Back in Black – Stanford (and New Kits) Demolished Santa Clara With Six Second Half Goals
Stanford 6 (Nogueira 47′, Quon 53′, Sy. Payne 59′, Garciamendez 61′, Griffen 64′, 68′) – 1 (Klei 33′) Santa Clara
Stanford’s all black kit wasn’t the only unfamiliar sight for Cardinal fans through one half in Palo Alto, as the home side had labored and found themselves down by a goal to local rivals Santa Clara headed into the break. A few minutes after the restart though, Mariah Nogueira buried a header from Courtney Verloo’s corner kick, triggering an avalanche of goals that buried the Broncos. It restored parity after the visitors had led through an Olivia Klei half-volley just after the half-hour mark. Rachel Quon would give the club a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in the fifty-third minute, pouncing on a loose ball for the eventual game winner. More, much more, would follow for the Card who won their twenty-second game in a row, and fifty-first at home. Stanford’s response after the break was one of a champion, and they used a total team effort to destroy an opponent in a rivalry that’s becoming more marginalized by the season by the visitors’ seemingly increasing irrelevance on the biggest stage. Much harder is to come next week though, as Stanford travels to Penn State to play a Nittany Lions squad coming off a big win of their own on opening night. Paul Ratcliffe and his bunch will clearly be hoping Emily Oliver, out with injury in this one, can make it back in time for what’s sure to be a titanic tilt next Friday.
The first half was promising, the second excruciating for Santa Clara who look as far behind their rivals in the local pecking order as they’ve ever been. The defensive meltdown doesn’t exactly bode well, as the Broncos probably aren’t going to be winning too many slugfests early in the season without Sofia Huerta and Julie Johnston in the lineup. The scoreline may not be the worry as much as the complete and utter lack of composure the team showed in giving up six goals in a little over twenty minutes early in the second half. There’s little time to feel sorry for themselves though, as the Broncos have another challenging game on Thursday, as they travel to Cal, searching for revenge against a Cal team that knocked them out of the NCAA Tournament last season.
Portland 1 (Parker 5′) – 0 North Carolina
Portland scored early off a set piece through Ellen Parker and held on despite a barrage of offense from North Carolina to log their first ever win over the Tar Heels. A free kick to the right of the box was whipped in by Amanda Frisbie, where Parker was waiting to redirect it past goalkeeper Adelaide Gay for the eventual winning goal. Parker would clear the ball off the line in the tenth minute, but most of North Carolina’s other efforts in the half were restricted to attempts outside of the area. Carolina would perhaps come closest with about twenty minutes to play, when Summer Green’s long-range effort clipped the post. Portland would have late opportunities to add to their lead late, with Micaela Capelle heading against the bar before Gay saved Parker’s attempted shot on the rebound. This was a huge win for the Pilots, who may have been outshot but more than a 2:1 but only 5-4 in shots on goal. It’s clear that the Pilots don’t have a ton of bodies, using just thirteen players, but they stood fast and made their early lead count. Portland also looked very dangerous on set pieces, even beyond the opener, which should only make this Pilots squad more dangerous, especially if a lead striker doesn’t take the reins of the club early on. Portland plays Oregon State on Monday and should have a great opportunity to build momentum before a tantalizing showdown with La Salle in early September.
It could be far worse than just losing a game for North Carolina. The Heels saw Megan Brigman go down before a handful of minutes had been played and not return, spotted on crutches on the bench in the second half. Sophomore Brooke Elby would be stricken herself in the second half leaving on a cart in an air cast in a scary moment. If the injuries are as major as they looked, the Tar Heels could be in a world of hurt defensively. Such injuries could also open up a window for Crystal Dunn to move back into the backline upon her return from international duty. On the other hand, the Tar Heel offense didn’t exactly sparkle last night, with far too many off-target shots to be effective. Rookie Summer Green was lively, with seven shots on the night, but her decision making still reflected that of a freshman, with six of her efforts going off-target. There’s little time to regroup though, as the Heels get a Florida side motivated to erase memories of losing in a blowout to Miami (FL) next Friday.
