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Men’s Preview: Conference glory awaits

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: October 8, 2015

As the men’s college season heads into the heart of conference play, the weekend schedule enters some monotony. However, there are a handful of games this weekend that are meaningful for different reasons. 

Five Games to Watch

No. 2 North Carolina (9-0-1, 4-0) vs. No. 15 Syracuse (8-2-1, 2-1-1), Oct. 10, 7 p.m. (ET)

There are four undefeated teams left in Division I. North Carolina is the one with the most difficult road to traverse this weekend with a clash against Syracuse on Saturday. The Tar Heels have been magnificent at home this season, but Cuse could be the most difficult challenge they’ve faced in Chapel Hill. The New York ACC program has won five games in a row and is in fine form heading into this big conference clash. 

No. 12 Old Dominion (6-1-1, 2-0-1) vs. No. 20 New Mexico (6-3-1, 0-2), Oct. 10, 7 p.m. 

Old Dominion started a challenging end of the season stretch this week with a home game against New Mexico. Old Dominion takes on FIU, UNC Wilmington, Kentucky, South Florida, South Carolina, and Marshall to close out the 2015 season. With four of those games on the road, the hardest part of the Old Dominion schedule is still to come. This weekend’s tilt will be a massive challenge. New Mexico is eager to get back to its winning ways, which starts with a victory in league play. New Mexico is shorthanded with breakout freshman defender playing with the U.S. U20 Men’s National Team in Germany, but the coaching staff should have the rest of the group ready to go on Saturday. 

No. 13 Georgetown (6-2-2, 2-0) vs. No. 19 Butler (6-1-3, 2-0), Oct. 10, 12 p.m. (ET)

Butler suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday, which took away some of the luster of this club, but it’s still an exciting meeting between two of the top teams in the Big East. Georgetown, after struggling at the start of the season, is looking like a formidable side that could contend for a spot at College Cup. The Hoyas defense has stepped up to the occasion with two consecutive shutouts and only two goals conceded in the last four games. Saturday’s matchup should be a close game. 

No. 3 Stanford (8-1, 1-0) vs. No. 21 Oregon State (7-3, 2-0), Oct. 11, 4 p.m. (PT)

Oregon State remains one of the pleasant surprises of the 2015 season so far, but there is still a long road for the Beavers to go before this could be qualified as a successful season. This weekend’s challenge is road games against California and Stanford. A win in either game would be a massive coup for the Oregon State RPI and for a shot at winning the Pac-12. 

Xavier (7-3, 1-1) vs. Providence (4-4-1, 0-2), Oct. 10, 7 p.m. (ET)

Is it too early to call this a must-win for Providence? The College Cup squad from 2014 is searching for its first win in conference play this season and faces a challenging road game against Xavier to try to get the winning streak started. Xavier is trying to bounce back after dropping a 1-0 result to Georgetown last week at home. 

Three Players to Watch

Nick DePuy, UC Santa Barbara - The matchup between UCSB and Cal State Fullerton would have been featured above except UCSB will be in that section next week when the Gauchos take on Cal Poly. Instead, the highlight for this week is the play of DePuy, who has been on fire for the Gauchos lately. The junior from Southern California has emerged as a consistent scoring threat for Tim Vom Steeg’s side. He will be counted on again this weekend with home games against Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside. 

Tim Kubel, Louisville - The Cardinals are in the midst of a rocky season and need a pick-me-up from their star player. Kubel and the Cardinals take on Clemson on Friday in another challenging ACC game. Breaking through that Clemson defense will be the most difficult part, as the Tigers have not conceded a goal in their last three games. 

Peguy Ngatcha, Wright State - Ngatcha is the leading scorer for Wright State this season with five goals in 10 appearances. Ngatcha and Wright State have a big conference clash on Saturday against Valparaiso. The Wright State quest for a place in the NCAA Tournament would gain a lot of momentum with a win over Valparaiso over the weekend plus it would help in the Horizon League campaign. 

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