(Note: Georgetown-Stanford was postponed until Monday at 12:00 PM EST. Thoughts on that game will be posted late Monday afternoon.)
Duke 3 (Weinberg 63′, Cobb 67′, Canepa 75′) – 1 (Gerstle 26′, Schneider SENT OFF 83′) Notre Dame
Statement made. Duke are national title contenders and were deserved winners in an upset but not as big an upset as some would believe. After going down in bizarre fashion in the middle of the first half, Duke could’ve folded coming out of the break but instead exploded for three goals in twelve minutes to record a massive win against the defending national champs. It’s telling that all three of Duke’s young attacking lions were involved with two of the Blue Devils’ goals on the afternoon, with Weinberg and Cobb scoring and Pathman assisting on the former’s equalizer. Lost in the offensive fireworks was the job the defense did on the explosive Irish offense. Melissa Henderson was limited to a single off-target shot, while Notre Dame was limited to just two shots on goal overall, with one being Brynn Gerstle’s fluke goal. The only possible dampener to Duke’s coming out party was another knee injury to the unfortunate Ashley Rape. If Rape misses significant time, Duke’s ceiling probably descends a bit. But if she’s good to go, the Blue Devils can dream big.
Sunday was probably a small step away from a total second half meltdown for the Irish. They were very, very fortunate to be up 1-0 at the half through a bizarre goal that saw Duke keeper Tara Campbell clear it off Gerstle’s face with the ball rolling across the goal line from the ricochet. But Notre Dame struggled to create much else and only had two shots on goal the entire match, with the starters not getting a shot on goal at all. More worryingly, the Irish defense had trouble with Duke’s offense, with the Blue Devil Big Three running riot over the backline at times. As if things couldn’t get worse, the team also lost Taylor Schneider to a red card after two bookable offenses late in the game. At least she’ll only be out for what looks like a tune-up against Tulsa. The Irish should be able to rack up two wins at home before another big trip on the road to face Stanford and Santa Clara.
UCLA 2 (Courtnall 35′, Leroux 72′) – 0 Florida
UCLA knocks down yet another obstacle in their path and currently look decent bets to make it to Kennesaw despite a bevy of newcomers throughout the lineup. Without question, the Bruins are one of the deepest teams in the country, though that advantage in depth was certainly nullified to an extent by a Florida team just as deep as they were in this one. A game that looked even on the scoresheet inevitably was settled by the Bruins’ Sydney Leroux who eventually scored the game that sealed the win in the second half. Florida did a fair job of shutting down Sakiya Bywaters, Jenna Richmond, and Rosie White, who all combined for zero shots on goal but couldn’t keep Leroux quiet, as the senior had five shots to pace her side. Ally Courtnall continues to be the team’s quietly outstanding freshman and sank the winner in the first half for her side. Perhaps most impressive was the team’s defensive effort in shutting out the Gators, with Katelyn Rowland already looking the part of a strong keeper despite her youth. A revenge match against Pepperdine in Malibu looms next week. If UCLA fends off that upset bid, they could well be 10-0-0 with Oregon State coming to Westwood in the beginning of October.
A rough day for the Gators who faltered against elite competition once more. Florida weren’t overrun by any means and definitely had their chances to get on the scoreboard but just couldn’t put any of them away. Erika Tymrak was ever present once again pulling the strings for Florida and even had most of the shots on the afternoon for the team, but her teammates’ finishing let her down. Florida is still rotating players in and out of the starting lineup at will, and though having the likes of Tahnai Annis and Taylor Travis on the bench didn’t work out on this afternoon, that kind of depth should be deadly in SEC play. In the end, this match came down to shutting down UCLA’s bevy of attacking talent. While Florida clamped down on some of the Bruins’ goal scoring threats, they couldn’t silence them all, including the biggest of them all, Leroux. There’ll need to be improvement in that department in a few weeks when they entertain Florida State back in Gainesville.