Virginia 1 (Doniak 76′) – 3 (Costa 41′, Weber 76′, 88′) Penn State
In a battle of shorthanded teams, Penn State emerged victorious to lend further credence to their claim as College Cup contenders. The win was punctuated by a brace by Mallory Weber on her collegiate debut as the Nittany Lions surged late. A squad without their top two scoring options instead welcomed back old head Tani Costa, who opened her 2012 account a few minutes before the half, and Weber, who may have made herself one of the stars of the opening of the season after a dazzling debut. Costa would give her side the early lead after beating goalkeeper Danielle DeLisle to a ball at the top of the area and chipping the retreating netminder. The Cavs leveled matters in the second half as Makenzy Doniak headed home her first collegiate goal off an Erica Hollenberg corner kick. It was no less than Virginia deserved after an inspired second half fightback. UVA would pay for their complacency off the restart though, with Weber latching onto a through ball from Christine Nairn to retake the lead for PSU. Weber would seal the win shortly before full-time, this time converting another through ball from Erin Kehoe. The obvious question for PSU coming into the early part of this season was where the goals were going to come from without Maya Hayes and Taylor Schram. The answer was provided emphatically, with Costa and Weber both looking dangerous against a good Virginia team. Erin McNulty was assured in goal, and PSU looked very good on the whole. St. John’s (NY) should be easy pickings on Sunday before the big showdown with Stanford next Friday night.
There’ll be better days ahead for this Virginia squad, but it still has to be disappointing to have come out so flat before going right back behind after having equalized. Caroline Miller was dangerous as ever, but the club seemed to lack a second scoring threat, with Doniak likely coming closest from her role off the bench. Gloria Douglas, so effective as a super sub for UVA in the past, was relatively muted, as were so many of the Cavs’ ancillary attackers. Whether this is going to get any better before Morgan Brian returns is certainly up in the air. The same could be said about the team’s goalkeeping situation. While DeLisle may have kept the club in the game in the first half with some big saves, that she only played a half perhaps speaks volumes about the staff’s comfort level with giving her the keys to the job full-time. Goalkeeping rotations rarely work out at the highest level of the college game, meaning the battle between DeLisle and Churchill O’Connell will be worth watching going forward. UVA’s non-conference schedule for the next few weeks is depressingly unambitious, meaning we’ll have to wait until an August 31 showdown with Texas to get any clue as to how the club is evolving.
William & Mary 1 (Schaffer 66′) – 4 (Pecht 10′, Weinberg 14′, DeCesare 29′, Colas 38′) Duke
William & Mary came out slow and took a beating as a result, as national title contenders Duke destroyed the upset minded Tribe in Williamsburg. Placing immense pressure on the home side from the opening whistle, Duke wouldn’t need ten minutes to open the scoring, with rookie Cassie Pecht nodding home Natasha Anasi’s cross. The winning goal would come not five minutes later, as Katie Trees’ shot was parried, but only to Laura Weinberg, who made no mistake. Kim DeCesare would latch onto a Kaitlyn Kerr pass to make it 3-0, before Katy Colas finished Duke’s scoring in the thirty-eighth minute. The Tribe would get a consolation goal late through Mallory Schaffer, who hammered a shot from just outside the box past substitute keeper Ali Kershner. This was a downright frightening performance from Duke, who dismantled a very good opponent with a half of relentless attacking play. DeCesare in particular impressed, and could emerge this year without Kelly Cobb and Mollie Pathman involved early. It’s interesting to note that midfield maestro Kaitlyn Kerr played just forty minutes off the bench. Given her history of knee problems, it will be worth watching her minute distribution early to see whether the Blue Devils try to save her for the rigors of ACC play. That in mind, the junior may not see much action against minnows Elon on Sunday.
The Tribe learned a pretty harsh lesson on Friday. Come out slow against the very best teams, and nothing good usually follows. W&M played much better in the second half, but the game was essentially over as a contest at the break, offering the Tribe little comfort for their improved showing in the second stanza. A similar poor start against their next opponent, Tennessee, will likely be punished in kind next Friday. The Tribe’s at-large bid hopes haven’t totally been extinguished, but this heavy defeat certainly places more pressure on them to get a result out of the game in Knoxville next week.
