Ines Jaurena and Florida State Will Try To Cap A Perfect Weekend With a Win Over Marquette
Marquette vs Florida State – 2:00 PM
Marquette and Florida State will clash on Sunday afternoon in a mouthwatering early season matchup between two traditional league powers. Both clubs won on Friday but in far different fashions. The home side rolled right through overmatched St. Bonaventure, while FSU were forced to come back from two goals down against Minnesota on the road. Such a slow start against the Golden Eagles would not be advisable, as Markus Roeders’ side showed their skill on both offense and defense on Friday and will surely relish a big opportunity on Sunday.
The Noles battled back in style against the Golden Gophers and used a well balanced offensive display to walk out with a win. The club’s French Connection of senior Ines Jaurena and rookie Nora Kervroedan worked a treat, with both scoring for the Noles. While the show of offense was impressive, FSU has to certainly tighten up their defense, with Marquette’s Rachael Sloan and Maegan Kelly likely to test a Seminole defense still trying to find their feet after personnel shuffles in the offseason. Both of these sides surely have RPI positioning on their minds, even at this early point, knowing a win over the other would go a long way come November in trying to lock up home advantage as deep into the NCAA Tournament as possible.
Florida Gulf Coast vs UCF – 1:00 PM
On a day where many mid-majors will get to show that they belong at the big table, Florida Gulf Coast and UCF will do battle to establish a place in the state pecking order. The Eagles bludgeoned non-DI Lynn on Friday in a tune-up act, but they’ve got a much bigger challenge against UCF, who eased past South Florida in their opener. FGCU did the double in the A-Sun last season, but last year’s squad bears only a passing resemblance to this year’s unit, as a wide wave of graduation has necessitated a ringing of the changes for the Eagles.
Their opponents used a balanced display to take down South Florida on Friday and will be looking for more of the same Sunday. The Golden Knights certainly have much to live up to after last season’s Elite Eight run but have to deal with some losses of their own, most notably in goal, where Lianne Maldonado appears to have won the race to supplant Aline Reis.
While stakes are high both ways, the home side arguably have much more on the line. An at-large bid might be hard to come by, but at the very least, FGCU wants to gain as much ground in the RPI as possible to try and position themselves away from the state’s big schools should they make the NCAA Tournament. This could well represent their best chance to record a big win, so the Eagles will likely be hellbent on getting a result on Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota vs South Carolina – 1:00 PM
Minneapolis plays host to a Sunday showdown between clubs desperate to avoid a winless weekend, as the hometown Golden Gophers hope to shoot down defending SEC champions South Carolina. There was little wrong with Minnesota’s offense on Friday as they blitzed Florida State early en route to a 2-0 lead. The defense couldn’t deal with the pressure though, while Minnesota were stopped from scoring a third, and potentially decisive goal. Taylor Uhl spearheads the charge for the home side, but she’ll have to be at her best to get beyond a South Carolina defense that shutout Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Friday.
A matchup of clubs looking for new offensive talismans ended up in a rather tame scoreless draw, as neither side could find the vital breakthrough through a hundred and ten minutes. Darien Vercillo competently filled the shoes of U20 World Cup bound Sabrina D’Angelo but will certainly get a bigger test on Sunday against Minnesota’s frontline. SC will be looking to do a little probing of their own, with Danielle Au looking likeliest to cause problems for the Minnesota defense. With both of these clubs far from immune from a bubble battle, getting a win here is imperative, leading to what looks like a compelling showdown on Sunday.
Rutgers vs Ohio State – 1:00 PM
After an upsetting opening night, Ohio State will be under pressure to get their first win of the season in New Jersey, as they travel to play Big East side Rutgers. The Buckeyes were among the nation’s most prominent upset victims on Friday, as they put on an utterly toothless display, capped off by a clanger in goal from Rachel Middleman that promptly saw her get the hook in favor of rookie Jillian McVicker. The goalkeeping situation for the Buckeyes will be just one storyline to follow going into Sunday, as Lori Walker will also want to rectify the club’s woeful offensive display that saw OSU put up just seven shots and one shot on goal against Hofstra. Picked as one of the Big Ten’s better squads this season, the Buckeyes will not want to entertain the possibility of going into the second weekend of the season without a win.
