Top 10 Preview
No. 10 Old Domion hosts No. 2 UNC, No. 4 UConn
No. 1 Maryland
Maryland (15-1, 4-0) will host No. 5 Virginia (15-3, 3-2) on Friday in the Terps’ final ACC home game. The Terrapins will then welcome Georgetown (2-13) to College Park on Sunday. Friday’s match will mark Maryland’s final ACC home game. After 31 seasons in the ACC, the Terps will depart for the Big Ten next year. They are 86-41-5 (.670) all-time in ACC games and have won nine ACC title.
Entering this week, Maryland is second in the nation in goals per game at 4.31, trailing only North Carolina (5.07). Jill Witmer leads the team in both goals (14) and points (33). Maxine Fluharty is one goal away from joining Witmer in the double-digit goals club. Fluharty is tied for second in the team’s point standings with Anna Dessoye with 23. Dessoye leads the squad with nine assists.
No. 2 North Carolina
North Carolina finishes its season with three road games, two of which come this weekend. The Tar Heels go to Old Dominion this weekend for a pair of games. On Saturday, the Tar Heels play No. 4 Connecticut and play host No. 10 ODU on Sunday. North Carolina beat Old Dominion twice last season, including in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The last time North Carolina met the Huskies it was a classic game with the Tar Heels tied the game with second left before winning in double overtime to advance to the 2011 NCAA title game.
Sporting the nation’s highest-scoring offense, the Tar Heels are prone to starting off a game strong. They are outscoring their opponents 46-5 in the first half and have yet to trail a game at the half. Leading the offense for the Tar Heels is Casey Di Nardo with 12 goals and Nina Notman only trails her by one in that category. Emily Wold started this week leading the nation in assists per game and now has 18 on the year.
No. 3 Syracuse
Syracuse doesn’t have to leave J.S. Coyne Stadium for any of its three final regular-season games. That’s a good thing for the Orange who have won their past 42 games there. The Orange have the opportunity to add two more to that total as they host Wake Forest on Saturday and Cornell on Sunday. Syracuse beat the Demon Deacons the last time they met – which was early in the 2011 season – and none of the current Syracuse players have ever played Cornell.
Leonie Geyer leads Syracuse in both goals (10) and assists (11) and could be joined in the double-figures category by Emma Russell who has nine goals and eight assists. Lauren Brooks has nine goals this year on 17 shots on goal.
No. 4 Connecticut
Connecticut has two critical showdowns this weekend as the team travels to Norfolk, Va. to play at No. 10 Old Dominion on Friday and then against No. 2 North Carolina the next. The Huskies are 10-23 all-time against the Monarchs but UConn won the most recent contest between the two squads, a 3-2 victory against then-No. 9 Old Dominion, on Sept. 8, 2007.
Junior forward Chloe Hunnable leads the pack for the Huskies with 16 goals and 36 points while sophomore back Roisin Upton and junior forward Anne Jeute have each tallied double-digit assists. The Huskies have outscored the opposition 56-19 this year and senior goaltender Sarah Mansfield has notched six shutouts.
No. 5 Virginia
Virginia finishes the regular season on Friday when it plays at Maryland. The Maryland game will be the Cavaliers' tenth game this season against an opponent ranked in the top-20 and the seventh time facing a top-10 team. It will also be the second time this season Virginia has faced a team No. 1 team with Virginia falling 2-1 to then-top-ranked North Carolina on Sept. 20. Virginia's only victory over a team ranked No. 1 was Sept. 30, 2001, when the No. 11 Cavaliers defeated Maryland, 3-2, on strokes.
Senior Elly Buckley earned her second ACC Player of the Week honors after scoring a hat trick in last Friday's game against Duke. With the three goals, Buckley is now alone in third place in the Cavalier record book with 179 career points, passing Cindy Carzo (1976-79, 173 points). In the Duke game, Buckley also added her ACC-leading fifth defensive save of the season. Buckley currently leads the conference in seven different statistical categories including goals (20) and points (46). Junior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone is ranked 12th in the nation with a 1.23 goals-against average. Johnstone's .833 win-loss percentage this season is fourth-best among all goalies.
No. 6 Penn State
Penn State travels to Iowa City for a Big Ten matchup with the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday and then plays UC Davis for the first time in program history in a neutral-site matchup on Saturday. Penn State can clinch at least a share of the Big Ten title and the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tourney with a win against the Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes are the only Big Ten team to lead the Nittany Lions in the all-time series, holding a record of 26-19-1 against Penn State. But the Blue and White has won each of the last four matchups dating back to the 2010 season.
After a comeback win against Michigan State last weekend, the Nittany Lions claimed the Big Ten Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week awards. Taylor Herold received the offensive honor for the first time this season and second time in her career after scoring two goals and then scoring the winning shootout goal to seal the victory. On the defensive side, Brittany Grzywacz was awarded the accolade for the fourth time this season and sixth time in her career. Grzywacz is also the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
No. 7 Boston College
The Eagles have one game this weekend, hosting No. 8 Duke in its final home regular-season game of the season. Boston College needs to win that game and next Saturday at Wake Forest to finish with a .500 record in the ACC. Last season, the Eagles went to North Carolina and beat Duke 2-1.
Emma Plasteras has provided balanced scoring this season, scoring 11 goals and picking up 11 assists. Her 33 points are 11 more than second-place Emily McCoy (nine goals, four assists). Goalkeeper Leah Settipane has a .772 saves percentage and a 1.79 goals-against average and she entered the week ranked 12th in the nation in saves percentage.
No. 8 Duke
The Blue Devils play a pair of Boston-based schools this weekend when it squares off against Boston College on Saturday and Boston University on Sunday. Duke made a similar weekend trip back in 2011 when it defeated both schools, though it took the Terriers to overtime.
Goaltender Lauren Blazing has stopped 90 of the 110 shots she’s faced so far this year which is good for a .818 saves percentage and a 1.24 goals-against average. No Blue Devil is in double figures yet in either goals or assists though Emmie Le Marchand is closest with eight in each category.
No. 9 Princeton
Unlike most other teams in the top 10, Princeton isn’t wrapping up its season or in its penultimate week. This weekend the Tigers go on the road to face Ivy League opponent Harvard on Saturday and then go to Albany on Sunday. In the past two meetings against Harvard, the Tigers have a 11-1 edge in goals scored.
Despite having a 234-98 edge on their opponents in shots, the Tigers have only outscored their opponents 35-21. Teresa Benvenuti and Allison Evans each have a team-high seven goals though Benvenuti has the edge in points thanks to her 6-3 lead in assists.
No. 10 Old Dominion
Old Dominion (9-6, 4-1) plays No. 4 Connecticut (13-2, 5-0) on Friday and will face No. 2 North Carolina on Sunday. ODU’s game against Connecticut will be a key game to decide the Big East regular-season champion, which has three teams separated by one game. The Lady Monarchs are on an eight-game win streak, which is the longest in the Big East. The Lady Monarchs haven’t faced the Huskies since 2007 while this will be the second meeting with North Carolina this season.
Rosario Villagra leads Old Dominion with 13 goals and 10 assists. Sarah Breen has added 10 goals this year and the two have combined for more than half of ODU’s 41 goals this season. Goaltender Megan Hept has a 1.95 goals-against average and a .716 saves percentage.