Wisconsin 1 (Lam-Feist 84′) – 0 Notre Dame
Wisconsin got their new campaign out to a winning start thanks to a late Monica Lam-Feist goal and some staunch defending throughout against a youthful Notre Dame team. Starting seven freshmen, the Irish generally seemed to have the upper hand on the stat sheet on the evening but lacked the cutting edge in front of goal that kept the home side in with a shout all night. Lam-Feist would hit paydirt just a handful of minutes from time, after Wisconsin intercepted a pass in midfield, leading to the Canadian splitting a pair of defenders and hammering a twenty-five yard shot that kissed the left post before crossing the line. It was just the second shot on goal for Wisconsin all night, but it was the one that mattered most, giving the Badgers a priceless win. Damaged by graduation and other departures, few likely gave the home side much of a chance against a fancied Irish side with plenty of young talent, but credit the Badgers for persevering and finding a way to win late. The offense is still a bit of a work in progress, but the defense bent but didn’t break, with Lauren Gunderson doing a fine job in goal for the most part last night. The Badgers were able to win some big games last year too, but consistency eluded them, meaning it’s vital that Paula Wilkins’ side takes care of business with two winnable games before a trip to UCLA at the end of the month.
Irish supporters might need to take a deep breath or two after Friday’s display might have reminded them of last year’s at times offensively challenged squad. Notre Dame’s going to be an incredibly young side this season, as evidenced by the sheer volume of rookies that made the first XI here. They also might have some problems scoring goals until the likes of Mandy Laddish and Cari Roccaro return from international duty. Midfielder Elizabeth Tucker was the only player to put more than a shot on target, and the forward trio of Anna Maria Gilbertson, Lauren Bohaboy, and Crystal Thomas combined for just two shots and one on-target attempt on the evening. That’s obviously got to get much better if Notre Dame’s to challenge the top teams this season. In goal, freshman Elyse Hight got the nod in what seems like a wide open race, though it’s mildly surprising to see senior Maddie Fox displaced after starting for much of the stretch run last year. The club should have little problem with their next two matches before a huge weekend against Santa Clara and North Carolina.
Florida 1 (Falknor 58′) – 4 (Lombard 12′, Howarth 17′, Romagnuolo 32′, Shugg 67′) Miami (FL)
Florida slumped to a miserable defeat in their home opener, falling to state rivals Miami (FL) for the first time in over a decade. Miserable set piece defending was to blame for much of the Gators’ woes, with freshman Paige Lombard opening up the scoring early, heading home Ali Brennan’s corner kick in the twelfth minute. The eventual winning goal came from Kate Howarth not soon after, as the senior finished from short range from an Ashley Flinn pass. The shellshocked Gators would go into the half down by three goals after Tina Romagnuolo finished another corner kick after an initial shot from Ali Brennan had been saved by Taylor Burke. While Florida rookie Claire Falknor would make things more respectable right before the hour mark, Hurricanes forward Jesse Shugg would end any hopes of a great escape in the sixty-seventh minute, scoring on her club debut after transferring from Florida Atlantic in the offseason. The match was ill-tempered and fractious throughout, with five bookings combined and twenty fouls from a frustrated home side. To put it bluntly, this was an absolute disaster for the Gators. Florida looked anything but SEC favorites in capitulating so completely. The poor set piece defense speaks for itself, while the offense sputtered, with center forward McKenzie Barney going without a shot in fifty-seven ineffectual minutes. While rookie Claire Falknor showed signs of promise off the bench, there were very few bright spots to speak of for the defeated Gators who now face a murderous stretch of North Carolina, Duke, and Florida State in their next three games.
It may be time to believe the hype with this Miami (FL) squad. While their preseason form had certainly inspired hope, the Hurricanes made a huge statement on Friday night by destroying the rival Gators who had previously given them so many problems. The Hurricanes were brutally effective on set pieces and totally caught Florida napping in the first half, where they essentially put the game out of reach. The legion of freshmen and transfers Tom Anagnost has brought in worked a treat, with goals coming from three of those newcomers, while Emily Lillard, another transfer, kept watch in goal. Stock soaring, there’s no reason why Miami can’t be perfect going into next Sunday’s showdown with UCF in Orlando, and the Hurricanes also have a real shot of being unbeaten heading into ACC play in mid-September.