Tennessee 1 (Brown PK 35′) – 0 Texas A&M
A massive statement of intent from Tennessee as they send Texas A&M crashing to their third straight defeat in a battling display from Knoxville. The Lady Vols were on the wrong end of both shots and shots on goal, but got some big saves out of freshman keeper Julie Eckel to seal a priceless non-conference win. Tennessee really couldn’t take great advantage of what has been a suspect A&M defense for most of the match but got the one break they needed when Alexis Owens was tripped up by Texas A&M keeper Jordan Day in the box. Caroline Brown converted for her fourth of the year, netting the eventual winning goal. Brown’s been a revelation thus far and was only one of two Tennessee players to put a shot on goal. The sophomore looks like she’s growing into the goal threat this team has so desperately needed and forms a very threatening duo along with Chelsea Hatcher, though the latter was essentially shut down on the afternoon. This is a win that should look better and better as the year goes along and could be one of the keys to a national seed in the NCAA Tournament for a Lady Vols team that suddenly looks like the team that was a force in the SEC at the beginning of the millennium.
G. Guerrieri must be tearing his hair out on the way back to College Station. First the team was frail defensively against Fresno State while scoring a lot of goals. Then the defense was fine while the offense wasn’t creating against UC Irvine. Then the defense was bad against against Florida while the offense was working just fine. And then Sunday, A&M was able to keep Tennessee off the board in the run of play, but the offense fired blanks yet again. Not that the Aggies weren’t painfully close at times with Kelley Monogue hitting the woodwork twice. If A&M can finally marry both strong finishing and defense, they could again be a big threat in Big XII play. But with so many youngsters, especially in attack, you get the sense that A&M’s form could be volatile all throughout the season. The Aggies have to get Merritt Mathias scoring against the big teams though. She had four shots and two on goal but again was held off the scoresheet.
Marquette 2 (Kelly 5′, Philbin 68′) – 1 (Link 40′, Balcer SENT OFF 69′) Long Beach State
Much closer on the scoreboard than in the stats sheet it appears. The home side had the advantage in shots (15-5), shots on goal (9-2), and corner kicks (3-2). Of course the only stat that counts is that Lisa Philbin’s sixty-eighth minute goal held up for a 2-1 victory. Marquette are a very tough team to shut down as they are very much a team that’s so much more than the sum of their parts. Philbin and Maegan Kelly were the heroines today, though Marquette’s well balanced offense did well, and the stiff Golden Eagle defense did a pretty good job of keeping a dangerous Long Beach State team at bay. A massive rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen match against Florida State looms next weekend. If Marquette can go on the road to FSU and get a win, you can add their name to the shortlist of College Cup contenders. A special tip of the cap as well to Marquette defender Ally Miller, who looks like developing into one of the Big East’s best.
The 49ers were second best the entire way through, and their chances at emerging with anything from this one essentially went up in smoke thirty seconds after going down 2-1 when Alex Balcer was sent off. If there’s any sliver lining in this one, it’s that Nadia Link continues to look like a dangerous threat up front for LBSU. Two losses, albeit one goal losses, are not great for the bottom line, and the Beach’s win against USC doesn’t look as impressive as it did on opening day. This is still a very good team, but they’re a very good team in need of two wins against Princeton and Hawaii next weekend.
San Diego 1 (Garcia 29′) – 2 (Vidal 83′, 87′) Kansas
Toto, we’re not in 2010 any more. And that’s a very good thing for a revitalized Kansas side that suddenly looks like one of the Big XII’s better teams and a contender for the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks may have given up corners like they were going out of style but defended well and got a stunning double from Colombian freshman Ingrid Vidal to steal the win from a San Diego team that had been flying up to this point. Kansas switched keepers for this one, with redshirt freshman Kaitlyn Stroud taking up the gloves, though the Jayhawks still couldn’t keep a clean sheet, which has to be a bit of a worry. Still, Kansas kept San Diego to just three shots on goal, including keeping Stephanie Ochs from putting one on frame at all. That loss to Tennessee suddenly doesn’t look so egregious, and Kansas has a great chance at two more wins next week before a potentially huge bubble showdown against Dayton at a neutral site.
Not a great day at the office for San Diego. Ochs was shut down, the normally crunching defense couldn’t contain the firepower of Vidal, Kastor, and Berry, and the Toreros went belly up in the final ten minutes. It’s not a fatal blow, but it’s a blow nonetheless for a side that was looking as dangerous as any in the country through three matches. They can’t let that late capitulation linger in their minds though. Alabama and UCF are both game opposition, capable of beating USD if the Toreros are having another bad day.
