Eight College Soccer Teams That Are Gaining Momentum

Don't sleep on these teams. Some of them may have experienced a learning curve in the early going but things are falling into place and good things could be in store for them as they appear to be gaining momentum and jelling as a team. 

Albany - (6-4-1) - The Great Danes began the season with three losses but have since rebounded to go 6-1-1 in their last eight contests with their only loss a 1-0 defeat against America East foe Hartford.  Sophomore forward Austin DaSilva (10g, 2a) has become a force on the offensive side of the ball for an attack that has steadily matured while the consistency and intensity of play on the defensive side of the ball led by freshman goalkeeper Isac Hjerten has improved as the season has progressed.  A balanced attack to supplement the efforts of DaSilva and continued focus on the defensive side of the ball look to be among the keys to continued success. 

The Great Danes will endeavor to keep their win streak alive when they travel to face UMBC in America East play on Saturday.

Syracuse (5-3-4) - The Orange have steadily jelled and grown in confidence. Their three losses to date are to Georgetown, Wake Forest, and Duke on the road.  Syracuse entered the season with gaps to plug which created a learning curve with the added challenge of playing a very difficult slate of opponents. The Orange is still a work in progress but a gutsy 4-3 come from behind win over North Carolina and a 1-0 win over Connecticut in their last two contests are clear indications that things are beginning to come together for Syracuse.  The Orange's margin for error remains small and continued improvement is needed on the defensive side of the ball along with the emergence of another goal scorer or two to supplement the efforts of Ryan Raposo (7g, 3a) and Massimo Ferrin (3g, 4a). Nonetheless count Syracuse among the programs that looks to be coming together as a team and gaining momentum.

Opportunity knocks for the Orange when they host a very explosive Clemson team on Saturday.  A win in that one would be a nice resume builder.  To accomplish that Syracuse will have to find a way to contain Clemson's high octane attack and also apply the pressure they need to create chances of their own to score.   

Saint Louis (9-3-0) - A talented Saint Louis team began the season on the back foot with a 3-2 loss at home to Notre Dame and a 2-0 loss to SMU in Dallas. Since that time they have quietly and steadily won nine out of their last ten contests including their last six in a row.  Their lone loss during that time was a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Memphis on the road.  

Saint Louis is 5-0-0 in Atlantic 10 play.  A solid Billiken defense anchored by backs Chase Niece, Patrick Wilkinson and Mjueeb Murana and freshman goalkeeper Patrick Schulte has yet to allow a goal in conference play.  Forward Leo Novaes (6g, 5a) who has contributed three game-winners and midfielder Bevin Boyce (4g, 3a) are among those who are counted on to provide punch to the offense.

Saint Louis will seek to keep its win streak alive when it hosts a Dayton team on Saturday that is having a roller coaster season with a  7-7-0 overall record and a 2-2-0 mark against Atlantic 10 competition.  The Billikens then travel to face Virginia on Tuesday with a chance to make a little noise on the national scene.  

Penn State - ( 7-2-2) - The Nittany Lions look to be a team that is gaining confidence and traction. Their two losses so far this year were to Stanford and Indiana. They currently sit in the number two spot in the Big Ten race with a 3-1-1 mark in conference play that includes wins over Ohio State, Michigan State, and Northwestern and a tie with Michigan. The quality and the depth of the roster at Penn State is showing up in their win-loss record.  The fact that Penn State is 4-0-1 on the road is another indication of the grit of this team.  Freshman forward Liam Butts (6g, 0a) and senior midfielder Aaron Molloy (5g, 2a) add firepower to a Nittany Lion attack that has produced a total of twenty-one goals. 

Penn State has a chance to solidify their standing and credibility in Big Ten play when they travel to tangle with Wisconsin on Saturday. They follow that up with a non-conference contest at home against nationally ranked James Madison.  Wins in those games would be huge for the Nittany Lions.

Loyola Chicago - (8-3-1) - The Ramblers opened the season with wins over Vermont and Northern Illinois but then dropped contests on the road against Cal State Fullerton and Loyola Marymount.  They are 6-1-1 in their last eight games with their lone defeat a 2-1 loss in overtime to Missouri State.  

