Top 10 Preview
Second-ranked UCLA goes to Stanford, Virginia plays Notre Dame
No. 1 Virginia
Top-ranked Virginia hosts one of the marquee games in the nation this season when it welcomes No. 9 Notre Dame to Klöckner Stadium on Thursday night.
Virginia (12-0, 6-0 ACC) is the nation's only unbeaten and untied team. In their fourth week as the nation's consensus No. 1 team, the Cavaliers lead the nation in scoring at 3.33 goals per game. The Virginia defense has posted seven shutouts this season, including in each of the last six games at Klöckner Stadium.
The Cavaliers are coming off a 3-0 victory against Clemson on Sunday. The Fighting Irish (9-2-1, 5-1-1) are currently tied for third place in the ACC as they compete in their inaugural year in the conference.
Notre Dame is looking to snap a two-game winless streak after a 1-1 draw against Wake Forest and a 2-0 loss at Miami last week.
Virginia and Notre Dame have only met once before in the regular season, a 2-0 Cavalier victory in 1989 at the University Hall field. The teams met in the preseason for eight consecutive years from 2005-12. Thursday's game marks the first head-to-head ACC competition between Virginia and Notre Dame in any sport.
Virginia then begins a three-game road trip Sunday with a visit to No. 11 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are 8-2-2 overall and 3-2-2 in the conference.
No. 2 UCLA
The Bruins (10-1-1, 2-0-1) moved up to No. 2 despite its first blemish in seven games, a home draw with Washington on Monday. It won’t get any easier for UCLA, as it goes on the road to take on No. 5 Stanford (9-1-1, 2-1) on Thursday. It will try to hand Stanford a second consecutive home loss after the Cardinal had gone 73 home matches without a loss. Stanford and UCLA have combined to win at least a share of the past 12 conference championships, and the Cardinal lead the all-time series 12-9-3.
UCLA will then face off with another top-10 team in No. 8 California (9-0-3) on Sunday. The undefeated Golden Bears moved into the top 10 this week following 2-1 wins against Arizona and Arizona State last weekend.
No. 3 Florida State
After a week off following a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Boston College, No. 3 Florida State (10-0-3, 5-0-2 ACC) returns to the pitch to face two of the ACC's newcomers in Syracuse (5-7-1, 1-5-1 ACC) and Pittsburgh (4-8-1, 0-7-0 ACC) in Week 8.
The Seminoles visit Syracuse on Thursday for their first visit to the state of New York. The two schools have met just once before with that meeting coming during a regular-season tournament in Athens, Ga., in 1998. FSU erased a 2-1 deficit scoring twice during the final 19 minutes to defeat the Orange 3-2.
Florida State will then return home to face Pittsburgh on Sunday in the first meeting between the two schools. FSU has fared well when facing a team for the first time posting an all-time record of 57-28-5 and 3-7-0 when facing a team for the first time as a league opponent. The Noles are 24-3-2 against first-time opponents all-time under head coach Mark Krikorian, while Pitt marks the third and final first time opponent FSU will face during the regular season this year.
No. 4 North Carolina
Fourth-ranked North Carolina will face off against a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference foes this week as head coach Anson Dorrance's team will play host to NC State Thursday at Fetzer Field before traveling to the Northeast this weekend to play at Boston College on Sunday.
UNC enters the week with a 10-2 overall record and a 4-2 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tar Heels have won three games in a row after dropping back-to-back 1-0 decisions against Notre Dame and Florida State.
NC State heads into Thursday's game with a 6-7 overall record and a 1-6 mark in the ACC.
Boston College, which is idle Thursday, will head into Sunday's game with an overall record of 7-6 and an ACC mark of 4-4.
No. 5 Stanford
Fifth-ranked Stanford plays host to No. 2 UCLA on Thursday in a matchup that has annually been pivotal in determining the Pac-12 women’s soccer title. The two schools have combined to earn at least a share of the conference championship in each of the past 12 years and have become frequent NCAA tournament competitors as well. Stanford (9-1-1, 2-1) will attempt to extend its seven-match winning streak against the Bruins (10-1-1, 2-0-1).
