Thursday, October 4, 2012
A key ACC contest highlights this weekend’s television schedule as conference schedules continue in NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer on ESPN3.com, with current and former W-League standouts facing off as No. 13 Boston College visits No. 14 North Carolina on Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET. With both sides sitting in the middle of the conference standings, the contest offers a chance to make a move into contention for the regular-season title.
The Eagles have won two of their first three contests in ACC play, but are looking to get back on track after falling against Pepperdine last weekend. Backed by goalkeeper Alexa Gaul, who played for the Chicago Red Eleven in the W-League, the Eagles have been strong overall defensively. Gaul has a 1.03 goals-against average and a .721 save percentage, and is performing well since her transfer from Texas prior to this season.
She will be tested by a Tar Heels attack that has received a recent boost from New Jersey Wildcats standout Amber Brooks, who has 10 points in 11 games this season. She has been aided by former Cary Clarets standout Maria Lubrano, who is tied for the team lead with five goals, while Pali Blues goalkeeper Adelaide Gay has made 10 starts while recording a 0.51 goals-against average.
Action on ESPN3 switches to the SEC on Friday night as No. 18 Florida visits LSU looking to extend its five-game winning streak. The Gators are currently led by Ottawa Fury forward Havana Solaun, who has scored 11 points in 12 appearances this fall. She sits tied for the team lead with four goals alongside D.C. United midfielder Holly King, while fellow former W-League standout Erika Tymrak has seven points, sitting tied with Solaun on three assists.
The ACC is back in the spotlight on Sunday afternoon as No. 14 Maryland and former Long Island Rough Riders standout Becky Kaplan face North Carolina State at 1 p.m. ET. Kaplan leads the Terrapins this season with nine goals, also adding three assists, to lead her side to the top of the ACC standings. She has been backed by the Colorado Rush’s Olivia Wagner, who has four goals and four assists.
On the west coast, the Pac-12 Network features Stanford as it tries to continue a perfect run through conference play against Utah on Friday at 4 p.m. ET. The Cardinal, who feature the Pali Blues’ Mariah Nogueira and Rachel Quon, took convincing victories against Oregon State and Oregon last week, with Noguera among the scorers as Stanford took a 5-1 victory against Oregon State.
Washington and Arizona meet in the second game of Friday’s Pac-12 doubleheader at 6 p.m. ET with the Huskies trying to get back to .500 in conference play after a 2-0 defeat against Utah in their last outing. Washington is led by the Seattle Sounders Women’s Lindsey Elston, who has a team-high 18 points and seven goals.
Sunday’s west coast action sees Oregon State host Zakiya Bywaters and No. 3 UCLA as the Beavers try to rebound from a pair of defeats against Stanford and Cal last weekend. Vancouver Whitecaps Women standout Jenna Richardson will be at the forefront for OSU, with her four goals leading the team, but they will face a big test from the Bruins, who remain undefeated this season with a record of 9-0-2.
Bywaters has played a key role in that record, with the LA Strikers standout taking Pac-12 Player of the Week honors on Tuesday after scoring three goals in a pair of victories last weekend. Bywaters leads the conference with nine goals and 20 points this season as she aims for her second consecutive All-Pac 12 First Team selection.