Loyola Chicago has now won four consecutive contests as everything looks to be falling into place.  Senior midfielder Aidan Megally (8g, 1a) has been a force on the offensive side of the ball. The defense  has allowed a total of eleven goals and only two in the last five games. The backline of senior Marius Kullman, freshman Andrew Mitchell, redshirt sophomore Mike Riley and junior Liam Woehrle and graduate student goalkeeper Marcel Kampman looks to be focused and organized.     

Missouri State with a perfect 5-0-0 mark is clearly in the driver's seat in the Missouri Valley Conference but don't count the Ramblers who are 3-1-1 in league play out of it just yet.

Loyola Chicago returns to the pitch on Wednesday October 23 when they travel to Peoria to take on a Bradley team that they tied 0-0 when the two squared off on September 25.  The Ramblers must win that one to remain in contention for the MVC regular season title.

Campbell - (11-2-1) - Campbell out of the Big South Conference has won eight straight and is 5-0-0 in Big South Conference play.  They lost their season opener to Memphis in a match in which they played a man down for eighty-five minutes and they came out on the short end of a 1-0 game on the road on September 17 against Coastal Carolina.

This is a deep and very talented team that is coming into their own in a big way. Last year the number four seeded Camels under head coach Dustin Fonder surprised a lot of folks when they won the Big South Tournament and returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time in eleven years.  Campbell is building on the momentum they generated last year.  

Junior Thibaut Jacquel (15g, a), who is among the top goal scorers in the country,  adds a ton of punch to the offense.  Junior goalkeeper Samuel Lechuga along with backs senior Gideon Betz, junior Dylan Sadler, sophomore Franck Momo and freshmen Bissafi Dotte and Moses Mensah are part of a defense that has allowed a total of only six goals in the last thirteen contests and recorded eight shutouts.

Campbell faces UNC Asheville in a Big South match on Saturday and hosts North Carolina out of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Tuesday, October 22 in what should be an interesting matchup.

Utah Valley - 8-3-1 - Don't overlook the Wolverines. Utah Valley has won five straight and is a perfect 5-0-0 in Western Athletic Conference play during which they have scored a total of nine goals and allowed only one. This is a resilient team that will not be outworked and that has developed that special something needed to prevail in the close contests in clutch situations.   

Senior Mitch Jensen anchors the defense in goal along with sophomore back Ahmed Longmire.  Senior Alex Felix (3g, 3a) sets the pace in the midfield while senior forward Blake Frischknecht (8g, 0a) provides firepower to the offense up top.

Utah Valley puts their undefeated record in WAC play on the line when they travel to tangle with Kansas City on Saturday.  Kansas City will come into the contest with a little momentum of their own after topping UT Rio Grande Valley 2-1.

UNCW - (7-4-2) - The Seahawks struggled in the early going with unexpected season opening losses to Georgia Southern and Stetson.  They also have losses to Campbell 2-0 and North Carolina 2-0. They have rebounded and are undefeated in their last four contests and remain in the thick of the CAA race with a 4-0-1 mark in conference play. Their margin for error remains slight but they appear to be on the back side of the learning curve that occurs when there are a lot of new faces in key roles. Senior forward Phillip Goodrum is a goal scorer who when on track can take over a contest.  Senior backs Mark Lindstrom and Wilhelm Nilsson are seasoned and very capable competitors. Ditto that for goalkeeper Gabriel Perrotta.   

UNCW travels to face James Madison in a key CAA contest on Saturday.  Both James Madison and UNCW are 4-0-1 in CAA play.  A win in that one would signal that UNCW is back on track.

Tuesday October 15 - Key Games Including Several Upsets Occurred - What Happened At A Glance

The pace continues to heat up as teams coast to coast seek to enhance their standing with resume building wins. It is not to late for teams to rally and turn their seasons around. Depth is a factor as the season progresses.   

Wake Forest 5 - William and Mary 0 - This one was all Wake Forest from the get-go. Bruno Lapa converted a penalty kick in the twenty-second minute to start the scoring. Calvin Harris and Kyle Holcomb added goals in the first half with Aristotle Zarris contributing the helper on both goals. The Demon Deacons added two more goals in the seventy-third minute. Nico Benalcazar scored out of a corner kick served in by Omar Hernandez and Kyle Holcomb threaded a shot inside the near post after receiving a cross from Lapa to conclude the scoring for the evening.

