Ohio State and Paige Maxwell Will Be Under Pressure on Sunday
After Friday’s dazzling array of matches, Sunday calms down a little bit as some teams take the rest of the weekend to regather themselves while others have scheduled mismatches to get through the first Sunday of the season. Here are eight games to follow on Sunday. All times listed are Eastern.
Maryland vs Missouri (11:00)
Maryland barely broke a sweat in pummeling Iona on Friday night to the tune of 6-0. Their opponents had the misfortune of being caught up in the weather system that also wrecked a handful of other matches that night. Let the record show the Tigers aren’t Iona. If the Terps want to stamp their status as contenders, they can start with a win over last season’s Big XII champs.
North Carolina vs Michigan State (11:30 in College Station, Texas)
The Tar Heels didn’t just pass their opening test with flying colors, they kicked sand in its face, ran over it, and did it with style. The challenge for North Carolina now is developing the consistency that defines champions. There’s no respite for the defending national champions though, as a Michigan State team coming off a victory of their own will be waiting. How Carolina handles the Spartans’ Laura Heyboer, especially if the defense is missing injury worry Rachel Givan, will be fun to watch.
Dayton vs Toledo (1:00)
This one has a whole lot more meaning after the events of Friday night, when Dayton needed extra time to get past Butler while Toledo shocked Purdue in their own extra time affair. If the Rockets can upend their state rivals, it will cap a huge weekend for them that could have significant repercussions come Selection Show Monday, if Dayton cleans out the A10 and Purdue has a good season in the Big Ten.
Ohio State vs Marquette (1:00)
Losing their home opener probably won’t have made Buckeye fans too thrilled, but the hand wringing will begin in earnest if Lori Walker’s team can’t even their record against Marquette. The Golden Eagles didn’t exactly get a challenge from Idaho State on Friday night. A two game losing streak to open the season could be just the kind of setback that could sour Ohio State’s season early on.
New Mexico vs Nebraska (2:00)
The Huskers weren’t exactly convincing in their exhibition loss to Denver, and now they face a confident New Mexico team that lit up Montana on Friday. How Nebraska does in a hostile environment that awaits them could be a barometer of how their season might go.
Notre Dame vs Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2:30)
Minnesota gave the Irish all they could handle on Friday, and the next member of Notre Dame’s veritable Gauntlet O’ Doom comes into South Bend on a high, having toppled Ohio State in Columbus just a few days earlier. Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s two goalkeepers were in fine form in shutting down the Buckeyes, but stopping Melissa Henderson, Lauren Fowlkes, and company is another task entirely. Then again, Sarah Hagen of the Panthers is a handful herself, bound to test the Irish defense.
Texas A&M vs St. John’s (2:30)
I don’t think the Aggies are going to be generous hosts after the embarrassment against UNC on Friday night. St. John’s are no slouch though, defeat against Michigan State notwithstanding. The Johnnies are notoriously difficult to break down, and one has to wonder how soon frustration will set in for A&M if they’re unable to put one in the back of the net against their visitors.
UCF vs Florida (7:05)
The Gators weren’t exactly at the top of their game against visiting Miami on Friday evening, something that will have to be rectified in a hurry if they want to still be undefeated come late Sunday night. The Golden Knights have made their Orlando home a very difficult place to play, just ask Florida State, who fell 1-0 to UCF at their house last season. Expect a physical encounter. Amanda Cromwell’s team isn’t going to be pushed around by anybody, even a team with a lot of SEC trophies in their display case.