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Alberto Camargo | NCAA.com | September 8, 2022

The top 3 teams in DI women's soccer all play each other in 8 days. Here's what (and how) to watch.

Women's College Cup Final: Florida State and BYU full highlights

With most teams around DI women’s soccer having played a few games, all early-season cobwebs and jitters should be gone. Conference play starts in just a couple of weeks, but the schedule and rankings have fallen in place to provide a week full of top-10 clashes, including all three top-ranked teams meeting each other.

Here's what to know about each showdown ahead of kickoff:

FULL SCHEDULE: Take a look at all the action around DI women's soccer

No. 2 North Carolina 3, No. 3 Duke 0

The Tar Heels shut out their bitter rivals, 3-0. Here's a recap of the match.

Preview:

Perhaps fittingly, the main event of this appointment-viewing week of women’s soccer will culminate with a Duke-UNC showdown on Sep. 8. The eternal rivalry is rekindled every year, even when the ACC scheduling rotation means they don’t meet in conference play. This is technically a non-conference game, according to both teams’ schedule webpage, but it may be the most hotly-contested of the year. 

The last time the rivals met, the Blue Devils left Chapel Hill with a narrow 1-0 win a year ago, their first over UNC since 2015 and just their fourth all-time victory in the series (UNC leads 42-4-3). 

By the end of next week, we will have a good picture of how these three teams stack up against each other. In most cases, I’d say it’s too early to look at these results through the lens of the NCAA tournament, but with these programs, late November soccer is all but a guarantee. Let’s just sit back and enjoy some high-level play in early September.

UCLA 2, North Carolina 1

UCLA picked up a come-from-behind win over UNC 2-1. 

Preview:

UCLA will stay on Tobacco Road through the weekend as they visit the No. 1 Tar Heels in a Sunday matinee showdown. UNC has allowed just one goal in five games this season, including clean sheets against Tennessee on Aug. 18 and Texas on Aug. 25. This is despite losing captain Maycee Bell to season-ending knee surgery and splitting time in goal evenly between Emmie Allen and Marz Josephson, an unorthodox way of giving both netminders playing time. Expect Allen to start and Josephson to enter at halftime as they have done all season. I mean, if it isn't broken?

Junior Avery Patterson has a team-high four goals, scoring in all but one game so far this season. She scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Texas and added one in the Heels’ 6-0 win over Baylor on Aug. 28. 

It’s also worth mentioning that while UNC and UCLA do battle, the Blue Devils will be on a quick road trip to Fort Worth to take on No. 6 TCU in yet another top-10 matchup. 

UCLA 2, Duke 1

UCLA took down Duke Thursday night, 2-1. Here's a recap of the match. 

Preview:

Hosting UCLA in the first of this week’s heavyweight clashes is No. 2 Duke. It will be the first time the two programs have met since the semifinals of the 2017 College Cup, which the Bruins won on penalties.

The Bruins are making their only East Coast road trip of the regular season fresh off a 1-0 win on Aug. 28 over a Santa Clara team that featured in the preseason top 25 but has fallen out since. Their attack has been led by senior Sunshine Fontes, who notched the winner against Santa Clara and leads the team with four goals. She recorded the 28th hat trick in program history as the Bruins trounced CSUN 6-0 on Aug. 25, capping off her day with this rocket of a free kick.

The Blue Devils have matched the highest ranking in team history after an early-season stretch highlighted by a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over then-No. 22 Tennessee on Aug. 25. Duke was down 2-0 heading into the 70th minute in Knoxville, before the trio of Sophie Jones, Michelle Cooper and Kat Rader all scored within 11 minutes of each other, completing the frantic resurgence for the season’s first win over a ranked opponent. 

Duke spreads the scoring around well, with four players on two goals each. Cooper leads with six points thanks to two assists to her name while also leading the team in shots (16). They will have to contend with a Bruins defense that has yet to concede a goal this season.

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