Wake Forest improves to 11-2-0 while William and Mary drops to 4-6-2. 

Georgia  State 1 - Charlotte 0 - This one took place at TransAmerica Field in Charlotte. The 49ers had a twenty-three to four advantage in shots but Georgia State had the upper hand in the only statistic that mattered with sophomore forward Matthew Fearnley netting the lone goal of the contest in the twenty-sixth minute when he sent a bender into the upper left-hand corner of the goal from just outside the box.

Charlotte head coach Kevin Langan pretty much summed things up from Charlotte's perspective when he stated, "It's kind of a weird feeling because we played so well. We absolutely dominated the game from start to finish.  We outshot them 23-4, we hit the crossbar, had balls hit off the line. We absolutely battered them and we lose the game; that's soccer."  

Georgia State head coach Brett Surrency stated, "I'm proud of the guys tonight and their ability to bounce back after the disappointment of Saturday (a 2-1 loss to Georgia Southern). They truly had to compete and grind with everything they had tonight and I'm very pleased for them."

Charlotte sustains its first loss of the season to drop to 8-1-3. The 49ers have a big CUSA contest on Friday when they travel to Miami to face FIU. Georgia State halted a two game losing streak to improve to 7-2-3. 

Virginia 1 - James Madison 0 - This contest between number one ranked Virginia and number nineteen ranked James Madison took place at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville. It looked like this one might be scoreless until Virginia's junior forward  Irakoze Donasiyano decided otherwise when he controlled a loose ball and drove it into the top left shelf of the goal from thirty-five yards out to give the Cavaliers the edge they needed to secure the win.  

Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch stated, "What a way to win the game on a spectacular goal like that. It was a good game and JMU is a very good team.  That's the same team that beat a couple of ACC teams in the NCAA Tournament last year and the same team that beat Wake Forest this year when they were number one. They are an ACC quality opponent with that group."  

James Madison mentor Paul Zazenski stated, "Tonight was a tough result against a team that has yet to be beaten. Our guys battled all night and had opportunities that just didn't fall. UVA scored a great goal and sometimes you just have to tip your hat. Proud of our group on the night despite the outcome."

Colin Shutler had five saves in goal for Virginia to record his tenth clean sheet of the season.  T. J. Bush had three saves in goal for James Madison.

Virginia improves to 11-0-1 and moves forward to host a tenacious Pitt team on Friday.  A determined James Madison team drops to 9-4-1 and returns to Harrisonburg with a tough CAA contest on tap Saturday when they host UNCW at Sentara Park. 

UNCW 0 - Coastal Carolina 0 (ot) - This non-conference contest took place in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Both of these teams have historically had productive attacks but neither could manage to break the code on their opponents defense in this scoreless battle. UNCW had an eight to seven advantage in shots including a twelve to six advantage in corner kicks.  Coastal Carolina has not scored in their last five contests and has managed a total of only eleven goals to date.

UNCW is 7-4-2 and now travels to face James Madison in a CAA contest on Saturday.

Coastal Carolina is 4-6-2 and will travel to Boone, North Carolina to face Appalachian State on Saturday in Sun Belt play.

Yale 1 - Massachusetts 0 (ot) - Kylie Stannard's Yale team has now won eight straight after opening the season with a 1-1 tie with Syracuse and a 2-2 tie with Colgate. Senior midfielder Miguel Yuste came up big once again for Yale with two minutes remaining in the first overtime period  when he utilized his left foot to drive a shot from twenty yards out that deflected off a Massachusetts defender and found its way into the right side of the frame. Ryan Matteo and Jake Schaffer were credited with a double assist on Yuste's difference making goal.

Both sides had goals disallowed due to offside calls.

Stannard stated, "I'm really proud of the guys for finding a way to win a really tough match." He added, "UMass is much better than their record and has competed closely with everyone they've played. We knew this was going to be a battle, and it certainly was."

Elian Haddock had two saves in goal for Yale to post the shutout. Marvyn Dorchin had five saves between the pipes for UMass.

Yale improves to 8-0-2 but has a challenging Ivy League contest on their dance card when they host a very good Cornell team on Friday.  The Bulldogs will need to put together two strong halves of play in that one if they hope to keep their win streak alive. Massachusetts has now lost eight straight contests to drop to  4-9-0. The Minutemen will seek to get back into the win column when they travel to Pittsburgh to tangle with Duquesne in an Atlantic 10 match on Saturday.

