Top 10 Preview
Five top-10 matchups highlighted by ACC-Big Ten Challenge
No.1 North Carolina
The Tar Heels travel to Iowa this weekend to take on a pair of Big Ten Conference foes in the ACC-Big Ten challenge. The Heels first play No. 9 Michigan (1-1) in Iowa City, Iowa on Saturday before staying there to play Iowa the next day. With three goals from Casey Di Nardo, North Carolina won both games it played last weekend to open the season 2-0. In those two games, North Carolina coach Karen Shelton has started a different goalkeeper in each game (Shannon Johnson and Sassi Ammer) while using a third (Rosie Wood) to close out a 10-1 victory against Villanova.
North Carolina has gone 17-3 in the all-time series against Michigan, including a 5-1 decision in last season's meeting. Things have been even better for North Carolina against Iowa, going 22-3 in the all-time series. The last time the Tar Heels played the Hawkeyes was last season, with North Carolina winning 5-0.
No. 2 Maryland
The Terps open their second weekend with a familiar face on Friday. Not only did they meet Old Dominion (1-1) twice last year – each team won a game – but new Old Dominion head coach Andrew Griffiths was an assistant at Maryland from 1998-99 and 2001-04. After a day off, Maryland hosts Drexel (1-1), a team that Maryland has never lost to in seven meetings.
Four Terrapins scored twice in the team’s 2-0 weekend last week and they have outshot their opponents 61-14 in the two games. Sophomore Anna Dessoye has a team-high eight points so far on two goals and four assists.
No. 3 Princeton
Princeton opens its title defense Friday after being off last week with a pair of home games. The Tigers open their season against No. 10 Duke (2-0), a team Princeton defeated in Durham, N.C. last year. The next day, the Tigers play the Stags (1-0) for the first time ever. Dating back to last season, the Tigers have won 14 consecutive games. Eight starters from last year’s squad return, including Allison Evans, who scored 12 goals last year, and Christina Maida who last year started 18 games in the cage for the Tigers.
No. 4 Connecticut
The Huskies will have a week off between games when it travels to Penn State for a Sunday matchup. UConn opened its season last week with a two-game west coast trip, winning both games. Sarah Mansfield was named the Big East defensive player of the week after making 12 saves on 14 attempts in the two wins. Four Huskies have scored a goal apiece, including a game-winning goal in overtime by Sophie Bowden in the season-opening win against Stanford.
UConn has won the last four meetings against Penn State each by a 2-1 score, and a total of six consecutive. That winning streak has evened up the all-time series at 16-16-4.
No. 5 Syracuse
After a 2-0 weekend in Hempstead, N.Y., the Orange travel to Michigan State for a pair of games. The Orange play the Spartans (1-2) on Friday before staying there for a Sunday game against Kent State (1-1). Syracuse has outscored its opponents 9-2 so far this season, led by Alyssa Manley’s four goals. Jess Jecko has played every minute in the cage so far, making five saves in the wins.
The last time Syracuse played Michigan State was in 2009, when the Orange prevailed 2-1 in overtime. The Orange are 4-2 all-time against Kent State, including a 7-1 victory last season.
No. 6 Penn State
The Nittany Lions opened the season with a pair of games against top-10 opponents, and after a break on Friday, that trend will continue Sunday. Penn State plays its first home game of the year Friday against unranked Temple (1-1) before welcoming No. 4 Connecticut (2-0). Last weekend, the Nittany Lion split their two games, defeating No. 8 Old Dominion and losing at No. 7 Virginia. Brittany Grzywacz and Taylor Herold have each scored twice this season, and the only other goal scorer has been Ashtin Klingler. Kylie Licata has made 11 saves so far this season.
Penn State has fared well historically against Temple, winning 31 of 39 meetings, including 5-1 last season.
No. 7 Virginia
Virginia (2-0) is looking to start the season with a 4-0 record for the fourth time in the past six years. To do so, it will need to pick up a pair of road wins, one Friday at Yale and one Sunday at Old Dominion. Senior forward Elly Buckley was named the ACC player of the week for her performance in the opening two games. Buckley scored a pair of game-winning goals, logging seven points in the contests and also adding the sixth defensive save of her career. Preseason all-ACC junior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone recorded 16 saves in the first two games with an .800 save percentage.
Friday's game will be the season-opener for Yale, who returns eight players who started 10 or more games and two All-Ivy League selections, senior Erica Borgo and sophomore Nicole Wells, from last season, when the team went 6-11 overall. Virginia beat Yale 4-0 last season to go to 3-0 all time. The Monarchs are now 33-12 in the series against the Cavaliers following last season’s 5-4 win.
No. 8 Old Dominion
The Monarchs continue their tough early season schedule with a pair of home games against ranked opponents. After Sunday’s game against Virginia, the Monarchs will have already hosted three top-10 teams, dropping a 3-1 contest against No. 6 Penn State to open the season. But before playing Virginia, Old Dominion will face No. 2 Maryland. The Monarchs are 1-1 this season after an overtime victory against American, but have struggled this season in the second half. In that period, opponents are outscoring Old Dominion, 4-1.
No. 9 Michigan
Michigan plays a pair of top-25 ACC opponents this weekend, starting with No. 1 North Carolina on Saturday and then hosting No. 18 Wake Forest on Sunday. Last weekend, the Wolverines dropped their opening game to No. 14 Massachusetts before evening their record to .500 with a win against Maine. Rachael Mack leads the team with three goals while Michelle Roberts has netted a pair of goals.
Michigan has struggled historically against these ACC opponents. North Carolina has won 17 of 20 all-time meetings while Wake Forest is 14-3 all-time against the Wolverines.
No. 10 Duke
After kicking off the season with a pair of victories against Indiana and No. 17 Drexel, Duke will travel to New Jersey this weekend for its first road contests of the season. The Blue Devils will take on reigning national champion and third-ranked Princeton on Friday before facing Rutgers on Sunday. Heather Morris leads the Blue Devils with three goals and Emmie LeMarchand and Cherry Seaborn have each added two goals. Lauren Blazing has made five saves while giving up just one goal so far this season.
Sunday’s game will mark the first time Duke has met Rutgers since 1989 and just the third time overall. In 1989, Rutgers defeated Duke in overtime, 2-1.