Men's Weekend Preview: Big game in CUSA

by Travis Clark
September 23, 2021
Men's Weekend Preview: Big game in CUSA

The men's Division I season continues this weekend, with conference action dominating most of the action.

Don't miss these give games (all kick off times listed EST).

Friday, September 24

Xavier (6-2) at No. 24 Providence (5-1-1), 7 p.m. (Flo Sports)

After winning on the road at Seton Hall last week, the Friars open the home Big East slate with a visit from Xavier. Providence has scored three goals in the past three games, a three-game winning streak. Sophomore forward Brendan McSorley and graduate student Davis Smith have been a big part of that, combining for eight of the team’s goals so far. Xavier’s strength has been at the back, as a defense led by Jansen Miller has three shutouts and conceded just four goals. Keeping pace with Providence could be the key here, and Xavier forward Karsen Henderlong will need to have a big game.

No. 3 Washington (6-0) at Portland (5-3), 10 p.m. (wccsports.com)

There’s potential here for a good crowd and a quality game when the Huskies travel south to face the Pilots on the bluff. A 1-0 loss on Monday against CSUN snapped a three-game winning streak for Portland, playing more than an hour down a man. Finding the right attacking combination against a tough and talented Washington team will be key here, as Portland has scored just nine times in eight games. Sebastian Nava’s college career is off to a bright spot, as he’s scored three of those goals. It’s been six wins in six games for head coach Jamie Clark, which remains effective with an all-hands-on deck approach to scoring – 10 players have scored the team’s 15 goals – and a suffocating defense that has given up only three goals in the first six games. The Huskies will be favorites here, but a big performance in front of a home crowd could certainly set the table for a Portland upset.

Saturday, September 25

No. 22 Pittsburgh (4-3) at No. 2 Clemson (7-1), 7 p.m. (ACC Digital Network)

It’s quite difficult to figure out what to make of Pitt’s season. Carrying essentially the same roster as the spring, the Panthers have already lost three times. While losing to the likes of Akron and Wake Forest aren’t huge surprises, a 4-0 defeat of a good North Carolina team shows what they are capable of. Goalkeeper Nico Campuzano can certainly clean up a couple of errors that have led to goals this season, while the keys offensively remain on unlocking Veljko Petkovic and Valentin Noel. Clemson is also coming into this game off a loss, although it was a 3-1 non-conference defeat at the hand of UNC Greensboro. These two sides were the cream of the crop last year in the ACC, and both will look to prove that once again in the 2021 season.

No. 9 Duke (5-1) at Syracuse (4-3-1), 7 p.m. (ACC Digital Network)

With 19 goals scored and 11 against, Syracuse has the potential to entertain every time they step on the field. Duke makes the trip to upstate New York, and while they may not have huge firepower, they come into town riding back-to-back ACC wins. Rather, the strength has been at the back, conceding just one goal in the first six games of the season. That potentially throws cold water on the suggestion that there could be multiple goals in this matchup, but if DeAndre Kerr is in the lineup for the Orange, he has the ability to certainly change the game. The emphasis for Duke offensively has been on the team, with 10 players combining for the team’s 12 goals. Regardless of how much offense is involved this one, the stakes are high for the ACC race in this one.

No. 17 Kentucky (5-0-1) at No. 8 Marshall (4-1-2), 6 p.m. (ESPN+)

Both sides have played one Conference USA game prior to this one, with both drawing against Coastal Carolina. Since then, Kentucky has spun off five straight wins, including wins against ACC opponents Louisville and Notre Dame. A strong defense has been bolstered by just enough scoring, and a deep roster that’s seen 20 players take the field. Beating Marshall in Huntington will be no small feat, as the Thundering Herd have underlined their status as a premier program in the country. Their ability to keep the ball and create danger when needed is impressive, and they’ll look for more of the same here on Saturday.

Image Credit: Grace Bradley

 
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