Marshall 4 - Loyola Marymount 1 - The Thundering Herd traveled to the west coast and secured an impressive win over a good LMU team in a somewhat physical contest.

Marshall took control early in the contest when Pedro Dolabella sent a header into the back of the net in the nineteenth minute that was served in by Jonas Westmeyer.  Jamil Roberts made it 2-0 Marshall when he scored in the twenty-second minute with a double assist from Milo Yosef and Dolabella. The Herd continued to roll with Yosef scoring in the twenty-fifth minute after receiving a pass from Roberts to stretch the lead to 3-0. Gaetan Roux pulled one back for LMU when he converted a penalty kick in the sixty-fourth minute to make it 3-1. Yosef added the final score of the evening for Marshall when he scored in the eighty-fourth minute to make it 4-1.

Marshall head coach chris Grassie stated, "It was a really crazy match. A definite game of two halves. We dominated the first half with three goals. Then in the second half, the match became very physical and there were a lot of heavy challenges and restarts we had to deal with. LMU moves the ball well and we had to respond."

Paulo Pita had three saves in goal for Marshall.  Jacob Jackson also had a three save evening in goal for LMU.

Marshall ups their record to 9-1-2 and remains on the west coast where they will tangle with San Diego State out of the Pac-12 on Friday in what could prove to be a difficult matchup for the Herd.  LMU drops to 6-4-3 and will host Portland in a crucial West Coast Conference game on Saturday.   

Rutgers 2 - Hartford 2 (ot) - This one was a tale of two halves with Hartford getting the best of it in the first stanza and Rutgers the second.  Both teams initially had trouble settling into a rhythm but that changed in Hartford's favor in the thirty-fourth minute when sophomore midfielder Tomer Drimmer sent a bullet into the left corner after receiving a cross from Jovante Etienne to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.  The two teams went into intermission with Harford up 1-0. The Hawks came out of gate strong in the second half with a Connor Aksoz goal set up by a cross from Etienne to make it 2-0. The second goal appeared to be a wakeup call of sorts for Rutgers with Pablo Avila scoring in the forty-seventh minute for Rutgers and Jackson Temple in the sixty-seventy minute with an assist from Anthony O'Donnell to knot the score at 2-2 and conclude the scoring for the evening.  

Hartford extended their unbeaten streak to eleven games and is now  7-2-4. The Hawks will host Vermont on Saturday in what shapes up to be a challenging America East contest.  Rutgers is  7-3-3 and will travel to face Northwestern on Sunday in a Big Ten Conference contest that both teams need to win in order to get  back on track. Rutgers and Northwestern are both 1-3-1 in conference play.

NC State 0 - South Carolina 0 (ot) - This one took place at Stone Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.  The visiting Wolfpack had a fifteen to five advantage in shots over the Gamecocks but after 110 minute of play the score remained 0 to 0. Both teams had opportunities to score but defense ruled in this non-conference match.  Vinnie Durand had one save in goal for NC State. Nick Brady had six saves between the pipes for South Carolina.

South Carolina head coach Mark Berson stated, "It was a tough, gritty effort for our guys. The guys were well organized, had a good plan and they stuck to it. We had a couple decent chances. Obviously, they're a good team and they got their chances. But I think this gives a lot to build on going forward as we head into a big conference match this weekend."

NC State is 7-3-2 and will tangle with Duke in Durham on Friday in an ACC match. South Carolina is now  5-6-2 and will host FAU on Sunday in a CUSA game.   

Elon 3 - Duke 2 - Duke's Daniele Proch scored out of a counter attack in the sixty-fifth minute and sent a volley into the net in the eighty-third minute but it was not enough to top a determined Elon side that gained momentum and confidence when Burl Shepherd created a turnover and sent a blast into the left corner of the frame from inside the box in the thirty-ninth minute of play to go up 1-0.

Elon went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.  Proch then scored for Duke to tie it at 1-1.  Inigo Bronte responded for Elon when he converted a penalty kick in the seventy-fifth minute of the match to regain the lead at 2-1. Proch then scored for Duke to knot the match at 2-2.

