No. 3 Florida State at No. 5 Duke
When: 1 p.m. ET Sunday
Why: Duke won’t be looking ahead before a Thursday meeting with Charleston, but the Blue Devils have had the ACC opener circled on the schedule for a while. Duke has given only up four goals this season in three games while pitching five shutouts. Goalkeeper Tara Campbell has a 0.51 goals allowed average and has been backed by Kelly Cobb’s five goals and 14 points. Florida State opens league action Thursday against Wake Forest before heading to Durham, N.C., to take on the Blue Devils. The Seminoles will counter with Tiffany McCarty’s 15 points on seven goals while trying to continue a six-match unbeaten streak (4-0-2) against the Blue Devils, who have never lost to FSU at home.
No. 2 Connecticut at No. 11 Boston College
When: 7 p.m. ET Tuesday
Why: Connecticut opens the weekend in Boston against Boston University before turning to the Eagles on Tuesday. Connecticut is No. 2 in the NSCAA poll with a 5-0-0 record entering the week, including four wins against teams that played in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Andrew Jean-Baptiste has anchored the Huskys’ defense and was the Big East Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Huskies to back-to-back shutouts last week. Jean-Baptiste will face a BC team that entered the week stinging after a 4-0 thrashing from then-No. 2 Maryland last Friday. The Eagles, who play Virginia Tech on Friday before facing the Huskies, are led by Amit Aburmad’s 11 points, one of three Eagles with at least eight points through five matches.
No. 4 North Alabama at No. 3 Abilene Christian
When: 5 p.m. ET Saturday
Why: Abilene Christian hopes it doesn’t need an interception on the last play of the game to seal the victory like it did in the season opener on Sept. 1 against Tarleton State. The Wildcats scored 10 points in the final 6:09, including a 23-yard TD pass from Mitchell Gale to Daryl Richardson with 1:09 to play. Gale finished with 335 passing yards and three scores, enough to make UNA coach Terry Bowden take notice. Bowden’s Lions come into the matchup in Cowboys Stadium — part of a Lone Star Football Festival triple-header — with a 2-0 record behind the arm of QB Lee Chapple, the signal-caller who has passed for 503 yards and four touchdowns. More than just rankings are at stake Saturday. North Alabama has a long streak to try to keep going as it has not lost a regular-season non-conference game against a Division II school in more than a decade. The last loss came in 2000, a 28-21 setback to Pittsburg State in OT.
No. 1 Calvin at No. 3 Wittenberg
When: 8 p.m. ET Friday
Why: Calvin, the defending national champion, puts its top ranking on the line this weekend as it plays in the Great Lakes Regional Challenge. Among the teams in the tourney are No. 11 Heidelberg and No. 13 Hope, but the prime contest everyone will be watching is Friday’s main event between the Knights and third-ranked and host Wittenberg. Calvin has lost only three sets while going a perfect 7-0, including giving up only one set since Sept. 2. The Tigers enter the weekend with a 6-0 record and have only given up two sets this fall as it is holding opponents to an .078 hitting percentage.
No. 4 California (Pa.) at No. 10 West Chester
When: 4 p.m. ET Saturday
Why: In its last outing, California (Pa.) was paced by Breeanna Robinson, who posted the first hat trick in the Vulcans’ new home facility as she helped the team to a 7-0 drubbing of West Virginia Wesleyan. The win pushed Cal U to 2-0 and gave the Vulcans an 11-0 scoring advantage on the season.
After opening with three consecutive wins, West Chester is looking for its first victory since Sept. 7 after tying in overtime in each of its past two matches. Melissa McKeary leads the offense with four goals, one of only two players with multiple goals on the season, joining Dana Hunt, who has come off the bench in four matches this fall.
No. 7 Indiana at Indiana Intercollegiate in Bloomington, Ind.
When: 3:30 p.m. ET Friday
Why: Indiana will play host to its second home meet of the season at the Indiana Intercollegiate on Friday. The Hoosiers, who will hold three home meets this fall, have won the race the past three seasons. IU returns the top two finishers in last year’s meet in Ben Hubers and Zach Mayhew, who will give Indiana a solid duo to battle teammate John Mascari. The freshman ran unattached at the season-opening Indiana Open and won the event in 26:01.11.
No. 10 Nebraska at No. 12 Iowa State
When: 9 p.m. ET Saturday
Why: Nebraska makes its last match of the non-conference slate a familiar one as it plays long-time Big Eight and Big 12 foe Iowa State before heading into its first Big Ten action. The Huskers are expecting a packed house at the Devaney Center for the top-15 matchup, as more than 10,000 tickets were sold earlier this week. The teams come in nearly even on the stat sheets, with the Cylcones holding a slight edge in hitting percentage (.276 to .273) and kills (13.88 to 13.41) while the Huskers are again among the top 25 nationally for blocks at 2.65 per set.
No. 12 Ohio Wesleyan at No. 3 Ohio Northern
When: 4 p.m. ET Wednesday
Why: Third-ranked Ohio Northern entered the week with a 6-0-1 record and has another tuneup Saturday against Transylvania (Ky.) before facing its second ranked opponent of the season when it plays Ohio Wesleyan on Sept. 21. The Polar Bears won six consecutive to open the season before a 1-1 overtime tie in the last outing against Wittenberg. Among the early season victims was then-No. 3 Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Christian Huelsman picked up one of his two goals on the year in the win and currently ranks third on the team with seven points, trailing Cameron Johnson (11 points) and Nathan Bascom (8). Ohio Wesleyan has won four consecutive entering the week after suffering a loss in the season opener to No. 2 Messiah. Travis Wall leads the way with 13 points and five goals, nearly twice that of second-place Matt Bonfini (seven points and two goals).
No. 20 Air Force vs. No. 3 UCLA
When: 10:40 a.m. ET Saturday
Why: UCLA and Air Force will met up in the first match of the NorCal Tournament, which will feature 10 of the top 11 ranked teams in the country. Overall, 14 of the 16 participating teams are ranked this week. The Bruins returned three of their top five scorers from last fall including Cristiano Mirarchi, but it is freshman David Culpan who fans may want to watch this weekend. The Bruins won their first two matches of the season by a combined 41-7 score as Culpan tossed in nine goals, one of four UCLA players with at least five goals. Air Force went 2-2 to open the season, falling to both the ranked teams it faced.