford side that shut down UNC’s attack with Jane Campbell in fine form in goal.
Campbell was needed on more than one occasion on Friday night as the Card were forced to turn back a relentless North Carolina attack in the first half before gradually getting more of a foothold after the intermission. The Card would seemingly be rueing a handful of missed opportunities through the second half and extra time before Chioma Ubogagu made herself an instant heroine with the golden goal. Ubogagu was strong all night, and there’s little doubt that her form is going to be crucial to Stanford’s form this season. Especially considering Taylor Uhl played just forty minutes against UNC and failed to put a shot on goal. Ubogagu’s experiment with an attacking midfield role looks to be over, and Card fans will be hoping she can continue to show end product in front of goal to go with her spectacular dribbling ability. The defense will probably need to tighten up a bit to keep Jane Campbell from being so overworked, but there’s a ton of potential here all things considered. The only worry is if the extra time match against UNC drained the batteries a bit. But if the Card triumph on Sunday, they’ll likely be favored in every match until the showdown with UCLA in October.
NC State vs Portland – 12:00 PM
Maybe NC State was a bit too focused on this one. That could be just one of many explanations for Friday’s tough slog against UNC Wilmington, that saw the ACC side creep past their much less fancied state rivals. The Wolfpack were actually down 1-0 through 65′ minutes before the combination of Alexa Allen and rookie Annah Lindberg hooked up for two goals in the final 25′ minutes of action, the last coming with under three minutes to play. Getting goals from someone other than Jackie Stengel had to be a relief for the Wolfpack, who were very reliant on the sophomore for scoring last season. She had just one shot on goal on Friday, so NC State will be hoping she can bounce back with a vengeance on Sunday. The ‘Pack getting that win against UNCW could prove vital, as the club has a huge three game set against big clubs that could make or break their case for an at-large bid come November.
Portland themselves are hoping for much better on Sunday afternoon after a disappointing showing against Florida State in their opener on Friday. The Pilots probably fancied their chances of getting something out of the match against the Noles given the absence of Dagny Brynjarsdottir due to international duty. Instead, Portland’s offense stuttered, netting just two total shots on goal over the course of ninety minutes. A big factor may have been Allison Wetherington not starting, the sophomore only coming off the bench. Wetherington is going to be counted on to keep the offense ticking over in 2014, and it’s tough seeing the Pilots cranking out the offense if the midfielder isn’t able to play quality minutes each time out there. Danica Evans again proved a summer league terror this past campaign but only had a single shot on goal against the stout FSU defense. With Stanford next Saturday, Portland will want to enter that crunch showdown with some momentum behind them, making this one in Raleigh crucial.
West Virginia vs Missouri – 12:00 PM (from University Park, Pennsylvania)
It goes without saying that that was not what West Virginia was asking for in an opener when they were humbled by a rampant Penn State team who took advantage of WVU’s first half malaise in putting three goals past the Big XII side in the opening frame. Honestly, it could’ve been worse, as PSU also shanked a penalty that could’ve seen the score at 4-0 at the break. Kadeisha Buchanan pulled one back in the second half, which was less of a rout, but when you’re counting on your center-back to deliver the goals, there’s probably going to be a bad result at the end of the day. WVU has not been a stranger to slow starts in the past, and considering the ambitions of the club to potentially grab a high national seed and home advantage through three rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Friday was a pretty big setback. Sunday should bring an opportunity to right that though against a Missouri team that couldn’t breach Syracuse’s defense. While WVU’s non-conference schedule is front-loaded in terms of strength, there probably won’t be enough on it to boost the club’s seeding resume if they drop Sunday’s match. That makes it almost a must win, but it’s also crucial for the club’s morale after Friday’s tough result.
