Regular season campaigns have come to an end for the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and a number of other conferences.
The postseason tournament phase has begun for a number of leagues, while stakes remain high for a number of programs still in the hunt.
Keep an eye on these four storylines in the Division I women’s soccer weekend. All times listed as EST.
The Lions have sent notice to the rest of the Ivy League with a 4-0 start to the season. That was thrown off track last weekend, as Columbia could only muster a scoreless draw against Dartmouth. While they still control their own destiny in the standings, Harvard is two points behind Columbia heading into the penultimate game of the season.
Both teams are set to square off next weekend, which means Columbia will want to at least secure a draw and keep things level with the Crimson, should Harvard manage to get full points against Dartmouth this weekend. Columbia is on the road against Yale, and needs to find a way to get a result and keep the pressure off.
Big Ten tournament kicks off
After Wednesday’s final day of the regular season saw three programs share the Big Ten regular season title, Sunday marks the start of the 2016 conference tournament as eight sides chase hardware.
Penn State, Minnesota and Northwestern earned a share of the crown this week, and would be considered slightly ahead of the five other sides. However, it’s a knockout competition where anything can happen, and Sunday’s matchups should provide compelling viewing.
There’s a College Cup rematch (Penn State hosts Rutgers), Wisconsin seeking to keep at-large bid hopes alive, Northwestern’s suffocating defense at home against Nebraska and the high-powered Gophers seeking momentum at the right time of the season.
All four games are worth noting, particularly with one eye on the NCAA Tournament.
Can Colorado keep pace?
As the Pac-12 season winds to its close (two games are left, including next Friday’s action), Stanford continues to prove its caliber and class. A 4-0 win against Arizona kept the Cardinal up at the top heading into Sunday’s meeting with Arizona State. Surprise outfit Colorado match Stanford’s result when it beat UCLA at home on Thursday by a 1-0 score, and the Buffaloes will look to do the same against USC.
It would take a huge slip-up from Stanford to fall at the hands of Arizona State, meaning Colorado needs to head back out there on Sunday and pick up a win against the Women of Trophy, far from an easy task.
Pepperdine can clinch
While BYU has produced some of the most entertaining, attacking soccer of the 2016 season, the Cougars don’t control their own destiny when it comes to the West Coast Conference race.
That distinction belongs to Pepperdine, as the Waves have produced a sterling bounce back campaign from last year’s sub .500 finish, needing a win in Sunday’s game against Loyola Marymount in Malibu to sew up a spot in the NCAA Tournament. A tough back line anchored by senior goalkeeper Hannah Seabert has been the linchpin of this season’s accomplishment, as senior Rylee Baisden’s provided most of the scoring output.
Beating Loyola Marymount is going to be no easy feat, as LMU remains four points behind Pepperdine, and a win for the visitors would crack open the possibilities heading into next Saturday’s finale.
With BYU playing on Saturday night at Pacific, Pepperdine will know what it needs to do to ease the pressure, as even a draw would keep the Waves in control of their future.