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Men’s college soccer preview: Big East bash

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: October 25, 2012

Title Deciders:

While one side of the conference is set – #17 Louisville locking up the Red Division title last weekend – the battle for the Big East Blue Division title will be determined on Saturday.

With four teams in the top 10 national rankings across just about every major collegiate poll, Marquette, Connecticut, Georgetown and Notre Dame are set to duke it out this weekend all hoping to claim the top spot in the division, or at the very least, a first round bye in the conference tournament.

Because West Virginia left the conference, it left a hole in the schedule for the Blue Division, meaning teams pair off against each other and play each other twice over this final week of the regular season.

xavier college soccer luke spencerXavier senior
Luke Spencer

That means Marquette takes on Notre Dame twice, Georgetown faces Seton Hall and Connecticut left with Providence all with games on Wednesday and Saturday this week.

In the Wednesday matches, UConn slipped up against the Friars (losing 1-0), while the Hoyas took care of business against Seton Hall (winning 2-0) and the Irish beat the Golden Eagles 3-1. That means it's all very confusing heading into Saturday, with all four teams equal on 15 points and everything left to play for.

Regular season title in sight for #1 Maryland:

Thanks to last weekend’s 1-0 defeat of North Carolina, #1 Maryland is on the brink of securing the regular season ACC title, and the conference tournament top seed that comes with it.

Two ACC games remain for Sasho Cirovski’s side, and they close out their regular season home schedule hosting Clemson on Saturday evening. Only a point is required for the Terps in this one in order to put themselves out of reach of the Tar Heels.

The #3 ranked Heels will hope for a Maryland slip up and need to take care of business on the road against NC State.

Washington and UCLA clash:

Officially, this weekend’s meeting of #6 UCLA and #21 Washington won’t decide the Pac 12 race. But if the Huskies want to claim the regular season title (remember that the Pac 12 doesn’t have a conference tournament) a win this weekend in Seattle is a must.

After a draw against California last week, Washington currently holds a five point lead on the Bruins, although the Huskeis have played twice more – so three points either way here, when the two sides square off on Sunday, would go a very long way in deciding the conference race.

Before meeting up with the Huskies, however, UCLA has to take care of business against Oregon State on Friday evening. A loss or tie for the Bruins against the Beavers would ease the pressure on Washington going into Sunday’s game.

Three-horse Big Ten race:

As of right now, three teams are currently in the mix for the Big Ten race, with Penn State, Indiana and Northwestern the three sides in the mix (Michigan just on the outside of the race looking in).

That makes this weekend’s conference matchups all the more important. #13 Indiana meets up with Michigan State, Penn State closes out their conference schedule with a game against Ohio State and the Wildcats take on Wisconsin.

Top ranked Atlantic 10 sides meet up:

The race for the top seed in the Atlantic 10 is also writing another chapter this weekend.

#16 Xavier travels to Virginia, putting their undefeated mark on the line against #31 VCU in Richmond. The #23 Saint Louis Bilikens also face a tasty matchup, against #24 Charlotte.

Both those games are scheduled for Friday, while on Sunday VCU hosts Dayton, Xavier takes on Richmond and Saint Louis hosts George Washington as the programs navigate through the challenging Friday-Sunday.

 
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