List of unbeatens shrinks in week 4 of college soccer
A pair of derbies on opposite sides of the country highlighted college soccer action in week four as bragging rights were up for grabs in Baltimore and the City of Angels.
The Baltimore derby between unbeaten Loyola and UMBC did not, unfortunately, deliver the highly anticipated match-up of two of the nation’s best forwards thanks to a red card Loyola’s Larry Ndjock picked up late in his previous game against Princeton, but it was still an exciting affair that saw Pete Caringi III and his fellow Retrievers keep their unblemished record in tact on a rainy night in Baltimore by beating the Greyhounds 3-1 to go 7-0 on the season. Caringi’s goal ran his D-1 leading goal tally to nine, equaling that of Delaware’s Guillermo Delgado, while midfielder Geaton Caltabiano scored a goal and ran his assist tally on the season to 7, which is good enough for second in the nation.
Cal State Northridge, meanwhile, was unable to push their record to 8-0 in the Los Angeles derby with UCLA Sunday night as the Bruins handed them their first loss of the season behind braces from junior Leo Stolz and senior Victor Stolz. There are now only 15 divsion 1 teams on the list of unbeatens with UMBC the only team left that has won all of their games. Among the still unbeaten are the Dayton Flyers, who have an impressive 7-0 mark that looks less impressive when you tally up the records of their opponents and consider three of the teams haven’t won a game yet and only one has a winning record.
Clemson was dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten by Maryland on Saturday night as defending player of the year Patrick Mullins converted two goals from the spot to power the Terps to a 3-1 win in South Carolina. Wisconsin also saw their dream run to start the season stutter with a 2-0 loss to Gonzaga in the final game of the UIC Classic in Chicago.
Creighton kicked off their first year in the new Big East in dramatic fashion as freshman Fabian Herbers buried a free kick from 23 yards out with less than two minutes remaining in the second overtime to edge St. John’s 1-0 in front of a Morrison Stadium crowd of 5,282. Check out video of the goal HERE. In another battle of ranked teams, UConn beat Saint Louis 2-1 on Saturday night in Storrs on a free kick from 25 yards out by midfielder Ethan Decker that proved to be the game-winner.
The ACC grind continued as Notre Dame drew Boston College 1-1 Saturday and Virginia Tech held North Carolina in a scoreless draw on Friday. Notre Dame and North Carolina both remain unbeaten but each have three draws already on the young season and matching 3-0-3 records. Of the 18 games played so far this season in the toughest conference in the country, six have ended up tied and ACC teams have a combined 16 draws on the season. Furman continued its offensive exploits with a 5-0 win over East Tennessee State on Friday night, one week after bagging eight goals in a shutout win over Presbyterian. Only four other D-1 teams (UMBC, Northridge, Cal Poly and Delaware) have scored more than the 5-1-0 Paladins so far this season.
As individual accolades go, few things will draw a goalie more attention than scoring a goal like the one Northern Kentucky’s A.J. Fleak did (see video HERE), but it was also an impressive week for Penn State freshman Mark Wadid, who bagged a pair of game-winning goals in 1-0 wins over Robert Morris and Duquesne. The former Canadian U18 striker has three game-winning goals on the season, which matches the number of Akron standout senior Reinaldo Bremes. Bremes, a forward from Costa Rica, scored the game-winner from 12 yards out to beat Bowling Green and stretch the Zips’ conference unbeaten streak to 48 matches.
UC Santa Barbara forward Achille Campion had a brace in a 3-1 win over Yale to help his coach, Tim Vom Steeg, earn his 200th career win and fellow senior, Notre Dame standout Harrison Shipp, scored in a win over Michigan and draw with Boston College. Cal’s fifth year defender Steve Birnbaum continued to state his case for the Hermann Trophy with goals in wins over Colgate and College of Charleston to keep the Bears unbeaten while leading a back line that only conceded once over the two game stretch and has only conceded four through six games. Northwestern midfielder Chris Ritter also scored a pair of goals over the weekend to lead the surging Wildcats to their sixth straight win after opening the season with a 3-1 loss to UC Santa Barbara.
I was also impressed with the performance of Georgetown freshman Alex Muyl in a Thursday night game I saw at the University of Pennsylvania. While Brandon Allen and Steve Neumann’s skills were on full display in the Hoyas dominate 3-0 victory, the performance of the Red Bull Academy product from New York City was equally as impressive as he gave Quaker defenders fits all night, weaving his way through the Penn defense to score the first goal of his Georgetown career and juking a defender to deliver a superb cross to Allen for a goal. Muyl also delivered an assist in the Hoyas 3-2 win over Princeton on Sunday. Reigning High School Player of the Year Cristian Roldan opened his scoring account for Washington with a goal in a 5-0 dismantling of Florida Gulf Coast on Friday, one of two wins on the week for the 5-0-2 Huskies.
Joining Fleak as a candidate for goal of the week would most certainly have to be the ridiculous strike from distance Fordham senior Jack Bouchard uncorked in a Friday night game against Stony Brook. You can see the beauty of a strike at the 1:30 mark of this video that unfortunately includes unsightly lines for an American football field.
Some key games to watch out for this week include Creighton taking on Michigan State, VCU and Wake Forest and Ohio State vs. Akron on Tuesday; the Cincinnati derby between Xavier and Cincinnati and an Indiana clash between Butler and Indiana on Wednesday; SMU and Washington on Friday, and Georgetown hosting Creighton, North Carolina at Wake Forest and Indiana welcoming Ohio State on Sunday.