Missouri doesn’t figure to be an easy out though. The Tigers did finish 0-0 with a middling Syracuse side, but they hardly could’ve expected to have been shunted out to Penn State’s practice field because of weather concerns. Given that many of the club’s worries going into 2014 were about its scoring capacity, to have scored zero goals and put just five shots on goal against in theory a beatable opponent has to be a bit concerning. The club also wasn’t terribly efficient with their shooting, putting just five of those efforts on frame. At least the defense was able to contain Stephanie Skilton, which perhaps will help them out in keeping a motivated WVU offense at bay. All too often, Missouri’s been burned come Selection Monday due to a lack of quality non-conference results. This, realistically, is the last chance for such a big result, so the Tigers best take something from it on Sunday afternoon.
Florida State vs Minnesota – 1:00 PM
It takes a lot by this point to truly wow me, but it’s hard to not be utterly stunned by Minnesota’s 10-0 destruction of Stetson in their season opener. The Golden Gophers were, of course, expected to win handily over their smaller opposition, but who on Earth expected them to deliver *that*? Simone Kolander played just forty minutes but logged two goals and three assists. The Golden Gophers ran riot, with Olivia Schultz and Sydney Squires scoring two goals as well. The Minnesota attack was unbelievably clinical, putting thirteen of nineteen shots on goal and ten of those shots in the back of the net. They aren’t going to repeat that against Florida State naturally, but it might signify the explosiveness of this offense, or at least the potential to be explosive. It’ll be interesting to see how the Gophers respond against a much stiffer test. My Big Ten projections were very bullish on Minnesota this season, and an upset or even a draw against FSU would send the optimism shooting up before the club hosts Marquette next Friday night. Such a result would also seemingly confirm the Gophers as a dark horse for a national seed come NCAA Tournament time.
Florida State had one of their best players on her way back from international duty. They had Megan Campbell for just nineteen minutes. They were breaking in a new goalkeeper in Cassie Miller. And the Noles still looked comfortable in a 1-0 win against Portland in the opener. FSU probably would’ve liked to have gotten more than one goal and gotten it from something other than a last second bomb in the first half, but it was still mighty impressive considering some of the early challenges facing the club. FSU figures to be closer to full strength on Sunday and will have to be against an opponent in full voice after Friday’s beatdown of Stetson. FSU’s got a rigorous non-conference slate, but victory here, and you’d fancy them still being perfect by the time Florida comes calling in a few weeks in Tallahassee. The defense will certainly be under fire against Minnesota’s dynamic attack, and passing this test would certainly be another great sign that the defense isn’t going to miss a beat with the offseason losses that hit the Noles on the backline and in goal.
Nebraska vs DePaul – 2:00 PM
If fans expected Nebraska to skip a beat after some big losses from last year’s Big Ten double winning squad, they were disappointed on Friday when the Huskers stomped an overmatched SMU squad to start 2014 with a bang. Jaycie Johnson continued to show why she’s one of the best young talents in the college game with a goal and an assist as the Huskers dismantled SMU’s defense, going up by three goals after thirty-two minutes. Perhaps just as importantly, the Huskers pitched a shutout defensively, with new goalkeeper Kelly Schatz keeping the clean sheet. Considering there were serious questions on defense coming into this season with the loss of Ari Romero and Emma Stevens from the backline and goal respectively, the performance against SMU was a big boost. DePaul’s another step up the ladder in terms of non-conference opponents, but another strong performance on both sides of the ball could be a signal that Nebraska isn’t about to be a one-hit wonder at the top of the Big Ten.
DePaul were probably made to sweat a whole lot more than they wanted to against Central Michigan despite absolutely dominating the stat sheet. The Blue Demons ended up outshooting CMU by a 20-3 count and 7-2 in shots on goal but were actually behind after fifty-six minutes. DePaul didn’t exactly roll over though, scoring less than a minute later and getting a late winner to walk away with the victory. Goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez wasn’t exactly tested that much in the win over CMU but figures to be a much busier keeper against Nebraska and will have to flash the form she showed last year with the Blue Demons. DePaul generally struck with a well balanced attack to down Central Michigan and will be eager to test a defense that may still need to find its feet against talented attacks. This may realistically be DePaul’s best chance for an NCAA Tournament resume builder, so an upset on the road would be a big statement from Erin Chastain’s troops.