Pepperdine 4 (Guajardo 5′, 52′, Williams 17′, Pontes 42′) – 2 (Dillon 33′, Gulczynski 80′) San Diego
Pepperdine used an all-out assault on goal to bury fellow WCC co-champs San Diego in a non-conference meeting between these two league rivals. Senior Anisa Guajardo took center stage with two goals and an assist to lead the way for the home side. The tone was set early, as Guajardo took a backheel from Lynn Williams and slammed it home in the fifth minute. Williams double the lead not twelve minutes later after a break with Guajardo to leave USD reeling. The Toreros’ Emily Dillon would deposit home a cross from Erica Peeples to give the visitors hope, but the Waves would restore a two-goal lead going into the break after Ana Pontes ripped a ball into the upper corner of the goal for her first score in over a season. Guajardo headed home Pao’s free kick early in the second half to wrap up the win, though Meggie Gulczynski would make USD pressure pay late, though it was little more than a consolation. You got the feeling that Pepperdine was only beginning to tap into their potential last season, and they ran a new look San Diego off the park in the opener, though the Toreros certainly had their moments. The attacking duo of Guajardo and Williams are going to be a handful for any team, and South African international keeper Roxanne Barker did well to repel many USD attacks. The Waves will likely be favored in every game now until a potentially massive showdown in Westwood against UCLA in mid-September.
If there were any doubts that there were going to be some growing pains for San Diego in 2012, Friday’s result should confirm those fears. The Toreros are going to have to learn how to win with a lot of unfamiliar faces in the lineup after mass graduations hit the club. The goalkeeping situation looks to be a serious concern, with starter McKenna Tollack pulled after just twenty-two minutes, though replacement Michelle Craft also conceded twice. That San Diego scored twice has to be a little relieving, but this isn’t a team that looks built to come back from multiple goal deficits, as was shown on Friday. The non-conference schedule is relentless though, and if the club doesn’t beat Cal State Northridge on Sunday, they may struggle to find a victory with the likes of Texas A&M, USC, Duke, and North Carolina yet to come.
Minnesota 2 (Uhl 6′, Thyken 7′) – 3 (Brynjarsdottir 14′, Kervroedan 62′, Jaurena 87′) Florida State
Minnesota stunned Florida State with two haymakers early, but the Seminoles dragged themselves off the mat with three unanswered goals to escape with a 3-2 victory in a pulsating match in Minneapolis. The Golden Gophers opened up the scoring in the sixth minute when Taylor Uhl pounced on a turnover and went on a galloping run before beating goalkeeper Kelsey Wys for a shock lead. Wys would be at fault for the second goal, as a clearance from outside the area landed at the feet of Katie Thyken who was left an open net which she took full advantage of. The two goal advantage wouldn’t last long, as Dagny Brynjarsdottir finished off a Tiffany McCarty pass to halve the deficit. FSU would have to wait until just after the hour mark to draw level, after Cat Parkhill punched a Kristin Grubka flick-on but right to Nora Kervroedan at the top of the box, who volleyed home in some style. Minnesota hearts would be broken late, as Ines Jaurena headed home a ball from Jessica Price to complete the win for FSU. The Noles certainly showed their mettle in a well balanced offensive effort to come back for the win. Mark Krikorian’s side can’t afford too many more slow starts though, especially given the calibre of opposition to come. It’s interesting to note Casey Short, once an attacker, playing now in defense, though that might change once Kassey Kallman returns from Japan. One wonders about Kelsey Wys though, after another erratic performance in goal. While Wys did commit a howler for the second goal conceded, she also kept the club in it with some great second half saves, meaning the Noles may have to continue to take the good with the bad in goal. If FSU can play as they did for much of the time after the first ten minutes on Friday, they should be in good shape against Marquette on Sunday.
Minnesota certainly doesn’t have anything to hang their heads about after a battling effort on Friday. The Golden Gophers are probably kicking themselves a bit after not putting away one of their chances in the second half, but it was still a great effort all around. The likes of Uhl and Taylor Wodnick are going to give opposing defenses all sorts of problems, while the defense can take heart in knowing they aren’t going to be facing too many offenses as a capable as FSU’s. Moral victories are nice, but they don’t replace the real thing, and the pressure will still be on to get a win on Sunday afternoon. South Carolina will be just as desperate having drawn with Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and neither of the two sides will want to go winless on opening weekend.
