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Alberto Camargo | NCAA.com | September 14, 2022

Rutgers pushing the top 3 and other takeaways from the latest DI women's soccer top 25

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

UCLA, North Carolina and Duke remain on top of the latest United Soccer Coaches top 25 this week, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to dig your teeth into to get an idea of where the voters see several teams around the country at this stage of the regular season.

FULL RANKINGS: This week's United Soccer Coaches DI women's soccer top 25

Here are three things I noticed from this week's rankings as conference play kicks off around the country:

Rutgers deserves top 3

Rutgers women's soccer

This isn’t an indictment of No. 3 Duke, a team whose only blemishes are losses to the top two teams in the country. Rather, I think the Scarlet Knights ought to be rewarded for winning eight straight matches to begin the season, the best start to a campaign in program history.

None of Rutgers’ wins stand out in terms of high-level opposition, but the start of conference play will bring plenty of tests in short order, beginning with No. 21 Ohio State at home on Sunday and a trip to No. 8 Penn State on Sept. 22.

Northwestern gets rewarded for recent success

Northwestern women's soccer

Something else I noticed was the inclusion of Northwestern at No. 18 this week. Not only did the Wildcats not receive any votes last week, but they also haven’t been acknowledged in the rankings at all this season until this week. What this looks like to me is a reward for the six-match run the team has pulled over the last few weeks.

Since a 1-0 loss at Kansas on Aug. 21, Northwestern has won five of six, allowing just one goal in the process. That includes clean sheets against then-No. 19 Xavier and then-No. 6 Stanford in the space of five days.

The fresh-faced Wildcats open their Big Ten schedule this Sunday against Purdue before a two-game road trip leads into a huge home game against the No. 4 Scarlet Knights on Sept. 29. If there’s ever a place to prove you belong among the best teams in women’s soccer, that will be the game to do so.

Pepperdine stands out in the top 10

Pepperdine women's soccer

The only school outside the Power 5 conferences represented in this week’s top 10 is Pepperdine, who has climbed slowly each week, cracking No. 10 last week and advancing to No. 9 this time around. 

Even though they have yet to defeat any ranked opponents, the Waves won’t have to wait long for the ultimate test: a visit from top-ranked UCLA on Sept. 18. The contrast between each team’s path could not be more apparent. 

At the risk of sounding cliche, you can only beat who is in front of you, but the Bruins’ have left both UNC and Duke in their wake as they marched to the top of the sport, while the Waves have yet to earn a statement win. 

What a way to turn the tide that would be, huh?

See full rankings below:

rank school prev 1st votes total points w-l-t
1 UCLA 1 8 200 6-0-0
2 North Carolina 2 0 191 7-1-0
3 Duke 3 0 179 5-2-0
4 Rutgers 6 0 174 8-0-0
5 South Carolina 4 0 165 5-0-3
6 Notre Dame 12 0 162 7-0-0
7 Virginia 5 0 141 7-0-1
8 Penn State 11 0 135 5-1-1
9 Stanford 6 0 124 6-1-0
9 Pepperdine 10 0 124 5-0-2
11 Alabama 18 0 122 6-1-1
12 Saint Louis 15 0 100 7-1-0
12 Florida State 8 0 100 4-0-2
14 Arkansas NR 0 85 5-1-1
15 Ole Miss 9 0 81 6-0-2
16 Harvard 20 0 79 6-0-0
17 TCU NR 0 74 5-2-1
18 Northwestern NR 0 53 6-1-1
19 SMU 16 0 51 4-0-3
20 Texas 23 0 43 5-1-1
21 Ohio State 22 0 31 5-1-1
22 Washington 24 0 29 5-0-2
23 Auburn 14 0 27 4-0-4
24 Clemson NR 0 26 4-1-2
25 BYU 13 0 23 3-2-2
Also receiving votes: Texas A&M (15), Wake Forest (14), West Virginia (12), Portland (11), Georgetown (11), Tennessee (8), East Carolina (6), Colorado (3), Wisconsin (1).

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