North Carolina vs Ohio State – 2:00 PM
North Carolina doesn’t do 0-2 starts to seasons, so the Heels will be more than a little eager to erase the memory of Friday’s extra time defeat to Stanford. While early U20 WWC exits ensured that key cogs Summer Green and Katie Bowen were back for this crunch rival clash, the club was powerless to stop Chioma Ubogagu’s winner in extra time after both clubs had had chances to finish things earlier in the night. The Heels ran into an in-from Jane Campbell, with Summer Green in particular falling afoul of the keeper, having four shots saved by her U20 teammate. Green looked lively though, and she’ll have to be that and more considering how green the Heels’ attack is on the whole. There are goalkeeper questions in Chapel Hill though, with Lindsey Harris’ gaffe in extra time on the golden goal a worry. UNC has rotated keepers before postseason play for much of their recent history, but one wonders if the club’s other main keeper, Bryane Heaberlin, may be in line for more duty if Harris slips up going forward. If UNC had beaten Stanford, this one against Ohio State might have been seen as a trap game with UCLA next Friday. Instead, the Heels are under a little pressure to get a result Sunday. 0-2-0 wouldn’t be just bad for morale, it might also be a big blow against hopes for a high national seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Opponents Ohio State will surely be hopeful of a second win to open up the season with a flourish. The victory against Duke was a bit fortuitous given the stat sheet, but OSU were also without starting goalkeeper Jillian McVicker through injury. All things considered, redshirt freshman Megan Geldernick did quite well for herself, stopping eight shots (and getting the benefit of some kind bounces off the woodwork). Keep in mind, Ohio State was also without the injured Nichelle Prince in attack, making this an even bigger win to open up the season. There’s no word if Prince will be fit enough for action against UNC, but considering she didn’t play on Friday, anything but reserve duty looks unlikely. As such, it’s probably going to be offense by committee until Prince’s return. Given the uncertainty of the offense, the defense may have to tighten up against UNC. They kept the clean sheet, but giving up twenty-two shots to the Tar Heels probably won’t see a repeat of that feat.
Wisconsin vs Tennessee – 3:00 PM
As far as under the radar intrigue, this one might be the highlight of the weekend. The Badgers didn’t particularly blow away anyone with their narrow win over Oregon on Friday, especially considering they put just three of fifteen shots on target and one in the back of the net, but a win’s a win, especially for a club that missed out on the NCAA Tournament last season. Rose Lavelle was eased back into the lineup, starting as a reserve but ultimately assisting on Cara Walls’ winning goal. Walls getting back in the goals is a great sign for the Badgers, as they desperately need their forward talisman to star after a down season last year. Defense might be the story of Sunday’s game though, as it’s going to take some doing to slow down a Tennessee attack that was lethal on Friday against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Wisconsin did give up twelve shots to Oregon, but only two of those forced saves from Genevieve Richard, who figures to be much more busy on Sunday. Pouring some cold water on Tennessee’s scorching attack would be a great cap to the weekend and would all but ensure the club is 4-0-0 heading into a trip to Seattle in a few weeks.
Tennessee came out with their foot on the accelerator against Milwaukee and never really let up, getting two Hannah Wilkinson goals in thirty-two minutes before adding more goals each side of the half and finishing the scoring with a fifth in the seventieth minute. The Lady Vols were ruthlessly efficient, with five of their seven shots on goal going into the back of the net. Wilkinson was deadly as she can be, but perhaps just as encouraging was Anna McClung getting two assists in her UT debut. Diversifying the defense was always going to be key for the SEC side, and they look to be off to a decent start on Friday’s evidence. The offensive tide that swept the Panthers away perhaps obscured the defensive effort. UNC Greensboro transfer Jamie Simmons started and kept the clean sheet and perhaps may offer more stability in goal that has been missing for much of the past half-decade. Wisconsin figures to put up more of a fight on Sunday though, and UT could go a long way of answering questions about their credentials with another convincing win.