Their opponents on Sunday won’t have the same problem having eased past Monmouth on Friday. It included a brace from Canadian international Jonelle Filigno, who returned to collegiate action for the first time since an Achilles’ injury ended her season last year. Hoping to finally put together a strong season with the Scarlet Knights, the Canadian forward will be eager to test whoever’s in goal for the Buckeyes in a tantalizing Sunday clash.
Illinois State vs Illinois – 2:00 PM
It’s one of the biggest regular season matches in ages for the home side, as they try and prove their credentials as a contender against the defending Big Ten Tournament champion Fighting Illini. Drew Roff’s side labored a bit in their opener against Southeast Missouri State, even admitting that it “wasn’t a beautiful game”, but the club still came out victorious, which sets up this in-state showdown nicely. It was hardly surprising that sophomore Rachel Tejada ended up on the scoresheet again on Friday night, netting both goals for the Redbirds.
She’ll take aim at an Illini side that certainly had some problems of their own against Western Michigan on Friday. Against the Broncos, Illinois was outshot 20-9 and 8-5 in shots on goal but escaped with a win thanks to an early second half penalty converted by Kassidy Brown. Caretaker boss Jeff Freeman knows that his side needs to show much better as they travel to Normal to take on the Redbirds. Given the lack of offensive punch shown by his side against the MAC contenders, getting into a hole early could spell trouble. Then again, the home side could be under pressure themselves, knowing that this is their best shot at a win that could make or break their RPI profile if an at-large bid is needed in November. It equals high stakes and what should be a fun matchup on Sunday afternoon.
Virginia Tech vs Richmond – 2:30 PM
Richmond will get one more chance to defy the odds and claim an ACC scalp in what could also be their best remaining chance to get an RPI boosting result. The Spiders confirmed some fears on Friday as they struggled to engage against a Wake Forest side that put them through the motions en route to a heavy win over the Spiders. Peter Albright’s side was always going to struggle without Becca Wann up front, but he probably hoped for a little better than a measly one shot on goal. Richmond’s defense also got a workout, giving up six shots on goal, but four of those went in, a very troublesome statistic.
Their opponents Sunday probably aren’t of Wake’s calibre, but they’ll still have a lot to prove after a rather pedestrian performance on Friday night. The Hokies made heavy work of a UNC Wilmington team most expected them to crush. The Seahawks took the game to extra time, where Shannon Mayrose spared VT’s blushes with a header to end the match. Much better will be expected and required on Sunday if the home side are to emerge victorious. At least the Hokies could take pride in knowing that goalkeeper Caroline Kelly, making her debut for the club, proved a competent stand-in for Dayle Colpitts, on international duty with Canada at the moment. She figures to be tested again on Sunday against a Richmond club hoping to come away with a big result in a very difficult weekend.
Colorado College vs Colorado – 6:00 PM (Colorado Cup)
Two programs looking for a renaissance will try and take another step towards that goal in the de facto title game of the Colorado Cup on Sunday evening. The host Tigers vanquished fellow Colorado mid-major Denver by a 1-0 margin on Friday afternoon, riding a second half goal and a stellar defensive performance to shut down a powerful Pioneers attack. They’ll look to complete a perfect weekend against a Colorado side who won their first game under Danny Sanchez, dispatching of Northern Colorado by a comfortable margin, though the 3-0 scoreline flattered the Pac-12 side by many accounts. The Buffs are aiming to further erase the traumatic memories of the past few seasons with another win in the state’s unofficial championship.
While the Tigers did a great job defensively against Denver, there could be a new challenge on Sunday, as they try and slow down in-form Anne Stuller and two-way threat Amy Barczuk, who is a threat going forward, as well as being a strong defender. While neither side got a sniff of the NCAA Tournament last season, victory here would put each at 2-0-0 and likely feeling much better about their odds of making a run towards the postseason exiting the first week of the season.