West Virginia 1 (McCarthy 2′, Blosser SENT OFF 90′) – 2 (Gray 60′, McVicker 65′) La Salle
West Virginia scored seventy-eight seconds into their match with La Salle but then didn’t record another shot on goal, falling to two second half goals from the Explorers in an impressive 2-1 win for the visitors. The home side looked to be in imperious form early, as Bry McCarthy intercepted a pass at midfield, dribbled into the box and fired true to give WVU the lead with the fastest goal scored by the club at home in program history. It was all downhill from there though, as the Explorers equalized at the hour mark, with Leigh Gray finishing off a cross from Renee Washington, being left criminally unmarked. The winner would come soon after, as Jourdan McVicker headed home Maryam Huseini’s corner kick. The deficit would have been worse if not for fine saves from WVU keeper Sara Keane, including stonewalling Kelsey Haycook on a penalty late in the match. A common complaint last season was that La Salle’s record had been largely manufactured with a tame non-conference schedule, but those complaints certainly won’t apply this year after an eye-opening win. La Salle responded impressively to adversity and made the hosts look shockingly tame for much of the match. The Explorers should extend their twenty-game regular season winning streak next Saturday against Iona before a huge weekend in Seattle.
It was an altogether baffling performance from West Virginia, who looked like having control after that early goal but then not even managing a shot on goal for the rest of the match. The much vaunted offensive combo of Frances Silva and Kate Schwindel fizzled, with neither managing a shot on goal and just three shots combined overall. In reality, the margin of defeat could’ve been much worse had Keane not come up big. To make matters worse, the club lost starting midfielder Kara Blosser for the next match after she was sent off at full-time, reportedly for dissent. Considering WVU’s started slow and built steam late so many times before, a single loss like this shouldn’t be great cause for worry. But after what should be a layup on Sunday, the club has four very challenging games in a row, meaning the Mountaineers better get it together in a hurry.
Missouri 5 (Johnson 15′, Adeshigbin 50′, 51′, Diggs 58′, 59′) – 1 (Schryvers 51′) Memphis
Missouri used a four goal flurry in the span of ten minutes to KO Memphis and end the visitors’ eight game winning streak over SEC clubs in decisive fashion. Missouri had led from the quarter hour mark after finishing off Haley Krentz’s corner kick at the far post. After some errant finishing from Memphis led to Mizzou holding their lead through the break, the home side pounced on a turnover in the box, with Taiwo Adeshigbin hammering a shot from fifteen yards to double the lead. It set up a furious sequence that saw Tine Schryvers score for the visitors from short range to make it 2-1. Adeshigbin restored the two goal advantage shortly after, with junior Alyssa Diggs adding two more in short order to bury Memphis with a four goal deficit. Missouri is quite the dangerous team when they’re clicking on all cylinders, and they certainly were in prime form on Friday, dispatching their opponent with a ruthless attack early in the second half. Five goals from twelve shots is obviously a great return, but stifling the Memphis attack for the most part has to be just as impressive, with the club giving up just one shot on goal. Consistency of course is the real measure of a contender, and now the Tigers have to keep it going on Sunday against UC Santa Barbara before a trip out west to Berkeley next weekend to play a strong Cal side.
This ain’t last year’s Memphis side, a fact cruelly exposed in the opening hour of Friday’s contest. A big question going into the new year was how these Tigers were going to handle life early this year without key pieces due to the U20 World Cup. Friday’s match certainly didn’t make for great viewing for fans of the C-USA champs though, as a young Memphis club looked out of their depth against their opponents and showed a distinct lack of composure early in the second half as Missouri buried them. In this case, two weeks off might do Memphis some good, as the club is idle until a match against Arkansas State at the end of the month that could be a confidence booster. More than likely though, these Tigers will be eagerly counting down the days until some of their international stars return from Japan.
