Weekly roundup of women’s college soccer news you might have missed. Includes the past week’s crucial games, injury reports, news of note, upcoming games to watch, and general observations about the world of women’s college soccer.
So That Happened
Results from key games.
Ohio State 2-1 Virginia Tech
The Ohio State University Buckeyes needed to start off this past weekend’s tricky schedule with a statement win. And they got one in Blacksburg on Thursday night and posted their best start to the season (5-0 at that time) since 2007. This is a team that needs to score first in order to be successful, and in the 33rd minute, Lindsay Agnew gave them that initial lead. It was doubled close to the hour mark by Morgan Wolcott and then the defense went to work. Ohio State isn’t going to thrill you by dominating teams this year but if they can score early and use their defense to do the rest, they may make a run deep into November. — JJ
Penn State 0-1 (OT) UCLA
Who else but Jessie Fleming? The Canadian international head home the game-winner in overtime to defeat the reigning national champs. That ups Fleming’s ante to three goals in two games. Penn State’s defense held UCLA to three shots in the first half and zero shots in the second half until the 80th minute. UCLA increased the pressure and almost had the game in hand in the 96th minute were it not from a terrific save by Penn State’s Amanda Dennis. The breakthrough came in the 99th minute off a corner kick delivered by MacKenzie Cerda. The 5’4″ Fleming got to it first and headed it over Dennis and the Penn State defender on the goal line. — Brandi
Florida PPD Florida State
Well, this match was going to be really fun, but, alas, it didn’t happen. Despite this, I would still wager that the Gators have a bit of bragging rights over their rival after this weekend. While Florida was hanging seven goals on Oklahoma State (and allowing two because, well, the defense thing still isn’t quite clicking), Florida State was being shut out by South Alabama. Yes, you read that right. Nothing like being able to throw out a “well at least we didn’t give a Sun Belt team their first win over a ranked opponent” when the trash talk starts.
I do want to give South Alabama credit here though. They will more than likely win their conference, and they did oust LSU in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. It will be fun to see what kind of mischief the Jags can possibly get up to in this year’s postseason. — Rachael
Minnesota 0-1 Duke (Editor’s Choice)
Roughly 36 hours after Duke fired 30 shots but came away with a scoreless draw against North Carolina, the Blue Devils marched out to face a determined Minnesota team that defeated Villanova two days before in the final game of the Duke Nike Classic. In a matchup of high-octane offenses, there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about in goals scored despite some decent soccer played in the first half. Duke caught Minnesota napping on a throw in just past the half hour mark and Ella Stevens finished off Christina Gibbons’ cross for a 1-0 lead. The Gophers threw plenty of chances forward in the second half looking for the equalizer but the Blue Devils held firm, despite some weary legs, and pulled out the result. Minnesota showed they could be the real deal and Duke, give them credit for bouncing back nicely after putting so much effort into their match on Friday, despite going nil-nil against their local rivals. — JJ
Upcoming Games to Watch
Find a screen to watch these games.
UConn vs. Florida State
OGM runs on a Monday through Sunday basis for their rankings. Hence why you won’t see Week 3 reflect Florida State’s stunning 1-0 loss at South Alabama on Monday night. Now the ’Noles, who rarely lose and haven’t conceded a goal this year up until Monday, have to pick up the slack at home against a pesky UConn team that often finds a way to raise (or lower) their standards according to their opponent. This one could be sneaky good and could be a good indicator of what both teams will look like right before conference play kicks off. — JJ
Minnesota vs. Stanford
Oh, this one is going to be good. Stanford is coming off wins over Wisconsin and Marquette while Minnesota is looking to rebound from a tough 0-1 loss to Duke after a 5-0 win over Villanova. This is the first meeting between the Cardinal and the Gophers. — Brandi
West Virginia vs. Duke
Guess who’s back. Back again? Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence are back from Rio with some new bling, and are ready to join a West Virginia team that has actually been doing quite well in their absence. The Mountaineers just handed the ranked Ohio State Buckeyes their first loss of the season, and now gain two immensely talented players to go with that momentum. Duke has recovered brilliantly from their upset of the century (Just let me have this moment, okay?) earning a tough 1-0 win against Minnesota this Sunday. This sets up a really nice match for your viewing on Friday, which you can check out provided you get ACC matches on your Watch ESPN account. Essentially, I know you all want to see a Buchanan slide tackle. It’s been a few weeks. — Rachael
Washington State vs. TCU (Editor’s Choice)
TCU has often been the bottom feeder in the Big 12 that throws in the occasional quarterfinal-round upset come conference tournament time. But this year, the Horned Frogs have started off with a perfect 5-0 record, including sweeping Maryland and Navy on the road in week one. In those five matches, they’ve outscored their opponents 18-2 and are led by Michelle Prokof’s 5-goal, 1-assist start to the season. Now they take on Washington State in the middle game of a five-game home stand. The Cougars have been on our watch for a number of years now but can never fully crack the upper tier of the Pac-12 and so far this year, they’ve had a win-one, lose-one baseline of results. So this could be the ripe time for TCU to steal a nice win, at home, and keep rolling on toward Big 12 play. — JJ
The players who made a difference this past week.
