Another weekend of Division II soccer is in the books, as teams crawl through the initial portion of their schedules and toward conference play. In some cases, league action is already well underway.
The top-ranked Lynn men drew their only game last week to remain unbeaten, while the No. 1 West Florida Argos snagged a win and a draw to keep from losing this season. In addition, West Florida's 2-1 road win over No. 16 Rollins was the 400th of coach Joe Bartlinski's career. In 25 years of coaching, Bartlinski is 195-30-5, and he's 205-27-15 over his 13 seasons at the reins of West Florida.
Here are some other compelling story lines from top-10 men's and women's action last week's action.
Simon Fraser men charging hard
While Lynn continues to hold serve atop the men's national rankings, Simon Fraser is knocking hard on the door. The No. 2 Clan crushed Trinity Lutheran 9-0 on Saturday to put a massive bow on the nonconference portion of their schedule. Strapping striker Carlo Basso scored a penalty in the opening minute to open his account for the season, and they scored six goals in the last 20 minutes to put it to bed.
The Clan are aiming to become the first Canadian outfit to ever win the NCAA Division II national title in soccer. With a 4-0 record and 17-5 goal differential, Simon Fraser is brimming with optimism headed into the start of its Great Northwest Athletic Conference slate at Montana State-Billings on Thursday.
No. 2 Grand Valley State women grand early in the season
You have to hand it to Grand Valley State - the Lakers don't duck tough fixtures. Seven days after facing down No. 13 Columbus State on the road, No. 2 Grand Valley State hosted No. 4 Minnesota State for its home opener. And for the second straight contest, the Lakers came out 2-0 winners following an impressively dominant display. In the fourth minute, Charlie Socia cleaned up a saved shot from Shelby Humphries for an early 1-0 edge, and freshman Kendra Stauffer scored her first career college goal in the 70th minute to double the tally.
With a 2-0-1 record over their first three, the Lakers are heavy favorites to take home the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title this season. The Lakers, who will play the rest of the month on the road, open conference play Friday against Ashland.
The biggest upset of the weekend went down Saturday night in St. Augustine, Fla., where unranked Francis Marion chopped down then-No. 4 Flagler 3-1 in the Peach Belt Conference opener for both teams. After winning the previous four meetings against Francis Marion, Flagler laid an egg at an unfortunate time. Not only did it get the Saints off to a rocky start in conference play, but it also dropped them to .500 on the season at 2-2-0.
Francis Marion (2-0-1) hopped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 30 minutes, and while Flagler cut it down to 2-1 on a Marco Warren goal in the 55th minute, Francis Marion's Cody Farrier sealed it with an insurance goal in the 73rd minute.
Indiana (Pa.) women strike down No. 8 Slippery Rock
Francis Marion wasn't the only program to score a important upset to kick off conference play last week. That distinction also belonged to Pennsylvania program Indiana, which road-tripped to Slippery Rock to really get the ball rolling on Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference action. And it was an occasion to remember for the visitors.
Behind a 14th-minute tally from Tonya Fabian, Indiana put together a steely performance at the back to escape with an enormous conference win. The salvo not only dealt Slippery Rock its first setback of the season, but it put Indiana in poll position in the PSAC. With conference wins over Pitt-Johnstown, Seton Hill and now Slippery Rock, Indiana (4-1-0) is in solid position headed into the teeth of conference play. And the Crimson Hawks got this week started with a 2-1 nonconference win over West Virginia Wesleyan on Monday.