Texas 3 (Cummins 11′, 99′, Shutter 81′) – 2 (Williams 3′, Libertin 87′) Dayton [aet]
Texas ensured Angela Kelly’s reign as head coach got off to a winning start with a dramatic extra time victory over Dayton. Senior Kristin Cummins sealed a brace with the winner in the first half of the extra periods after the Longhorns had thrown away a 2-1 lead down the stretch. The game had begun in nightmare fashion for the home side, after a corner kick from Alexis Garcia wasn’t cleared properly, allowing Colleen Williams to pounce and finish assuredly after befuddling the Texas defense. It was a rare bright moment for Williams, who was shut down for much of the match by the Longhorn defense. Cummins hit a rocket from thirty yards after a poor clearance from goalkeeper Katherine Boone, leveling the score. It’d stay 1-1 until late in the contest when Sydney Shutter had seemingly won Texas the match with a goal on her debut, putting home a Cummins pass with the goalmouth gaping. A ball hoofed long by Garcia would be run onto by Juliana Libertin, who equalized with just a few minutes remaining, to send the game to extra time. Cummins would lace a curving shot after a cross from Hannah Higgins, depositing the ball just inside the outer post, sparking celebrations from the home side. Texas certainly showed that despite being young and incorporating many new pieces, that they aren’t about to make it easy on anyone. Cummins in particular was a revelation for the Horns who did very well to battle back from an early deficit and overcome the late equalizer to win. Everything up until the late August showdown against Virginia should be winnable, meaning it’s for Texas to build some momentum if they harbor NCAA Tournament hopes.
Dayton may end up kicking themselves come the end of the season if they’re anywhere near the bubble after this result. They could have few complaints in the end though, as they were outshot in both on-target and off-target attempts by a 2:1 margin, with Williams doing little after scoring the opener. This match may have revealed both the good and the bad in this year’s Dayton squad, as the Flyers scored twice but still managed to fall to defeat. There have been few worries over the offense, which is probably going to score in bulk, but giving up three goals to a Texas squad still trying to gel in large part could be worrisome. With few chances to really notch big wins to boost the RPI, Dayton really needed this one, and the pressure is on now to string together a lot of wins before A10 play comes at the end of September.
UC Irvine 2 (Wood PK 73′, Utvich 90′) – 3 (Fernandes 30′, Murphy 53′, Thornock 99′) [aet]
BYU blew a two goal lead late in the second half but survived to claim victory after scoring late in the first half of extra time. The Cougars took advantage of UCI’s sluggish start, getting on the board at the half-hour mark through Niki Fernandes, who finished at the near post from a Jaiden Thornock pass. The lead would grow early in the second half, as Dana Oldroyd Cusick’s cross bounced to Michelle Murphy in the area, with the resulting shot deflecting off a defender and wrong footing Jennifer Randazzo in goal to put Irvine in all sorts of trouble. Randazzo would deny BYU a three goal lead with a diving stop on Jessica Ringwood, allowing the club to close the gap with a Rachel Wood penalty following an inadvertent handball in the box. BYU tried to hold on desperately, but Jordan Utvich would toe poke a Zoya Farzaneh cross over the line in the final minute of regulation sending the match to extra frames. A long boot from BYU keeper Erica Owens would spell the end for UCI though, as Thornock slipped around Devon Delarosa, firing a shot from range inside the near post to spare BYU’s blushes. Ironically, BYU, looking for a big non-conference win all of last year, may have gotten it right off the bat in 2012. The Cougars have a ton of offensive weapons and showed their might early, though the fade down the stretch probably has to concern head coach Jennifer Rockwood some. The club will be favored against Arizona on Thursday before the rivalry match against Utah on the road next Saturday, which could be pivotal for both clubs.
Irvine will likely be rueing their slow start after looking like a different team once the urgency set in late. The combo of Natalia Ledezma and Wood up front looked like it had great potential, though the defense obviously needs to tighten things up in a hurry. Emphasis on that last part, because if Irvine comes out slowly against Texas A&M, they probably aren’t going to get an opportunity to charge back against the high powered Aggie offense. The schedule eases up a bit after Monday’s match with A&M, but even so, UCI will not be thrilled with starting the season 0-2-0, meaning the Anteaters will likely come out with their hair on fire against the Aggies.