Stanford, which had its 73-game home winning streak ended by Arizona State on Sunday, leads the series with the Bruins 12-9-3.
The Cardinal will then play host to Southern California on Sunday evening. The Trojans have yet to win in Pac-12 play, at 0-3-0 in the conference and 5-6-1 overall.
No. 6 Georgetown
The Hoyas have continued to move up in the rankings as they have stayed undefeated, including conference wins against Butler and Providence last weekend. They are 11-0-2 overall and 3-0-1 in the Big East heading into this weekend, in which their lone game will come on the road against Marquette. Georgetown will be looking to extend its unbeaten streak of 13 games, which is the longest in program history.
The Golden Eagles are on a streak of their own, having won their past six games. They are 11-3-0 overall and 4-0-0 in the conference.
No. 7 Portland
The No. 7 Pilots (9-1-1, 1-0-0 WCC) travel to Southern California this week for a pair of West Coast Conference games, playing against Loyola Marymount on Friday and Pepperdine on Sunday. Portland has won six consecutive matches, outscoring opponents 15-5 during that stretch. Following shutouts of Washington and Pacific, it has not given up a goal in 205 minutes.
Loyola Marymount is 3-8-0 overall and has not won a conference game yet. Pepperdine has also yet to play in the WCC, and is 5-3-2 in 2013.
No. 8 California
The unbeaten Golden Bears will play their first game in the top 10 when they host Southern California on Friday. California stands at 9-0-3 overall and have won its past three games. Ifeoma Onumonu leads the Bears with eight goals this season. USC is 5-6-1 in 2013 and 0-3-0 in the Pac-12.
California will then face a battle with No. 2 UCLA on Sunday. The Bruins (10-1-1, 2-0-1) will have already played Stanford this weekend.
No. 9 Notre Dame
For most of the past decade, Notre Dame and Virginia would meet during the preseason, but the schools have only played once in the regular season. That all changes on Thursday night when the No. 9 Fighting Irish face one of the strongest challenges of their inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) season, heading to Charlottesville, Va., for a match with the top-ranked and unbeaten Cavaliers at Klöckner Stadium.
For Notre Dame (9-2-1, 5-1-1 ACC), the challenge is multi-faceted, as the Fighting Irish are not only playing their sixth ranked opponent of the season (and their fourth in the past seven matches), but their second No. 1 foe in less than a month. On Sept. 15, Notre Dame went to Chapel Hill, N.C., and edged top-ranked North Carolina, 1-0 on a 22nd-minute goal by freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews.
The Fighting Irish also are coming off their first loss in ACC play, a 2-0 setback at Miami on Sunday afternoon. Only four days removed from that defeat, Notre Dame turns its attention to a Virginia side that is one of only four in the nation that is unbeaten and untied at this stage of the season.
Notre Dame is 0-1 all-time against Virginia, and Thursday's match will mark the first time the Fighting Irish have traveled to Charlottesville since Oct. 21, 1989 (a 2-0 Virginia victory).
The Irish will then play at No. 10 Virginia Tech on Sunday.
No. 10 Virginia Tech
Tenth-ranked Virginia Tech, newly in the top 10, will return from a 10-day break when it plays its only game this weekend against No. 9 Notre Dame in Blacksburg on Sunday. The Hokies have not lost in their past six games, including a 1-0 win against Clemson most recently.
Virginia Tech, at 5-1-1 in the ACC and 10-1-2 overall, is led in points by Jazmine Reeves, who has seven goals and four assists. Goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts has started all 13 games, making 33 saves and allowing just eight goals.
Notre Dame (9-2-1, 5-1-1 ACC) will be coming off a matchup with No. 1 Virginia on Thursday.