Lindsey Harris, North Carolina
Harris played through the early stages of Somewhat Tropical Storm Hermine that North Carolina found itself in and battled not only the conditions but a motivated Duke team, who so desperately wanted to beat their local rivals. And while the Tar Heels allowed 30 totals shots, the most they have allowed since 2011, 11 of those were on target. Harris stopped all 11 to set a new career high. Shout out to the Goalkeeper Union for that strong effort. Plus, she played 45 minutes two days later against Villanova and helped preserve the clean sheet there as well. So she gets the nod a Top Performer for the week. — JJ
Savannah McCaskill, South Carolina
We can always count on the Palmetto Series to give us some excitement, and remind us of one of South Carolina’s finer tree leaves. This time around was a rare edition, in which the Gamecocks entered the match unranked. McCaskill didn’t let that ruffle her feathers, as she provided a big-time brace to lead her team past the in-state rivals from Clemson. Friendly reminder, or scary depending on who you support, that McCaskill is still only a junior and will get one more season of college soccer under her belt. In the here and now however, I’ve gotta give some props to McCaskill for stepping up against a ranked opponent. Which, by the way, is pretty standard for South Carolina, who has won four of its last six against ranked foes. — Rachael
#TeamOGM Alma Mater Watch
A new addition to the our College Coverage as we take a look at how each of the #TeamOGM alma mater’s are stacking up this season. Biased? We hope so.
Rachael Caldwell — Arkansas (SEC)
Results: W, 2-1, vs. UMKC; W, 7-1, vs. Northern Iowa; L, 0-1, at George Washington
Ah. It would seem that Icarus has flown too close to the sun. Nothing like writing a resounding essay dripping with school pride and then seeing said school hand George Washington its first victory against a ranked team in more than two decades. Arkansas allowed only three shots on goal from just one George Washington player (gotta give credit where credit is due, well done, MacKenzie Cowley), which resulted in one goal. Okay, so defense was pretty stout, but maybe the Colonials’ defense was in shutdown mode too? To be fair, the Razorbacks only notched two shots on goal in the game, BUT they were pretty consistently pestering the defense with 10 total shots in the match. Issue is, they didn’t go in the back of the net. Up next is a tricky stretch for the Hogs as they visit a Mississippi State team that absolutely shocked them at home last season and face a North Texas side that can be dangerous when on their A game.
Next up: Friday at Mississippi State; Sunday vs. North Texas
JJ Duke — Rider University (MAAC)
Results: L, 0-1 (OT), vs. Temple; T, 1-1, at Bucknell
Rider’s goal has always been pretty clear, win the MAAC. They did it a couple of years ago and got to the semis last year. You will never like losing at home and Rider has already lost twice now at Ben Cohen Field (albeit, one of those came against a top 10 team and we led Rutgers at halftime, so I’m not counting that). I like that draw away to Bucknell though. That is a tough trip to take and the Bison had a perfect record coming into that match so to get a result in Lewisburg is not a bad thing. This will be the last week before conference play so gaining some confidence-boosting results will be key for the Broncs, so let’s see if they can remake Cohen Field into a fortress again.
Next up: Thursday vs. NJIT; Sunday vs. Saint Joseph’s
Ruth Moore — SIU-Edwardsville (OVC)
Results: W, 3-1, vs. UIC; L, 5-1, at Iowa
“Clean things up” seems to be SIUE head coach Derek Burton’s mantra this season. The Cougars returned home from Colorado with two 2-1 losses, one squandered lead, and zero points. They were able to put together a 3-1 win at Korte against in-state foe UIC on Friday before heading up to face the Big Ten Iowa Hawkeyes in what was probably the toughest tilt on SIUE’s 2016 schedule. The match was a crushing 5-1 defeat in which Burton said his team made “elementary errors” and concluded “we will… clean it up.” Ouch. After the Cougars finish licking their wounds, it’s right back on the road and across the river to face Saint Louis. Since SIUE is 2-0-1 at home, maybe the schools’ close proximity will help the team dust off their win column on the road.
Next week’s matches: Sunday at Saint Louis
Brandi Ortega — UCLA (Pac-12)
Results: W, 1-0, (OT) vs. Penn State
Yaaassss! Okay, I’ve been sucked back in. I was trying so hard to give my little Bruins this season to fine tune and then ramp up the pressure in 2017 when the Pugh (allegedly) arrives. But head coach Amanda Cromwell has this team playing decent soccer now. Will it be enough and can they sustain it are the questions to ask. UCLA didn’t make it easy on themselves with a preseason schedule that included a stretch of games in which the Bruins faced Texas A&M, Florida, and Penn State, and came out of it with two wins and a close 3-4 loss in overtime. The Pac-12 ain’t no joke and this preseason schedule should have them well prepped for it.
Next up: Friday vs. North Carolina; Sunday vs. San Diego