Wake Forest 4 (Meier 27′, Nuzzolese PK 39′, Dry 85′, Marshall 87′) – 1 (Hayden 65′) Richmond
Despite the absence of scoring machine Katie Stengel, Wake Forest had little trouble dispensing with a toothless Richmond side, the Spiders also missing their goal getting talisman in Becca Wann. The Demon Deacons continued last season’s theme of set piece mastery, scoring three of their four goals from dead ball situations. The opener was the only goal for Wake from the run of play, as Marisa Park cross from the right side, with Ally Berry squaring for Kristen Meier who was left with a tap-in. Riley Ridgik was felled in the box during a corner kick some twelve minutes later, allowing Rachel Nuzzolese to clamly finish from the spot to send the club into the break two goals to the good. Despite a laggard offensive performance for much of the day, Richmond would give themselves a lifeline after the hour mark, with Meghan Hayden sending a rocket past Aubrey Bledose for her first collegiate goal. Set piece breakdowns would prove fatal late though, as Berry chested a corner down for Katie Dry to finish with five minutes to play, while Kim Marshall headed home from another corner kick just a few minutes later to complete a comprehensive victory. While the late goals made the scoreline unseemly for the A10 side, there could be little doubting who the deserved winners were, especially after a first half display that saw the Demon Deacons hold Richmond without a shot. Wake also showed that if club’s keep giving them set piece opportunities, goals will follow, with three coming directly or indirectly from corner kicks. Add in the return of Stengel in time, and this Demon Deacon side looks like making a deep run in November.
Richmond probably wasn’t beating Wake with Becca Wann, and they sure as hell weren’t beating them without her. The Spiders have to be disappointed to have come out so flat early on though, not logging a shot until the second half. All said, while their second half effort was better, they still only managed to put a single shot on goal, not answering any questions about how their offense would fare without Wann at the helm. Then again, Wake’s defense is solid as a rock, so Richmond might get a truer test on Sunday against Virginia Tech. While that doesn’t figure to be an easy matchup, it’s one Richmond will want to get something from as they try and put together a strong non-conference resume before A10 play starts.
Rice 0 – 1 (Klein 40′) Baylor
A comfortable performance from Baylor saw them run out 1-0 winners over state rivals Rice on Friday night, though the margin of victory could have, and perhaps should have, been much greater. The Bears would get all the offense they needed late in the first half, as Alex Klein rose to meet a deep cross from Katie Daigle, beating defenders to the ball and heading into the upper-left corner. Rice keeper Amy Czyz kept her side afloat throughout, being forced into eight saves on the night to keep the scoreline respectable. Baylor’s defense was more than up to the task on the other end, keeping the Owls’ offense quiet to the tune of just two shots on goal. Though the end result was likely a little too close for Marci Jobson’s tastes, this was still a mature display from a Bears side still trying to gain more recognition on the national stage. The finishing does have to get better by the business end of the season, but Baylor still did relatively well against a solid Rice defense. Northwestern State should offer little challenge on Sunday before a potentially tricky road trip out to California.
Rice boss Nicky Adams was less than pleased with the result, bemoaning how stretched her club was, leaving forward Lauren Hughes with little support up front. The absence of Jessica Howard, who did not play, was definitely felt, and Owls supporters will be anxiously waiting her return to the lineup. Though Rice whiffed on their first chance to net a feather in their cap in non-conference play, there are multiple chances remaining to make good on their potential. That includes next Friday against LSU, where the Tigers will be eager to get revenge for last season’s surprising upset in Houston.
Utah 0 – 1 (Flynn 94′) Utah State [aet]
Utah State’s unblemished record at Rio Tinto Stadium was extended once more, as the Aggies topped Pac-12 side Utah for the second straight season. While head coach Heather Cairns played down her team’s performance, USU would still run out winners in extra time as Jennifer Flynn’s shot from range took a cruel deflection off a Utah defender to wrongfoot Utah keeper Cheyanne Mulcock and seal the Aggie win. Though Utah outshot their rivals 16-8 and 7-4 in on-target shots, the WAC side still managed to just find a way to win, despite not playing their best ball. Flynn ended up being USU’s only player to managed more than a single shot on goal, and the midfielder was a fitting scorer of the winner for the Aggies. The defense definitely bent, but it didn’t break with star defender Natalie Norris leading the efforts and Ashlyn Mulford doing well in goal in just her third career start. A tricky match with UTEP awaits USU back at home on Sunday afternoon, and if the Aggies want to harbor hopes of an at-large bid, they’ve got to come out firing against a game opponent in Logan.