It looked like this one was going to go into overtime until freshman midfielder Vemund Hole Vik made an athletic move to flick a ball served in out of a free kick by teammate Kasper Lehm into the net with two minutes remaining in regulation to give Elon a huge and surprising 3-2 win.

Peter Wentzel had two saves in goal for Elon. Will Pulisic had a five save evening in goal for the Blue Devils.

Elon improves to 5-7-1 and will host Northeastern in CAA play on Saturday.  Duke drops to 6-5-1 and will seek to reorganize and halt a two game losing streak when they host a very good NC State team on Friday in an ACC contest.

Penn State 3 - Pittsburgh 1 - Penn State gains momentum with a solid win over a very competitive Pitt team.  Pitt pressed the attack in the early going but was unable to penetrate the Penn State defense. The momentum shifted to the Nittany Lions when Callum Pritchatt was fouled in the box and senior midfielder Aaron Molloy converted a penalty kick in the thirty-seventh minute. The score remained 1-0 at halftime.  Penn State took charge with Liam Butts and Jalen Watson scoring within a two and a half minute span at the start of the second half.  Bryce Washington netted the lone goal for Pitt with an assist from Veljko Petkovic in the eighty-fourth minute.

Penn State coach Jeff Cook stated, "This is an important victory for us this season. I'm impressed with how the players handled themselves. Pitt's an outstanding program in the ACC so we knew this game had a lot of meaning in terms of not only the in-state rivalry but also postseason implications."

The Nittany Lions improve to 7-2-2 and will travel to face Wisconsin on Saturday in a Big Ten Conference game. Pitt is now 6-5-2. Things don't get any easy for the Panthers who travel to Charlottesville on Friday to take on number one ranked Virginia in ACC play.

Louisville 1 - Northern Kentucky 0 (ot) - This one was much closer than expected and was scoreless at the end of regulation. Emil Elveroth scored the game-winner for Louisville in overtime when he sent the rebound of teammate Izaiah Jennings' missed shot into the bottom left corner of the net. Louisville pressed the attack and controlled the run of play for most of the game with a twenty to four advantage in shots for the evening. Jake Gelnovatch had one save in goal for Louisville. Baj Maan had nine saves for Northern Kentucky.

Northern Kentucky head coach Stu Riddle stated, "I couldn't have asked for anything more from the lads tonight. They battled hard and gave absolutely everything they had and were minutes away from a credible result."

Louisville improves to 6-4-2 and will host Boston College on Friday in a key ACC matchup. Northern Kentucky is now 4-7-1 and will host Green Bay in a Horizon League game on Saturday.  

South Florida 4 - Jacksonville 1 -  It was clear early on that this one was going to be dominated by South Florida. Senior defender Jonathan Rosales' goal in the twelfth minute gave South Florida a 1-0 lead that they took into halftime. Avoinne Flanagan, Henrique Gallina, and Ignasi Lupon Fores scored for the Bulls in the second half. Reggie Nicolas netted the lone goal for Jacksonville in the eighty-first minute.

South Florida head coach Bob Butehorn stated, Overall. I'm really pleased with the guys' performance and how they came together, started fast, put them under pressure and scored great goals.  So for me it was a good day all around for these guys."

South Florida improves to 8-3-0 and now travels to tangle with Temple in Philadelphia in an AAC contest. Jacksonville fell to 4-5-2 and does not return to the pitch until Wednesday. October 23 when they take on South Carolina in Columbia.

Saint Louis 1 - Denver 0 - Sophomore midfielder John Klein's goal in the fifty-eighth minute proved to be the difference in this one.  Kobe Gray had two saves between the pipes for Denver. Patrick Schulte continues to take care of business for Saint Louis between the pipes with a three save evening in goal.

Saint Louis extends its winning streak to six contests to improve to 9-3-0. The Billikens will host Dayton on Saturday in an important Atlantic 10 contest.  Denver drops to 2-8-2 and will face another difficult team when they travel to take on Oral Roberts on Saturday.