Cal vs Santa Clara – 4:00 PM
These two Northern California rivals have delivered some barnburners in the past and will be looking to get their second win of the season against each other on Sunday afternoon. Cal opened up their season with a bit of a nervy win against San Francisco, as they needed a little time to get going but then scored some fantastic goals to seal the win. While the Golden Bears didn’t look close to being a finished product yet, they showed some scintillating potential offensively, with Ifeoma Onumonu looking in fine form, while Celeste Bourielle looked dangerous in the attack as well, chipping in with two assists. Given some of the youth within the Cal team, taking care of business at home has to be seen as a positive step, and they’ll have a chance to take a much bigger step on Sunday afternoon against their state rivals. If they can pull off an upset against Santa Clara on Sunday, there’s a very good chance they’ll be 6-0-0 heading into a huge weekend against Texas Tech and Santa Clara (again). Perhaps more importantly, a win on Sunday would show that youth may not be as big an inhibitor as some may have thought in terms of Cal’s success this season.
Despite major offseason losses of their own, Santa Clara responded well in their season opener, toppling a pesky UC Irvine side by two clear goals. Sofia Huerta underlined the notion that it’s her team now, with a pair of goals to lead the Broncos to a deserved victory. The Broncos’ defense held up pretty well also, keeping the Anteaters to just four shots on goal, though stopping Onumonu and a potential laden Cal attack is going to be another matter entirely. SCU’s perhaps gone under the radar a bit early on as Stanford’s winning weekend in Chapel Hill has likely sucked much of the attention their way, but a second win this weekend might show that the region’s other big gun might have something to say as well despite some serious losses in the offseason. A win here would likely set up a huge clash against Notre Dame on home turf in a few weeks where a further victory could put SCU right in the mix for a national seed eventually.
Boston University vs Boston College – 7:00 PM
The city derby gained some extra spice when BU was able to down La Salle late on Friday. Jenna Fisher’s strike with seven seconds left completed a furious comeback in which BU overcame the odds and a 1-0 deficit at 77′ to score twice and record a priceless win for their slim at-large bid hopes. The Terriers needed a half to get a foothold and did go down early in the half to the A10 side, but behind goals from Fisher and Ana Cuffia, BU walked away with a win that could be priceless in the end if they’re on the bubble for an at-large bid. Still, they probably know that they need to get a result in one or both of their next two against BC and South Carolina next Friday. Historically, the derby between these two sides has almost always been low scoring and very competitive, which will probably suit BU well considering their opponents boast Stephanie McCaffrey in attack. Victory here would give the Terriers major momentum going into the rest of their non-conference slate.
Boston College came into the new season already under the gun thanks to the offseason injuries to McKenzie Meehan and Casey Morrison which had robbed the Eagles of much its star power. The team looked to be shellshocked early as well on Friday against Colgate, when they went behind in the fourteenth minute. And then they scored a minute later through Stephanie McCaffrey and added two goals in the second half to run out as comfortable winners. Going down early to Boston University would probably be another matter entirely though, and given the annual questions on defense about the Eagles, showing an ability to keep it tight against a quality side like BU would probably put a lot of the concerns about the backline without Morrison to rest. The goals are going to inevitably come with this program, but being able to do it against a traditionally tough defense like BU’s would be another positive sign heading into a section of the non-conference season that should produce a lot of wins.
