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Top 5 Matches: Clinching chances

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: October 25, 2019

There’s plenty at stake this weekend, and chances to clinch titles on the line in the women’s Division I games.

Don’t miss these five matches, all on Sunday

Sunday, October 27

No. 17 Virginia Tech (11-3-2, 3-3-2) at No. 2 North Carolina (14-1-1, 7-0-1), 3 p.m. (ESPNU)

After another win on Thursday night against Florida State at home, the Tar Heels are a win away from clinching the regular season ACC crown. Both these teams are competitive and battle hard, and it may not lead to the prettiest soccer at times. The Hokies have Mandy McGlynn in goal to boost their chances of holding on for long stretches, while pushing forward to find the back of the net against the Tar Heels. Kelsey Irwin stepped up to deliver big goals for Virginia Tech in a win this week against Boston College, and someone in the attack needs to come through in Chapel Hill to pull off the upset. UNC’s formula is unlikely to change after rotating through 20 players and getting goals from Ru Mucherera and Brianna Pinto to see off FSU. The latter’s been one of the Tar Heels’ best players this season and will be crucial down the stretch.

No. 8 South Carolina (12-1-2, 6-0-2) at Florida (10-6, 6-2), 3 p.m. (SEC Network)

Stakes are high in the SEC standings, and this game could have implications for both the SEC East race and overall regular season title. Arkansas is a point ahead of the Gamecocks, who need to travel to Florida and come away with the full points. The Gators lost 1-0 at Tennessee on Thursday, but are still on steady ground for an at-large bid with marquee wins against South Florida, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M on their resume. A tight, low-scoring affair seems the likely outcome given South Carolina’s defensive prowess led by Mikayla Krzeczowski and Grace Fisk. If Florida forwards Vanessa Kara, Cassidy Lindley, Deanne Rose or Kouri Peace can cause problems, the hosts could easily claim all three points.

No. 15 Wisconsin (12-2-2, 8-0-1) at Northwestern (5-9-3, 3-5-2), 3 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

Having already clinched a share of the Big Ten title with a 1-0 win on Thursday against Illinois, the Badgers will at least split the crown with Michigan and Rutgers. But a win or draw in Evanston on Sunday would take them to an outright title, something that is sure to be high on Wisconsin’s list. Even a loss or draw here, the Badgers still have a mid-week makeup game on Wednesday versus Ohio State to grab the final point they need. A main driver behind this year’s success has been Dani Rhodes and her ability to score clutch goals. But the defense has certainly played their part, conceding just three goals so far in nine Big Ten matches.

No. 25 Washington (9-4-2, 5-2) at No. 7 USC (12-2-1, 5-2), 4 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)

While Stanford’s grip on the Pac-12 title is closing, both UW and USC will do their best to keep pace when they square off on Sunday in Southern California. The Cardinal do have a six-point gap on both, so it seems unlikely, but it does give this game added luster, especially if Utah can find a way to hang a loss on the Cardinal. Tara McKeown’s stellar junior campaign has been the driving force for the Women of Troy, with plenty of help from sophomore Penelope Hocking. Summer Yates has made a big step forward this season, and her six goals and five assists are both first on the team. But if it’s a high-scoring affair, that surely favors the host team.

No. 24 California (11-3-2, 3-2-2) at Colorado (10-5-1, 2-4-1), 3 p.m. (Pac-12.com)

With at-large hopes unpinning this matchup, the Golden Bears arrive in Boulder looking to cement a return to the NCAA tournament. While nothing is guaranteed here, a win on the road is going to be another accomplishment after defeating Utah on Thursday. The Buffaloes could use one or two more wins in Pac-12 play after losing 4-0 at home to Stanford, and this represents their final home game of the regular season. All that’s left is a two-game swing to the Pacific Northwest against Washington and Washington State, plus a battle with the Utes on Nov. 7. Getting Taylor Kornieck going is critical, but the team’s defense needs to shore up after losing four of the last five games. Bottling up Emma Westin, who leads the Cal attack with nine goals, is a focal point, while solving freshman standout Angelina Anderson, who has lived up to her billing as a freshmen.

Related Topics: Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Pacific 12, SEC
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