Grace Leer Will Be On The Prowl For More Goals Thursday Against Santa Clara
(All times listed are Eastern.)
Cal vs Santa Clara – 7:00 PM
A pulsating in-state rivalry that got two more chapters last season will be renewed again on Thursday night as Santa Clara travels to face Cal in an intriguing early season matchup. Last year’s matches were quite eventful, with Cal’s season being thrown into turmoil after Katie Benz’s broken leg in a blowout loss to the Broncos in the regular season, while the Golden Bears got their revenge in the NCAA Tournament, bouncing Santa Clara on penalties in the opening round.
It’s a different year of course, and the protagonists have shifted and changed on both sides. The Golden Bears didn’t exactly face the stiffest of opposition on opening weekend but may have seen a new star emerge nonetheless, as sophomore Grace Leer netted a hat trick in the club’s 5-2 win over San Jose State. She’ll surely relish the chance at running at a Santa Clara defense that cracked utterly and completely under Stanford’s second half pressure last week.
The Broncos entered their opener with hopes of finally topping their fierce rivals after recent seasons of playing second fiddle to the Card. Instead, they ended up looking as far out of their depth against Stanford as they ever had. There can’t be any feeling sorry for themselves though, as anything less than their best against Cal will likely result in another defeat. Given the likelihood of the Golden Bears being among the upper half of the Pac-12 this season, a win for SCU would be a boon for the RPI as well, raising the stakes even further here.
Dayton vs Boston University – 7:00 PM
Two of mid-major soccer’s brightest lights will get a showcase of their own on Thursday night as they get a national audience on Fox Soccer Channel. The host Flyers will be hoping for more positive fortunes after an up and down weekend that saw the club lose a heartbreaker in the opener to Texas before rebounding to pummel minnows UTSA on Sunday. With opportunities to boost the RPI before league play looking few and far between, Dayton knows that a victory here could be vital for their at-large bid hopes. They’ll hope some of their defensive failings that were exposed on the first weekend have been fixed and that their offense keeps scoring, with Juliana Libertin and Colleen Williams having combined for five goals on the first weekend.
They’ll face a stern challenge though from a Boston University side that didn’t skip a beat on opening weekend, taking home a pair of 3-0 wins despite some major personnel shifts going into the new season after the graduation of many standouts in the offseason. With most of the questions coming on offense, BU coped quite well last weekend, highlighted by a brace each for Jamie Turchi and Brea Hewitt. Additionally, junior Andrea Green has appeared to emerge as the club’s top option in goal, keeping two clean sheets for the Terriers this year. With BU banned from the America East Tournament this season, every match is absolutely critical to their NCAA Tournament hopes, and a win against Dayton would be another big step towards extending their streak of invitations to the Big Dance.