Loyola Chicago 3 - UIC 1 - The Ramblers gain momentum with a solid win over a good UIC team. Aidan Megally converted a penalty kick in the twelfth minute to give Loyola Chicago an early 1-0 advantage.  Abdulwahab Bukola got UIC back into the mix when he tied it at 1-1 six minutes later when he controlled a deflection at the top of the box and decisively deposited it inside the far post. Billy Hency responded for Loyola Chicago when he converted a header out of a corner kick in the twenty-third minute to give the Ramblers a 2-1 lead that they took into intermission. Fabian Becera iced the game for the Ramblers in the sixty-third minute when he found the back of the net from eight yards out to conclude the scoring for the evening.

Loyola Chicago head coach Neil Jones stated, "It's always a goal of ours every single season to be the best team in Chicago. There's three other very good teams here in this city that we always battle with in many ways. I'm very pleased with the performance tonight, just very proud of the guys. I thought it was a great team effort both offensively and defensively."

The Ramblers win their fourth consecutive contest to up their record to 8-3-1. Their next match is on Wednesday, October 23 when they travel to Peoria to face Bradley in a key MVC game.  The Flames are now 9-4-0 with Oakland on their upcoming dance card in a Horizon League contest on tape for Saturday.

Princeton 3 - Lehigh 0 - Lehigh fell behind early and could never get into a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. Frankie DeRosa and Danny Hampton scored for Princeton in the first half. Daniel Diaz Bonilla scored via a deflection in the second half to make it 3-0 Princeton.  Princeton junior goalkeeper Jack Roberts had four saves including a stop of  a penalty kick in route to recording the shutout. 

Princeton improves to 7-3-1 and will host Columbia in Ancient Eight play on Saturday. Lehigh falls to 8-4-1 and will seek to regain their rhythm and grit when they travel to face a talented and tough Navy squad on Saturday in a key Patriot League matchup.

Akron 2 - Michigan State 0 - Freshman Will Jackson redirected the rebound of his own missed shot back into the goal to get Akron on the board in the thirty-eighth minute. David Egbo sent a bullet into the upper right corner from thirty yards out in the fifty-seventh minute to seal the win.  Joe Bowles had one save in goal for Akron.  Hunter Morse had three saves in a losing effort for Michigan State.

Can Akron get back on track in MAC play? The Zips are 3-8-1 overall and will seek to gain traction and new life in MAC play when they travel to take on a good Western Michigan team on Sunday . Michigan State is 2-7-3 and will next host Ohio State on Saturday in Big Ten Conference action.

Upset Watch. Key College Soccer Contests On Tap This Weekend Coast To Coast

Upset alert. The potential for upsets exists this weekend in key matchups across the country.  Teams have now settled in and developed a rhythm on both sides of the ball but the grind can take a toll and the margin for error is always small when talented teams face each other.

Virginia (10-0-0) at Boston College (7-2-2) – Friday – This ACC matchup belongs at the top of the potential upset watch list. The number one ranked Cavaliers have been sharp on both sides of the ball but they face a tough challenge when they travel to tangle with a young Boston College team that has matured as the season has progressed. The Eagles are undefeated in their last five contests during which they upset highly regarded Wake Forest 2-1 at home and tied nationally ranked Virginia Tech 2-2 on the road. 

SMU (9-0-1) at South Florida (6-2-0) – Friday – Add this one to the potential upset watch list. SMU comes into this American Athletic Conference contest in Tampa off a high profile and emotional 3-3 tie with Central Florida at home. It is a plus that the Mustangs had the grit to be able to come from two goals down to secure the tie but problematic that they put themselves in that situation.  The Mustangs have a high-powered attack led by forward Garrett McLaughlin (9g, 2a) and defender Eddie Munjoma (6g, 6a) among others that is averaging 3.4 goals per contest and a lock down defense that has been very effective with the exception of the contest with Central Florida.

South Florida’s resume to date includes a 2-0 win at home over Louisville. The Bulls have played well with the exception of a disappointing 2-0 loss at home to Ohio State during which they failed to take advantage of the scoring opportunities that came their way. South Florida has the chance of pulling off the upset if they put together two complete halves of play and finish their scoring opportunities. If they can’t, SMU will take charge of the match and depart Tampa with a win. 

Oregon State (5-4-1) at Washington (10-1-0) – Sunday – Washington returns to the friendly confines of Husky Soccer Stadium after topping Stanford 2-1 and California 1-0 on the road last week. The Huskies are averaging 2.09 goals per game while allowing only .45.  Oregon State comes into this one off a 2-1 loss to California and a 1-1 tie with Stanford.  The Beavers have not had the season to date that many thought they might have but nonetheless they have several players with big play ability who could pose problems for Washington if they get into a grove.  Oregon State has defeated Washington three out of the last five times the teams have faced each other.  

