The Division III season marched through its second week of action, polishing another exciting slate of games with a weekend chock full of solid matchups. While the Messiah men assuredly kept hold of its spot at the top of the rankings with a pair of wins, the top-ranked Falcon women fell hard with losses to Johns Hopkins and William Smith to drop to 2-2-0 on the season. The two-time defending champs will look to rebound this week with games against Mary Washington and Salisbury.
Here's a look at some of the best stories from last week's Division III action across the country.
Ducks fly together
There's no faster riser in the DIII men's game right now than Stevens Institute of Technology. The Ducks opened the season as the nation's No. 13, and they've climbed to No. 3 on the back of a superb 3-0-0 start. They proved the ranking was deserved last week with a 5-0 demolition of NYU-Poly in which they utterly dominated proceedings. As teams grapple for early-season positioning, the Ducks seemingly have a firm purchase on real estate in the nation's top five. In their three wins so far, they've outscored opponents 19-1. Upcoming battles against NYU and The College of New Jersey this week will test the Ducks' mettle.
Undoubtedly the DIII women's matchup of the weekend, Ithaca and Emory staged a top-10 showdown Saturday in New York. Both came into the contest 2-0-0, but Ithaca got goals from underclassmen Kelsey King and Jess Demczar to emerge from the scrape with a 2-0 win over last season's national runner-up. King scored in the 14th minute, and Demczar added the capper in the 42nd. The Bombers shut up shop in the second half, allowing Emory just two shots on goal en route to an early-season signature win. While Emory is sure to tumble in the next rankings after a loss and a draw over the weekend, Ithaca should see its stock shoot through the roof.
Amherst men get it done in OT
In 2012, Amherst's defense gave up just three goals all season, one of the best rates of return in NCAA soccer history. With the most of the nucleus of that defense gone, the eighth-ranked Jeffs knew more of the responsibility would fall to their offense. The attack was up to the challenge, as Amherst swept its opening week of games with a 4-1 win over New England College on Wednesday and a thrilling 2-1 overtime win over Middlebury on Saturday. In the latter contest, Middlebury struck first on a 42nd-minute penalty kick to put Amherst behind. But Greg Singer knotted the game in the 64th minute, and a 94th-minute goal from Nico Pascual-Leone, who assisted on the first, pushed Amherst's start in 2013 to 2-0-0.
Wheaton (Ill.) following Messiah's lead
Messiah isn't the only school with nationally-recognized men's and women's programs. Wheaton entered the weekend with the country's No. 4 men's team and the No. 3 women's team, though only one escaped the weekend unscathed. While the women posted a pair of wins last weekend, the men dropped a 2-1 decision to Hope to lose its first game of the season. The Thunder were victimized by a ninth-minute own goal, and they gave up another to lose the trail back into the game. The women, on the other hand, kept hold of their top three ranking with twin 3-1 results over Carleton and Macalester. Bailey Wysocki scored three goals over the two games, while standout Ally Witt bagged two against Macalester to cement a great weekend.