San Diego State 1 (Hurst 25′) – 0 Portland
Jackpot. San Diego State gets a brilliant and deserved win on home turf against Portland to put themselves in a fantastic position to garner an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament come November. The Aztecs are just a massively different team with senior Cat Walker prowling about, and though she didn’t put any of her five shots on goal, the SDSU talisman was still massively impressive according to first-hand accounts of the match. Perhaps even more impressive was the job that the Aztecs did on the Portland offense. Danielle Foxhoven and Micaela Capelle were both held without a single shot on goal, and Portland only managed two shots on goal period on the afternoon. This display only has to raise the stock of SDSU senior defender Megan McQueeny even more. The Aztecs are a tough, tough team to play at the Sports Deck, and have another chance to pick up a big win next weekend against UCF in a fantastic mid-major showdown.
Portland’s going to be an adventure to follow again I feel. You just get the sense that this Pilots team is going to be involved in a lot of close games against big opposition over the course of this season. For whatever reason, Portland’s offense just has not been able to bust loose most of the time since the beginning of last season, and the Pilots were lethargic on the road for the most part against the Aztecs. Rookie Emily Sippel did manage to whack the post in the second half, but managing just two shots on goal over the course of ninety minutes simply isn’t going to get it done against tougher opposition. Questions have to be asked about keeper Hailee DeYoung as well after a gaffe that saw her come out to grab a loose ball in the area but grasp nothing but air, leading to Tiffany Hurst prodding the ball home for the deciding goal. Seattle’s a decent side, but Portland should be able to sweep them aside next weekend before another big time mid-major encounter with a hungry Boston University side in Seattle.
Arizona State 1 (Stone 60′) – 0 South Carolina
South Carolina were on the wrong end of another last second goal shout as Arizona State survived the Gamecocks’ putting the ball over the line through Danielle Au but only after time expired as adjudged by the officials. It was the second time SC had suffered last second woe in three seasons after the Gamecocks were felled by Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament in 2009 on a last second goal as well. The defeated visitors fell victim to the blistering heat in a hundred and five degree temperatures in Tempe, with the Gamecock offense putting up a lot of goose eggs, though their opponents were little better in all honesty. Though Kayla Grimsley managed to get a couple of shots on goal, she was the only SC player to hit the target with a shot. It’s been a poor weekend offensively for the Gamecocks, though the defense played fairly well and at least enabled them to keep a clean sheet to go back home with one win from two. The conditions made it absolutely necessary to go very deep on the bench, and Head Coach Shelley Smith rotated a fair number of starters as well. Another interesting note is how the goalkeeping battle looks to have thrown wide open again with incumbent Sabrina D’Angelo ceding a half of time to Darien Vercillo, who conceded the goal in the second stanza. It’ll be interesting to see who’s in between the pipes against Northeastern on the weekend.
Arizona State probably weren’t at their best, but they simply found a way to win, the hallmark of a good team and a promising sign for the immediate future. The Sun Devils certainly had the intangibles on their side, playing at home after nine days idle while their opponents had just come off an extra time scrap against Arizona a few days prior. The big question with these Sun Devils is if their offense is going to be capable of keeping up with some of the league’s better attacks. After the laugher against Northern Arizona a week ago, they grinded out a goal with Nicki Stone putting back a saved free kick from Kari Shane. The defense certainly passed a big test here, keeping Grimsley in check for the most part while totally nullifying her teammates. ASU also looks to be going towards a goalkeeping rotation, with Vittoria Arnold and Alyssa Gilmore again sharing time equally in this one. The Sun Devils take a big, big step up in class next week though against Virginia. Getting anything against the Cavs would be great for RPI and confidence purposes and would show that ASU are again a serious threat to make it back into the Big Dance.
Colorado 0 – 1 Wyoming
Iowa State 2 – 0 Washington
Oklahoma 0 – 1 SMU
UC Riverside 2 – 1 San Jose State
Vanderbilt 1 – 2 Missouri State