While the looming threat of Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation of Florida and Florida State’s Friday night clash, big games are already in the book heading into a new weekend of women’s DI action.
No. 1 UCLA held its nerve against Virginia, edging an entertaining 2-1 encounter at Klockner Stadium on Thursday night. Ashley Sanchez provided the opener for the Bruins, and setup MacKenzie Cerda for the winning goal, after Taylor Ziemer’s free kick tied the game in the first half.
Keep an eye on these five matches over the weekend.
Friday, Sept. 8
While early season success comes as no surprise for the Gamecocks, Clemson has shown no signs of slowing down despite losing significant talent from last season’s roster. The schedule hasn’t been the most arduous, it’s worth noting, as the visit of South Carolina is far and away the most difficult challenge to date. Sandy McIvor’s been very solid in goal, replacing the departed Kailen Sheridan, and holdovers Sam Staab and Julie Macklin providing consistency. The Gamecocks endured a blip during a trip to Wake Forest in August, but have recovered nicely, winning three straight. That includes wins last weekend over Notre Dame and Michigan, perfect primers for this rivalry clash. Savannah McCaskill will look to keep producing despite plenty of defensive attention, as her three goals and four assists lead the Gamecocks.
Since an opening day loss against North Carolina, Duke has rattled off five straight wins and have plenty of momentum heading into a trip up to Morgantown. West Virginia is riding high, defeating Penn State last weekend on home turf. This will be the third meeting between the two sides in the past 27 games, and four since 2013. WVU holds the edge, 2-1-1 in that quartet of matches. Goalkeeper Rylee Foster’s provided stability in goal once again, while Michaela Abam continues to be a force up front for the Mountaineers. Duke certainly has the weapons to match, at both ends of the field. Senior Imani Dorsey has scored five goals in five straight games, continuing to lead a stacked Duke attack that also includes Kayla McCoy, Taylor Racioppi and Ella Stevens.
With a strong start under its belt, Ohio State can claim a win against an ACC program when Notre Dame arrives in Columbus on Friday night. Goalkeeper Devon Kerr’s been a bright spot to the team’s impressive record, with shutouts in three of her five appearances. The Irish have been inconsistent by their standards, and Jennifer Westendorf and Natalie Jacobs will look to make things happen against the Buckeyes.
Sunday, Sept. 10
The Scarlet Knights head to the D.C. area for a pair of games this weekend, looking to maintain an early winning streak. The Big Ten side haven’t had the most arduous schedule, but nevertheless it’s decent to have outscored opponents 18-0 over the first five games of the season. By far the trip to Georgetown is the most difficult challenge to date, as the Hoyas are as dangerous as usual despite a couple of early losses against difficult opponents (Stanford, West Virginia). Rachel Corboz leads the way again, with three goals and three assists so far.
Both teams were in action on Thursday night, as the Nittany Lions seek a second straight big win during Sunday’s trip to Klockner. Penn State showcased its defensive prowess against the Tar Heels on Thursday, and continue to look like one of the nation’s best sides despite last weekend’s loss. Marissa Sheva’s hot start leads the team in the final third with four goals. Virginia on the other hand, is looking to avoid a third loss in four games after dropping a close, 2-1 encounter against UCLA. The Cavaliers looked decent enough against the Bruin at times, certainly creating some chances that they were unable to finish. A crisper performance in the final third for UVA could certainly open up a chance to come away with a win in this one.