Regular season races are coming down to the wire in a handful of conferences around the nation.
Keep an eye on these five games over the next few days of the women’s soccer season.
Friday, Oct. 20
The door is starting to crack open for Penn State to secure another Big Ten regular season title. However, the Buckeyes still control their own destiny heading into the final two games of the season. This is a key away trip, as Ohio State can win the Big Ten title outright with two more wins. Obviously toppling a good Minnesota team at their place is easier said than done. Getting Sammy Edwards on track is crucial for OSU, while Sydney Squires and April Bockin have emerged as offensive weapons for the Gophers, and can certainly bring the goals for the host side.
Saturday, Oct. 21
Despite a poor non-conference record, San Diego has a real chance to spin the 2017 season into some real positive when WCC leaders Pepperdine visit. After winning on Thursday night against Loyola Marymount, San Diego’s outside shot at a WCC crown remains alive though they need a win over the Waves to creep any closer. Junior Summer Mason will need to continue to make things happen in front of goal in order for host side to have a chance. Whatever happens, thanks to the Northern California wildfires, San Diego will be tested with four games in 10 days. On the other side, the Waves can seize control in the WCC and look to stay perfect in conference play after beating BYU on Thursday.
Tournament spots are almost all spoken for in the Patriot League, although the race for regular season supremacy is still worth watching for. Two more rounds of games are set to take place, this Saturday and next weekend. Navy and Colgate, the two unbeaten sides in the league, are set to duke it out in Hamilton. It’s something a must wide for the home side, as Colgate wraps up the regular season schedule next week with Boston University, the third team still in the mix.
Sunday, Oct. 22
What better way to boost a program’s at-large hopes than two wins against Top 10 RPI opponents in back-to-back games? That’s the opportunity sitting in front of Vanderbilt, after a Thursday night win at home against Tennessee. Hitting the road and getting three points in College Station is a big ask, of course. The Aggies have solidified their defense, conceding just 10 goals on the year, and have an impressive 6-1-1 record at home. Mikaela Harvey’s enjoyed a bounce back season, though Stephanie Malherbe’s the anchor of the team’s spine. Simone Charley provides the athletic outlet up front for Vanderbilt, who will need to deliver a second straight high-level performance to win this matchup.
The Big East regular season race comes down to Georgetown’s trip to Indianapolis. A win for the road side clinches the crown for the Hoyas, a draw leaves it for the last day, and a Butler victory would give them the edge – but not clinch – heading into the final day of play. Paige Monaghan’s stepped up into a big role as a junior, scoring seven goals and adding five assists to lead the home side. While often a prolific program in front of goal, Georgetown’s strength has been at the back this year, conceding only seven times in 16 games. Goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman has 12 shutouts on the season. Interestingly, Butler actually is better statistically at the back; they’ve given up just three goals all year, though against a much easier non-conference schedule. Success has come defensively while splitting time in goal as well, with Hannah Luedtke and Leonie Doege each logging more than 700 minutes each this season. Don’t be surprised if this ends up 0-0 and the Big East race coming down to the last day of play.