Texas A&M vs Stephen F. Austin – 8:00 PM
At long, long last, Stephen F. Austin was able to finish the job against a major conference opponent on Friday. OK, that major conference opponent was Oregon State, but the sentiment is probably nice, even if that win came against what looks to be a very bad Pac-12 team. The Ladyjacks’ defensive performance was probably more impressive than the offensive one, SFA having kept Oregon State to just two shots on goal over the course of ninety minutes. SFA only managed three shots on goal on twelve shots total, but they made their chances count, scoring late in the first half and just past the hour mark to pick up the win. While OSU probably isn’t going to be of much help as a non-conference statement win for at-large bid possibilities, Texas A&M almost assuredly will. The Ladyjacks will hope the A&M defense isn’t airtight like in Friday’s shaky showing against Dayton but will still have to take their chances. More to the point, they’ll have to defend like gangbusters to stop an Aggie attack that figures to chew up opposing defenses this season.
The Aggies probably won’t want to dwell on the poor defensive showing against Dayton. SFA doesn’t have Dayton’s offensive weapons, but they’ll still be able to pounce on mistakes given to them. Some of those mistakes almost proved costly against the Flyers on Friday, as A&M promptly coughed up a 3-1 lead before winning 4-3. Kelley Monogue looks to be in scorching form to open up the new season, netting two goals and an assist in the effort. Monogue again looks to be playing as the club’s center forward after featuring at attacking midfielder last year. A&M will be sweating on the health of both right-back Karlie Mueller and goalkeeper Jordan Day though. Mueller’s injury doesn’t sound serious, but a major injury to Day could be fatal to College Cup hopes, considering the senior is one of the nation’s top keepers. Injuries or no, A&M knows this is a must win game for national seeding purposes down the line.
Arkansas vs Oklahoma State – 8:05 PM
Oklahoma State will want to put Friday’s limp display in the rear view mirror as quickly as possible with a tough rod trip to Arkansas on Sunday night. The Cowgirls’ offense looked flat-out stagnant without Courtney Dike leading the line as they slipped to an upset defeat to Bedlam rivals Oklahoma. While OSU did basically double up Oklahoma in the offensive stat categories, it’d be a stretch to call the offensive display an invigorating one. Perhaps more worrisome was Rosa Medina’s play in goal, with the senior making a meal of a Devin Barrett shot that doubled Oklahoma’s advantage in the first half. While Dike’s return next week should solve some problems, a second straight loss to open up the season would throw cold water on potential national seed ambitions for Colin Carmichael’s team. Given some of the matches to come in the next few weeks, OSU might need a win here to avoid an awful W-L-T record as Big XII play approaches in a month’s time.
Arkansas passed their first test this season with flying colors, decisively beating a game Utah State side in the opener on Friday. The Lady Razorbacks jumped out to an early lead and never really looked back, adding a couple late to make the margin of victory comfortable. Alexandra Fischer provided a rare spark with two goals in just forty-eight minutes, while the club also got a pair of assists from Claire Kelley and target forward Ashleigh Ellenwood. Oklahoma State’s defense doesn’t figure to be anywhere near as pliable on Sunday night, despite Friday’s evidence, meaning Arkansas will have to keep improving on the attack if they want to repeat Friday’s goal scoring exploits against USU. If anything, Colby Hale’s side should be better rested, with the easier Friday match and a willingness to run in no end of fresh legs that was again on display against the Mountain West side. Arkansas has to know they’ll be facing a side wanting revenge for last year’s NCAA Tournament defeat, as well as one desperate for a win after Friday’s shock, so they can’t let up in this primetime clash.
Miami (OH) vs Butler – 11:00 AM – Hello Redhawks! Everyone’s favorite one-time Lady Vol vanquishers are back in the headlines again this season after toppling Purdue in an opening day upset. Miami (OH) would basically have to run the table for an at-large bid, but their non-conference slate suddenly looks very beatable. Butler made awful hard work of Ohio on Friday, gagging away a two-goal lead in the last fifteen minutes before winning in extra time. They’ll be hoping that win didn’t take too much out of them against a dogged opponent on Sunday.
