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Top 5 Matches to Watch: October 2-4

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: October 1, 2020

What are the best men’s or women’s Division I matches to watch this weekend? Check out our top 5 to watch below.

Friday, October 2

North Carolina(m) (0-0) at Duke(m) (1-1), 7 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)

The Tar Heels have yet to play a competitive match after games were moved around due to positive COVID-19 tests on Clemson. North Carolina brought in a very talented class, but face plenty of question marks and will look to make a positive first impression. A trip to Durham marks their first competitive game of the season, facing a young and inexperienced Blue Devil side. Duke started four freshmen against NC State, while Nick Pariano came off the bench to contribute as well. It could be an exciting match, depending on how things play out considering the young talent that could see the field.

Saturday, October 3

Virginia(m) (0-0) at Virginia Tech(m) (0-0), 6 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)

Both teams are making their competitive debuts in this one, an in-state rivalry that features two teams that will be hunting for a first-place finish in the fall season. There are more questions surrounding Virginia after they lost so much talent, although they have plenty coming back in the form of Andreas Ueland, Colin Shutler and Nathaniel Crofts. Leading the Virginia Tech attack is Kristo Strickler, who has proven himself time and time again as a goal-scorer in the ACC. They have gaps to fill in, but goalkeeper Mathijs Swaneveld has them armed with experience at the back as well.

Pittsburgh(m) (1-0) at Syracuse(m) (0-0), 7 p.m.

The Orange has yet to play a game due to a positive COVID-19 test, and provided everything goes forward, Syracuse welcomes Pitt to upstate New York this weekend. It should be an entertaining match with goals on offer; Bertin Jacquesson and Alexander Dexter are both off to strong starts, and will need to carry that over after Edward Kizza left the program. Syracuse counters with Luther Archimede aiming to make a big splash, while DeAndre Kerr could be an instant impact player as a freshman. Both teams have plenty to work through, and Pitt certainly has the slight upper hand, having already played games against Wake Forest (albeit an exhibition) and Notre Dame on the road.

Sunday, October 4

Texas A&M(w) (1-0-0) at Arkansas(w) (2-0-0), 3 p.m. (SEC Network)

The Razorbacks have plowed through their first two opponents, making easy work of bottom-feeders in the conference. Anna Podojil looks like she’ll take a step forward and continue to establish herself as one of the top striker’s in the country. Doing damage against Texas A&M is going to be much more difficult that it was versus Kentucky. The Aggies, which had last week’s game shut down due to a positive COVID-19 test, could be missing a key player or two depending on the status of the virus. Jimena Lopez is a quality player, although she’ll need someone to get on the end of the chances she creates. No matter what, this match should have some goals.

Clemson(w) (3-1) at Duke(w) (1-1-2), 5 p.m. (ACC Network)

The second of two big matches for the Tigers, they’ll have the chance to reinforce their status as a top team in the conference with a road triumph against Duke. The Blue Devils have been organized and tough to break down, although limited going forward. Sophie Jones can keep the midfield ticking over and is a superb player, though she’ll have to handle with Clemson’s physical approach, as they’ll look to crowd the California native off the ball and force it out wide. Slowing down the wide players like Maliah Morris and Makenna Morris, two of the top chance creators on Clemson, will be a key focus for Duke.

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