Washington is 5-0-0 at home this year and should extend that streak this weekend if they play to their potential and don’t let up.

St. Mary’s (9-1-0) at Santa Clara (6-3-1) – Saturday – On paper this West Coast Conference matchup should be all St. Mary’s but games are not played on paper. Santa Clara comes into the contest with the momentum that comes with a four-game winning streak that has included three consecutive shutouts.

This one could be interesting if, and that’s a big if, the Bronco defense anchored by freshman goalkeeper Guillem Badenes Mecho and sophomore center back Emil Christensen can contain a very high-powered St. Mary’s attack that is fueled by Anders Engebretsen (9g, 7a), Joseph Restani (7g, 2a) and Jake Rudel (4g, 1a). 

Marshall (8-1-1) at Charlotte (8-0-2) – Saturday – Something has to give in this one. Charlotte has been solid on both sides of the ball and is undefeated after ten games for the first time since the 1991 season. The 49ers are tough to beat in general but even more so when they are playing at home. Marshall is also having a banner season so this one shapes up to be one of the better contests of the weekend. The Herd has won their last four games during which they outscored their opponents fourteen to two. Charlotte and Marshall are both 3-0-0 in CUSA play.  

Michigan (5-2-3) at Indiana (7-1-3) – Sunday - Michigan is undefeated in their past seven games (4-0-3) and is 2-0-2 in Big Ten play.  The Wolverine defense anchored in goal by Andrew Verdi has posted four straight shutouts.  Transfer forward Nebosja Popovic (6g, 3a) has added another dimension to a Michigan offense that already included several very explosive finishers.

Indiana is unbeaten in their last thirty-two home matches at Jerry Yeagley Field which speaks volumes but Michigan has a chance to halt that streak if they are able to successfully apply pressure on the offensive side of the ball while remaining organized defensively.  Indiana’s backline of senior Simon Weaver, redshirt junior A.J. Palazzolo, redshirt freshman Daniel Munie, and sophomore jack Maher will be tested in this one. Ditto that for the Michigan backline of senior Abdou Samake, juniors Austin Swiech, Jackson Ragen and Joel Harrison and freshman Carter Payne. 

Villanova (7-3-1) at St. John’s (10-1-0) – Saturday – The margin for error for both teams is small in this Big East Conference game that will take place in Belson Stadium. Defense has been Villanova’s calling card so far this year. The Wildcats anchored in goal by Carson Williams have allowed only three goals in eleven contests and will come into this one off a 1-0 win over a very good James Madison team. Nine of Villanova’s eleven games so far this year have been 1-0 contests. All three of their losses were 1-0 games. The Wildcats opened the year with a 5-0 win over Delaware but have only scored a total of six goals in their next ten matches. St. John’s has a balanced offense led by Tani Oluwaseyi (7g, 1a) that has produced a total of twenty-four goals and a stout defense that has allowed only five.

Chances are pretty good that this one will be decided by a single goal. Lapses in play on the defensive side of the ball will be costly.  

FIU (8-0-3) at Kentucky (6-1-3) – Sunday - This is among the more intriguing matchups of the weekend. Both teams are very good but question marks exist regarding just how good.  Both teams have talented finishers who are capable of taking over a game. This one will come down to which team gets into a rhythm and puts in a solid ninety minutes of play. Look for the play in goal of Daniel Gagliardi for FIU and Enrique Facusse for Kentucky to play a key role in the outcome. FIU is 3-0-0 in CUSA play while Kentucky is 1-0-1. Kentucky comes into this game after a scoreless tie on the road Wednesday night against Indiana. FIU squandered a two goal lead against in-state foe FGCU on the road on Tuesday night but rallied to prevail 3-2 in overtime.

Virginia Tech (6-2-2) at Pitt (5-4-2) – Friday - Virginia Tech is experienced and battle tested. Pitt is still a work in progress but a dangerous work in progress to face. Edward Kizza (7g, 2a) is at the heart of Pitt’s attack. Kristo Strickler (8g, 3a) is the main man in Virginia Tech’s offense.  Both are capable of taking over the contest.  The Hokies come into this one off a scoreless tie on the road with Clemson.  Pitt comes into the match off a 6-0 win over Howard. This ACC contest is up for grabs.

