Women's Soccer Games of the Week 8/31 - 9/2

Stanford verses Florida State Women's College Soccer

Women’s College Soccer Games of the Week - August 31-September 2

The third weekend of the women’s college soccer season presents some intriguing intersectional matchups and a battle of women’s college soccer royalty between an offensively struggling North Carolina squad and a Notre Dame squad looking to continue on its winning ways after losing to Wisconsin in the opener. There also will be some interesting road tests such as Oklahoma State going into a tough environment at Memphis. Here is a look at some of the best matchups over the course of the Labor Day weekend in women’s college soccer. And the question remains, will the upsets of the first two weekends continue into this weekend showing the growing parity of the sport as more teams challenge to cement their place among the nation’s elite?  


WISCONSIN AT #1 UCLA (10:00 pm, Friday, Drake Stadium, Los Angeles, California)

The UCLA Bruins (3-0-0) come into this matchup with the Badgers riding some impressive momentum as they went on the road to Fresno, which is a very difficult place to play, and knocked off Fresno State, a perennial power in the WAC.  They then got the ball rolling at Drake Stadium last Sunday with an impressive 2-0 victory over a tough Illinois squad buoyed by second half goals from Zakiya Bywaters and Ally Courtnall. Wisconsin is off to its first 3-0-0 start since 2005 and hits the road for the first time this season starting with the matchup against the Bruins. The Badger defense has been rock solid as they have yet to give up a goal and have already knocked off Notre Dame, 1-0 in the home opener in front of 1,136 fans in Madison. The Badgers have had a balanced scoring attack led by Kodee Williams, Paige Adams, and Monica Lam-Feist who each have scored two goals so far in the 2012 season.  This should be a hotly contested game with goals at a premium and set pieces could very well be the difference. If Wisconsin can handle the difficult environment of Drake Stadium, this game could swing their way but the Bruins traditionally are nearly unstoppable in the friendly confines of Drake Stadium when they are rolling on all cylinders.


#9 BOSTON COLLEGE AT #2 STANFORD (7:00 pm Friday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, Palo Alto, California)

This intersectional showdown on Friday will have the Cardinal in some unchartered territory as they will have to respond to losing last Sunday 1-0 to West Virginia, ending a 64 match regular season unbeaten streak. These two teams are very familiar with each other as they have met in the past three NCAA Tournaments with Stanford prevailing in all three contests. The Cardinal so far have not been able to jump out on top of teams and put them away like they did in 2011. They have been able to rally in two of the three matches this season, including an impressive 3-2 come from behind win at Penn State last Friday evening.  Stanford has gotten some balanced scoring from Natalie Griffen, Mariah Nogueira, and Sydney Payne. They have scored two goals each to pace the offensive attack. Boston College rolls into this contest with a 3-0-0 record, and has been impressive offensively in their attack as they have already scored ten goals and notched impressive road wins at UConn by a 4-3 score and knocked off city rival Boston University 3-1 last Sunday. The Eagles have been paced by Kristen Mewis, the senior midfielder who has three assists, and Mackenzie Meehan who has three goals, along with Stephanie McCaffrey, who notched two goals in the victory over Boston University. This match has the feel of a more offensive explosive type of match even though both sides are traditionally strong defensively. The home field advantage should be enough for the Cardinal to get a win but this game could be closer than expected given the skill level of both teams.


#11 NORTH CAROLINA AT #13 NOTRE DAME (1:30 P.M. Sunday, Alumni Stadium, South Bend, Indiana)

This battle of the two most decorated programs in women’s college soccer is surprisingly a little bit under the radar in 2012 as the Tar Heels (0-1-1) come into the weekend not having scored a goal so far in games that count as they were shutout by both Portland and Florida. The shot totals have not been a problem for North Carolina as they have averaged 15.5 shots per game. It’s more of an issue of cranking up the amount of shots on frame and finishing scoring chances as they only have generated ten shots on goal so far in the first two contests. Defensively, the Tar Heels have been rock solid only conceding five shots on goal out of 15 and just two corner kicks. Notre Dame (2-1-0) lost their opener on the road against a tough Wisconsin squad and has recovered nicely knocking off Tulsa and East Carolina. Junior midfielder Elizabeth Tucker leads the Fighting Irish offensively with two goals and has been the most effective player for Notre Dame in getting scoring chances with nine shots on goal out of 11 so far this season. Since the Fighting Irish are playing at home, they won’t be intimidated by the Tar Heels and their tradition. This should go down to the wire like most North Carolina-Notre Dame matchups with a one-goal game being the most likely result on Sunday afternoon in South Bend.


#7 OKLAHOMA STATE AT #21 MEMPHIS (8:00 p.m. Sunday, Mike Rose Soccer Complex, Memphis, Tennessee)

The high flying Oklahoma State Cowgirls (4-0-0) head into Memphis this Sunday for the back end of their first road trip of the season looking to make statement against a tough mid-major opponent in the Tigers out of Conference USA. The Cowgirls are led by arguably the best goalkeeper in the nation in Adrianna Franch and have gotten rolling offensively as they racked up seven goals last weekend in two wins at home over Vanderbilt and Creighton. Senior forward Megan Marchesano leads the Cowgirls in scoring with two goals along with freshman midfielder/forward Madison Mercado with a pair of goals as well. Memphis (0-1-0) will be looking to recover from getting blitzed by a very good Missouri Tiger squad 5-1 in Columbia during the opening weekend of the season. The youth of the Tiger squad showed in that contest as they started six freshmen against Missouri. However, they will be getting some reinforcements as junior forward Christabel Oduro and sophomore midfielder, Kylie Davis should be back from the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup where they represented Canada. This match should be a fascinating one if Oduro and Davis play extensively with the Cowgirls playing on the road for the first time in front a good sized crowd in Memphis. I expect a fairly low scoring, tightly contested match that could go either way.