The top two teams in the Pac-12 will meet Thursday night for a match with league title implications when No. 16 Southern California visits No. 4 Stanford. The Cardinal, 8-0 in Pac-12 play, host a USC team that has won five consecutive games and is 7-1 in league action.
With a victory, Stanford would claim at least a share of its 10th Pac-12 title in program history. The Cardinal also will be looking for their ninth consecutive victory.
The Trojans have netted 12 unanswered goals and posted three straight shutouts against Pac-12 teams — the only conference squad to do so this season. USC leads the league with a 0.581 goals against average.
Stanford’s defense is no slouch either. The Cardinal has not allowed more than two goals in a match in the past 251 contests (since 2005) and has registered eight shutouts this year.
BACK ON TOP
After shutting out defending NCAA champion Florida State last weekend, Virginia regained its No. 1 ranking Tuesday. The Cavaliers promptly pounced on NC State with a 7-1 victory Wednesday, inching one step closer to the ACC regular season title.
The Cavaliers were led by four first-half goals from senior Makenzy Doniak — the first time aUVa player has ever accomplished the feat. Virginia, already one of the top offensive teams in the nation, raised its scoring average to 3.06 goals per game — third-best in Division I.
Virginia visits Pittsburgh to conclude the regular season Saturday. With a win, the Cavs will lock up the league regular season title and a No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament.
With victories over Tennessee and Texas A&M last week, Mississippi moved up to No. 12 in the latest NSCAA rankings and guaranteed itself at least the No. 3 seed in next weekend’s SEC Tournament. The Rebels (7-3 in SEC play) have won eight of their past nine games and five straight after being picked to finish 10th in the league’s preseason poll. Florida and Missouri are tied for first place, one point ahead of the Rebels, heading into the final weekend of the regular season. The Rebels look to continue their momentum Thursday when they host Vanderbilt for the regular season finale.
Princeton needs just one victory in its final two regular season games to earn at least a share of the Ivy League title and an NCAA automatic bid. The Tigers are three points ahead of Harvard in the league standings and hold the tiebreaker over the Crimson. Princeton has won 10 consecutive games to rebound from a 2-3 start that included a three-game losing streak. The Tigers look to extend the winning streak Saturday when they host Cornell. Princeton is one of six teams in Division I with a perfect conference record, along with Stanford, South Alabama, Murray State, George Washington and Fairleigh Dickinson.
George Washington enters the week on a program-best 11-game winning streak — the longest active win streak in the nation. The Colonials hold sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10 and can secure the top seed in the A-10 Championships with a win or a tie against Rhode Island and Saint Louis this week. GW has shut out its last five opponents and posted a program-record 11 shutouts this season. The Colonials rank 10th in the nation in shutout percentage (0.647) and are led by senior goalkeeper Ellen Conway, who garnered A-10 Co-Player of the Week honors with a career-high seven saves in a double-overtime 1-0 victory over George Mason last Sunday.
Loyola Marymount and San Francisco are locked in a tie for first place in the West Coast Conference standings with two weeks remaining in the regular season. LMU, which swept Portland and Gonzaga last weekend, heads to San Diego Thursday and No. 13 BYU Saturday. The Lions have reached the 11-win mark for the first time since 2009. USF needs just one win to tie a program record of 12 victories that has stood since 1994. The Dons have already clinched their first winning season since 2004 heading into contests against Pacific and Saint Mary’s this weekend. If both teams win out, LMU owns the tiebreaker as the Lions topped the Dons, 2-0, Oct. 11.
Amy Farnum Patronis covers Women's Division I College Soccer for College Soccer News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org