Opportunity Knocks for Kelsey Hunyadi and Kentucky on Sunday
Wake Forest vs Kentucky (2:00)
Kentucky have impressed thus far in 2010, but they have their biggest chance to make a statement in Winston-Salem on Sunday afternoon. Beating Indiana was nice, beating Virginia Tech was better, even if the Hokies look like they’re going to have a down year, but beating Wake Forest would be a real feather in the cap of second year UK coach Jon Lipsitz. Kentucky’s normally rock solid defense will be put to the test by Wake’s star freshman Rachel Nuzzolese.
LSU vs Virginia Tech (11:30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
This one’s the de facto third place game in the ACC/SEC Challenge as both sides were on the losing end on Friday. Both of these teams will be desperate for a win as losing streaks have driven them into a sizable rut. Virginia Tech have hardly been the most airtight team at the back, but can LSU’s misfiring offense take advantage? The Tigers new offensive pieces don’t seem to have gelled yet, albeit after having had two tough defenses in a row to deal with.
UC Santa Barbara vs Marquette (11:30 in Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Odds Marquette coach Markus Roeders goes thermonuclear if his Golden Eagles team has the run of play on a mid-major but goes on to lose in extra time? UC Santa Barbara isn’t really on the level of New Mexico or San Diego though, although they should put up a fight. Marquette, with the last two tough defeats still fresh on their mind, will probably come out with their hair on fire and try to blow away the Gauchos while hoping not to hit their third straight goalkeeper on a hot streak.
Yale vs Illinois (12:00)
Something of an afterthought before Friday, this one now has a little more meaning. Yale upset the odds with a stunning 1-0 win over Penn State on Friday night in their refurbished ground while Illinois lost their 100% record to UConn in extra time after arguably being the better team for much of the match. The Illini can’t hang their heads for too long though, as the Bulldogs will undoubtedly be eager for another upset to further christen their new look stadium.
UConn vs Penn State (1:00)
My how things can change in the course of a few days. Before the Illinois match, UConn were in a tailspin after tough losses in extra time and were looking second best against the Illini. But the Huskies found a way to win in extra time and suddenly things are looking up. Penn State were looking to prove the match against William & Mary, which resulted in a 2-1 loss, was a fluke but instead dropped another match to Yale. Penn State should come out with something to prove, but if they can’t beat UConn after two defeats, it might be time to panic a little. UConn will probably just be happy to avoid more extra time after four such matches to open the season.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee vs Michigan State (1:00)
It’s fair to say that the Wisconsin-Milwaukee hype train that developed after the defeat of Ohio State in Columbus has slowed down a bit after last week. The Panthers’ draw with New Mexico and loss to Auburn don’t look THAT bad, but it showed that it might be time to temper expectations about UWM. They’ll get another good test in the form of a Michigan State that had a couple of tune-up games after getting beaten by North Carolina. Hagen vs Heyboer should be one of the more fascinating striker matchups of the season.
South Carolina vs Arizona State (1:00)
Here’s a real gutcheck game for you. Arizona State certainly aren’t taking their sweet time in trying to get off to a great start to avoid last season’s late season tension about the bubble. Charlotte was a good test, but South Carolina figures to be a bigger one. The Gamecocks for their part still have something to prove after a surprising defeat to Louisville at the Graveyard. SC’s defense hasn’t given up a goal in the run of play thus far but will be tested by a potent Sun Devil offense.
Notre Dame vs Texas Tech (1:30)
Note to Texas Tech: Notre Dame is not Texas State, Northwestern State, or Rice. The Red Raiders have opened up their campaign on a flyer but face a severe uphill battle against the national title contending Irish in South Bend. A home victory should be expected, but it’s reasonable to believe that Tom Stone’s Tech side will try and take it to Notre Dame, even if it could lead to a lopsided final scoreline.
Minnesota vs San Diego (2:00)
For those keeping count, that’s now four “Big Six” conference teams the Toreros have taken down to open the season. There was a little bit of luck behind the win against Marquette on Friday, but it’s difficult to fault USD for taking advantage of goalkeeper Courtney Parsons’ brilliance on the night. Minnesota has looked pretty good since losing to Notre Dame on opening night but are dealing with life without defender Jennie Clark who suffered a broken collarbone in a mid-week match against Belmont. The Gophers coped well enough against UC Santa Barbara, but San Diego’s another matter entirely.
Northwestern vs Missouri (2:00)
Missouri’s season is threatening to flatline before it ever really got going as the Tigers are now winless in four to open their year. Losses to Maryland, Duke, and North Carolina are understandable but a draw with DePaul has to be disappointing for the defending Big XII regular season champs. Northwestern have slid backwards after stunning UCLA, losing to BYU after a short turnaround and then contriving to lose against Kansas on Friday. Both teams are desperate for a win to regain some momentum, so we could see some fireworks.
Oklahoma vs Colorado College (2:00)
Oklahoma have gotten off to a decent start with a pair of wins over Tulsa and Stephen F. Austin and looked respectable against Oklahoma State in their opener. They’ll get a big test with Colorado College coming to town. The Tigers recovered from their shock defeat against Boise State with a comfortable mid-week win against Wyoming. If the Sooners want to make an impact in the Big XII this year, they should be able to get something out of this match.
Purdue vs USC (2:00 in Fullerton, California)
Purdue’s season didn’t exactly look like it had too much potential after a surprising extra time to defeat on opening day, but the Boilermakers have rallied to go undefeated since. It’s safe to say that USC will be big their biggest test to date though. For their part, the Trojans have also gone undefeated since their opening day loss, to better opposition than Purdue has faced no less, but the relative lack of goals flowing from the USC attack has to be very concerning to the Women of Troy.
Washington vs Wisconsin (4:30)
It’s gotta get started soon for Wisconsin if it’s going to happen for them this year. The Badgers haven’t just lost their opening three matches, they’ve been shut out in all three. They get yet another difficult assignment in a Washington team that flattened Syracuse on Friday. The Huskies can’t afford a Sunday slip-up like the one that derailed them last week against Boston University though as Wisconsin figures to come out with a backs to the wall performance indicative of their current predicament.