UC Santa Barbara (8-2-2) at CS Fullerton (8-3-1) – Saturday – This is a momentum building game. UCSB has momentum. CS Fullerton is trying to regain it.  The Gauchos are undefeated in their last nine straight games. CS Fullerton needs a win in this Big West Conference contest to get back on track and halt a free fall. Last weekend the Titans were topped 1-0 by James Madison and 2-1 by Maryland on the road and they opened Big West play on Wednesday night with a 1-0 loss on the road to CSUN.  Junior forward Christian Pinzon (5g, 7a) and redshirt senior midfielder Oscar Flores (5g, 3a) power the CS Fullerton attack while senior Paul-Andre Guerin anchors a defense that has allowed a total of only ten goals in twelve contests. 

A hot UC Santa Barbara team began Big West play on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Sacramento State. A win over CS Fullerton would clearly signal that the Gauchos are back. UCSB is undefeated in their last nine games including a 3-3 tie with Stanford and a 2-2 tie with San Diego. Junior Rodney Michael (2g, 3a) is the catalyst on the offensive side of the ball for the Gauchos along with forward Will Baynham (4g, 5a) and freshman midfielder Finn Ballard McBride (4g, 2a).  Ben Roach anchors the UCSB defense in goal. This one is going to come down to the play on the defensive side of the ball.

Louisville (5-3-2) at Clemson (9-1-1) – Friday – This one will come down to whether or not Louisville can contain a high powered multi-dimensional Clemson attack. Clemson is coming off a 0-0 tie in which Virginia Tech was able to keep the Tiger offense in check. Louisville is coming off a 2-0 loss on the road to number one ranked Virginia.  Louisville has been up and down with impressive wins over Virginia Tech 2-1 and Georgetown 1-0 as well as unexpected losses to South Florida 2-0 on the road and NC State 2-1 at home. 

It would be a mistake to look past Louisville but if both teams play to their potential Clemson should come out on top in this ACC match. 

Wake Forest (9-2-0) at North Carolina State (7-2-1) – Friday – This is the strongest and deepest NC State team that George Kiefer has put on the pitch to date in his tenure in Raleigh. The Pack has ACC wins over Boston College, Louisville on the road, and Notre Dame and a loss to Virginia. Wake Forest is also 3-1-0 in ACC play with wins over Pitt, Syracuse and Clemson and a loss to Boston College. The winner of this one will have to put in a full ninety minutes of play.

Give Wake Forest and their offense the edge but if they fail to bring their “A” game on both sides of the ball the Wolfpack is talented and experienced and tough enough to pull off the upset.

Dartmouth (4-4-1) at Yale (6-0-2) – Saturday – Yale began Ivy League play last week with a 3-1 win over Harvard in which they had a twenty-three to nine advantage in shots. The Bulldogs are off to a great start but the level of competition picks up a click this week when Dartmouth comes to town on Saturday. The Big Green has not been as strong on the defensive side of the ball this year as they have in the past. Regardless, it remains to be seen whether the Yale attack led by senior midfielder Miguel Yuste (5g, 2a) and junior playmaker Mark Winhoffer (2g, 8a) can dent the Dartmouth defense. Dartmouth is also 1-0-0 in Ancient Eight play with a 1-0 win over Princeton.

Look for the margin of victory in this one to be a single goal.

Georgia State (6-1-3) at Georgia Southern (5-5-1) – Saturday – This Sun Belt Conference battle will take place in Atlanta. Georgia State goes into this rivalry match with Georgia Southern off a disappointing 3-1 loss to Lipscomb in which they were unable to get their offense in gear and allowed their opponent to place three in the back of the net for the first time this year. Georgia Southern is having what might best be described as a roller coaster season with highs and lows and will come into the contest off a 3-2 win over Wofford and a 1-1 tie with South Carolina in which the Gamecocks scored to tie the match in the final minute of regulation.

The big question in this one is whether or not Georgia Southern can contain Georgia State’s offense led by forward Aris Briggs (9g, 1a).  If they can then this one may go down to the wire.  If not, Georgia State should prevail.