For all their improvement last season, Utah’s struggles in non-conference play seem to have carried over to the start of the new season. The Utes were perhaps unfortunate not to have scored in regulation, especially in the second half, being denied by Mulford on multiple occasions. While the Utes may have controlled much of the run of play, they struggled to carve out clear chances and paid the price in the end. Many of the Utah youngsters showed well, but it’s clear that at this stage, the Utes are still a work in progress and likely will be for a while considering this club has just one senior on the roster. Southern Utah on Thursday should be an easy win before the big rivalry game against BYU on Saturday.
Milwaukee 0 – 0 South Carolina
Milwaukee and South Carolina may have ultimately been left with more questions than answers after a tepid scoreless draw in each’s opener of the 2012 season. While both sides created opportunities for the opening goal, it came for neither, with worries of a lack of cutting edge proving to be founded for both sides. Carolina came close near the end of the first half, with Taylor Leach’s header being gobbled up by Panthers goalkeeper Jamie Forbes in the nick of time. Christa Neary headed over a corner kick in the second half, while Forbes was called upon to make a reflex save on a Danielle Au shot late in regulation. The Panthers themselves came close to sealing a win late in the second half, but Kelly Lewers was denied on a 1v1 attempt by Darien Vercillo, standing in for Sabrina D’Angelo, on international duty with Canada at the U20 World Cup. While both clubs would trade opportunities in the extra frames, the match was destined to end scoreless. Considering the wholesale changes for the home side at both the top and within the playing roster, to have drawn the defending SEC champs isn’t such a bad achievement. While the Panthers were under much pressure early, things evened out as time went on, and a draw was probably a fair result. At the same time, Milwaukee might be kicking themselves, as Lewers, who was dangerous for much of the night, hit right at Vercillo on a clear cut chance. Finding a scorer to net consistently is still paramount, but St. Bonaventure on Sunday should be a winnable game before the derby against Marquette next Friday night.
South Carolina’s offense is still clearly trying to find a foothold after the loss of Kayla Grimsley, who did so much for the team these past four seasons. Danielle Au, a midfielder last season, has seemingly taken a much larger offensive role to start out the new season, and was a dangerous threat throughout, with four of the club’s eight shots on goal. Rookie Coryn Bajema was the other Gamecock with more than one shot on goal, and Carolina are likely going to need her and other freshmen to continue to step up if they’re to contend this year. The defensive solidity was reassuring for Shelley Smith’s side, and they’ll need more of the same on Sunday against a solid Minnesota attack before the schedule eases up some for the final weeks of non-conference play.
Colorado College 1 (Froetscher 62′) – 0 Denver
A goal from Lynn Froetscher right after the hour mark lifted Colorado College to a victory over state rivals Denver that could also prove important come Selection Monday. Froetscher, who had missed all of last year through injury knocked home a shot from Jessie Ayers that had been previously stopped. What shouldn’t be lost is the impressive defensive performance from the Colorado College rearguard despite playing in front of a rookie keeper. The Tigers held Denver offensive stars Kaitlin Bast and Kristen Hamilton to just one combined shot on goal, though Nicholette DiGiacomo managed three on-target efforts. Notre Dame transfer Kecia Morway played ninety minutes and could end up being one of the best transfer signings of the season. This is exactly the type of win CC needed for any at-large bid hopes, and with Colorado on Sunday, the Tigers could make it a huge weekend with a result there.
For a club that’s fallen prey to a lack of non-conference results as they’ve been left out of the NCAA Tournament the past few years, this was exactly what Denver didn’t need. The Pioneers’ much vaunted offense sputtered noticeably and couldn’t make an improved second half performance count after going behind. DU’s at-large bid hopes probably aren’t totally quashed with just one loss, but the Pioneers need to string wins together before their next big test against Colorado. That begins Sunday with a match against Big Sky club Northern Colorado.