The penultimate week of non-conference play turned out to be a down week for the Pac-12, with a few teams suffering their first losses, including Stanford, but there were still plenty of bright spots around the Conference of Champions.
Here is a recap of the week that was.
Only three unbeaten teams remain in the Pac-12, and two of them are Oregon State and Cal, who finished last and second-to-last in the conference last season, respectively. To say that they have turned things around would be a massive understatement.
Oregon State went to Texas and picked up road wins over Houston and Rice. Brianna McReynolds had a hat trick and Mckenzie Weinert had a brace in the 5-0 win over the Cougars.
Rice proved to be a much tougher challenger, and McReynolds capped a brilliant weekend by netting the golden goal in the 98th minute to lead the Beavers to a 2-1 victory.
At 7-0, Oregon State is off to their best start in program history. And just think that it was just last year when they only won two games. First-year coach Matt Kagan has worked miracles in Corvallis.
Also 7-0 is Cal, who swept UC Irvine and Santa Clara this past weekend. With Arizona conceding four goals against Santa Clara, Cal entered Sunday’s match vs. the Broncos as the only team in the country to post nothing but clean sheets.
Santa Clara snapped that streak, but the Bears still prevailed in a 2-1 victory. Natalie Houston collected a rebound off the post and skipped an angled shot past multiple defenders for the game-winner in the 78th minute—her first career goal.
Emma Westin, who scored earlier in the match, was credited with the assist. The junior is tied for fourth in the Pac-12 in points (15). Cal will try to stay perfect in non-conference play Sunday when they host Portland.
Santa Clara hands Arizona first loss
The Wildcats entered the week as one of two teams in the country yet to concede a goal, but that streak—and their four-game winning streak—came to an end Friday in a 4-0 loss to Santa Clara.
It was Arizona’s largest margin of defeat since 2016.
The Wildcats responded Sunday with a 1-0 win over San Jose State. Jill Aguilera netted a rocket from the right side of the box in the 30th minute.
UA goalkeepers have only been forced to make eight saves this season, the fewest in the Pac-12. Sophomore Kendyll Humphreys, who did not play vs. Santa Clara, is the only starter in the conference yet to concede a goal. She has been splitting playing time with freshman Hope Hisey.
The Wildcats are 5-1 heading into their non-conference finale against Big 12 power TCU.
Stanford stunned by Pepperdine
Pepperdine scored early on a corner kick and held on to beat Stanford 1-0, despite a 22-3 shot differential.
The Cardinal outshot the Gauchos 23-1. Their usually-high-powered offense will try to regain its stride Sunday against Santa Clara.
The Trojans needed overtime to dispatch Seattle University, as Arlie Jones knocked in a rebound in the 93rd minute to lead them to a 3-2 road victory.
The Trojans led 2-1 at the half, but the Redhawks notched the equalizer in the 84th minute.
Tara McKeown had two more assists. She is second in the Pac-12 in points (19), four behind Macario.
USC’s 7-0 start is the best in program history. The Trojans cap non-conference play Friday with a road game at Baylor.
Back in Los Angeles, the Canadian connection of Kennedy Faulknor and Jessie Fleming led UCLA to a 1-0 victory over Wisconsin. Faulknor collected a pass from Fleming atop the box and rifled a shot past the diving Badgers keeper in the 50th minute.
Teagan Micah turned away a season-high five shots to pick up her fourth clean sheet. The Bruins finish non-conference play with a trip to Honolulu, where they will face Hawaii and Pepperdine.
WSU splits Cougar Classic
Washington State was on the winning and losing end of a pair of 2-1 matches last weekend. Michigan handed the Cougars their first loss of the season by scoring two goals in the first four minutes of the match before withstanding a late surge by WSU.
Morgan Weaver headed in a throw-in in the 71st minute to bring WSU within one, but that would be all the offense the Cougars could muster, despite lacing 23 shots, 13 of which were on frame.
Weaver kicked things off Sunday in a win over Loyola Marymount by dribbling a shot in.side the far post after collecting a flick-on from Elyse Bennett just three minutes into the match.
LMU tied it shortly after, but Bennett scored the game-winner in the 21st minute, heading in a long free kick by Hanna Goff.
WSU will join UCLA in Honolulu next weekend with matches against Hawaii and Pepperdine. Prior to the loss to Michigan, the Cougars owned the nation’s longest non-conference winning streak (11 games).
Oregon draws Portland
The Ducks extended their unbeaten streak to five games with a 2-2 tie against Portland. Oregon led 1-0 and 2-1, but surrendered a 71st-minute goal to settle for a draw.
Oregon has allowed the most goals in the Pac-12 this season (13), but has stayed afloat thanks to an offense that is scoring at its best rate since 2001.
Ally Cook and Eden Hardy were the ones who found the back of the net last week. The Ducks host Buffalo on Sunday to complete their non-conference schedule.
Arizona State splits in southeast
A nightmarish second half doomed ASU in a 4-1 loss to Central Florida. The Sun Devils allowed 12 shots and three unanswered goals in the final 45 minutes to pick up their second loss of the season.
They rebounded a couple days later by knocking off LSU in Baton Rouge, thanks to Nicole Douglas’ seventh goal of the season, which is tied with McKeown and Westin for second-most in the Pac-12.
The real highlight was the Sun Devils’ defense, as they held the Tigers without a single shot on goal.
ASU hosts Cal State Bakersfield on Friday to finish non-conference play.
Utah adds another road win
The Utes dispatched Nevada 2-0 in Reno to win pick up their second road win in as many games. Utah held the Wolf Pack to six shots and zero corner kicks. Pac-12 saves leader Carli Nelson added three more to her ledger.
Utah’s 4-3 record might not look like much, but five of those seven games have been on the road, where the Utes are 2-3.
They (finally) return home this weekend when they host Butler and San Diego to complete the non-conference season.
Washington takes down ranked TCU team
UW surrendered two second-half goals in a loss to Texas on Friday, but responded with an impressive 3-1 road victory over No. 17 TCU on Sunday.
It was Washington’s highest offensive output of the season, and it was UW’s seniors who led the charge. Isabella Castro picked up her first multi-assist game, while fellow seniors Summer Yates and Kennedy Smith were responsible for two of the three goals.
At 3-2-2, Washington has the worst record in the Pac-12, which says a lot about the depth of the conference. This is the same team that held two leads against North Carolina and, now, has beaten a ranked TCU squad.
Colorado drops heartbreaker to defending national champs
The Buffaloes nearly became the third Pac-12 team to beat Florida State in this young season, but a pair of penalty kicks sunk CU in Tallahassee.
Taylor Kornieck knocked in a header in the 29th minute to give Colorado an early advantage, but that lead was short-lived as Deyna Castellanos drilled a penalty kick just a few minutes later.
FSU was awarded another PK in the 60th minute, which Jenna Nighswonger netted. Kornieck slotted a PK of her own just five minutes later to knot the game at 2-all. (Yeah, it was that kind of match.)
That remained the score until late in overtime, when Nighswonger scored the golden goal by one-timing a cross from Gabby Carle. It was the only shot in the run of play that CU goalkeeper Jalen Tompkins could not keep out of the net. She finished with nine saves.
The loss moved Colorado to 6-1. They face in-state foes Northern Colorado and Denver to end non-conference play.
Standings through Sunday
Oregon State 7-0
Washington State 5-1
Arizona State 6-2