Florida Gulf Coast vs Arizona – 1:00 PM – The Eagles had their wings clipped by the weather on Friday washing out what would have been an uber-intriguing clash with UCF. Instead, they now get to open against an Arizona side that could be poised for a breakthrough. Tony Amato’s team passed their first test in an ill-tempered affair with Florida International, putting in a professional 2-0 win. Another win would be another step towards contending for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Oklahoma vs Utah – 2:00 PM – Hey, Oklahoma are competent again! The Sooners shocked Bedlam rivals Oklahoma State on Friday, hitting OSU for two goals in the first half and hanging on for a 2-0 win over their heated rivals. Beat Utah on Sunday, and OU may be a legit NCAA Tournament contender. OU is just a wee bit of a step up from Oral Roberts, who Utah eased past on Friday. The Utes’ rather timid non-conference slate means Sunday’s match might be a must for NCAA Tournament purposes.
Furman vs Auburn – 2:00 PM – Friday was supposed to be a tune-up for the Paladins, but they got more than they bargained for, needing a Stephanie DeVita spot kick to get past Georgia State in extra time. They’ll hope that didn’t burn through too much energy in a match where DeVita will likely be the best forward on the pitch. Auburn desperately needs a win after falling to Clemson. Defeat here would greatly endanger at-large bid hopes.
Rice vs Dayton – 2:00 PM – The “good job! good effort!” game of the day features two teams who put in valiant efforts in defeat on Friday. The home side pushed Baylor into extra time, which was only needed after the club had a penalty saved in the second half. Dayton pushed back from 3-1 down to Texas A&M to equalize at 3-3 before ultimately bowing to the Aggies’ firepower. The quality for an at-large bid for both these sides is there, but the quantity of quality results may ultimately not be with a defeat here.
Georgetown vs Long Beach State – 2:30 PM (from San Diego, California – As if Georgetown needed to remind you of their firepower, they got two goals from Vanessa Skrumbis on Friday, the senior not necessarily a big part of most preseason prognostications for the Hoyas. Opponents Long Beach State huffed and puffed but couldn’t blow USC’s goal down, though Mimi Rangel did look dangerous after her excellent rookie showing last year.
Penn State vs Syracuse – 2:30 PM – PSU beat the ever-loving hell out of West Virginia for a half that could have ended 4-0 in their favor before easing to a 3-1 win over the Big XII favorites. No PSU attacker stood out, though rookie Emily Ogle did look impressive with a penalty goal and an assist. The defense was more impressive though holding West Virginia to three shots. That’s little comfort to a Syracuse side that couldn’t score against Missouri.
Pepperdine vs Maryland – 4:00 PM – Maryland aren’t as bad as they showed against UCLA. Please tell me they aren’t as bad as they looked against UCLA. Opponents Pepperdine got a big day from the Harbison sisters who each scored a goal and five (five!) shots on goal from Colby Carson off the bench. That’s five more than Maryland managed against UCLA, and the Terps could be in big at-large bid trouble with another loss here.
Colorado College vs Denver – 4:00 PM – The narrative coming into this one was a showdown between two mid-majors in contention for at-large bids. So much for that. CC slipped to a shock defeat after giving up three unanswered to Northern Colorado in the opening twenty-seven minutes. Denver contrived a 1-1 draw against a Nevada team that was able to slow them down just enough. Going two without a win for both these programs is unfathomable, making Sunday’s match a high tension affair.
San Diego vs USC – 5:00 PM – San Diego has given USC fits at times the past half-decade, though they were beaten decisively last season. And Friday too against an explosive Georgetown team. The Toreros couldn’t do much offensively against the Hoyas with just two shots on goal, which could be a bad omen against a USC side that contained Long Beach State well enough. The Trojans are still a work in progress but still showed promise in the season opening win.
UCLA vs UC Irvine – 9:00 PM – So, uh, what chance does UC Irvine have against a UCLA team that held Maryland without a shot? Irvine put up a decent fight but bowed to Sofia Huerta and Santa Clara’s might eventually. The Bruins’ waltzed past Maryland with some succulent passing and great goals. Greatness is one thing, consistent greatness is another, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Bruins can keep that flawless form going against a stubborn foe.