Remaining unbeatens all fall, 11,000-plus pack game in California in week 9
The three remaining unbeaten teams in Division 1, ranked 1, 2 and 3 in the nation all fell over the weekend to cap off a week of unlikely results and upsets in week 9 of college soccer.
Top-ranked California was the first giant to fall, losing 1-0 on Friday afternoon in Berkeley to a San Diego team with only three previous victories. Virginia sophomore Darius Madison registered a brace (see video highlights HERE) to pace lead Virginia to a 2-0 win over Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday afternoon. The loss was the Irish’s first of the season, first time they’ve allowed multiple goals and first defeat in ACC play ever for the conference newcomers, who now trail Wake Forest in the standings. Washington’s 2-1 loss to UCLA on Sunday was the least improbable, especially coming just six days after the teams drew in Seattle.
The stumbles of the top three teams – a testimony to just how hard invincibility is in Division 1 soccer – weren’t the only notable and unpredictable results in a week of some real head scratching results.
Louisville conceded two goals in the first half and never recovered in a road match-up with conference basement dwellers Cincinnati and Creighton’s quizzical free-fall from No. 1 in the rankings hit a new low with a 3-1 loss to a Seton Hall Pirates team near the bottom of the standings in goals allowed (Georgetown dropped 8 goals on them earlier this season).
On the positive side of the ledger, Georgetown had another strong performance with a 1-0 win over Marquette thanks to a 94th minute winner from senior defender Ted Helfrich. The goal, the first of Helfrich’s career, put the Hoyas even with Marquette at the top of the Big East standings and gave Georgetown, who trounced DePaul 6-0 earlier in the week, a legitimate claim for the top spot in the nation. The shutout was a program record 11th of the season for the Hoyas, whose 8 goals conceded trails only Missouri State and Army (both have six goals allowed) for tops in Division 1.
Penn State wrapped up the regular season Big 10 title thanks to a timely return to the lineup for redshirt junior Jordan Tyler, who recorded a brace to give the Nittany Lions a thrilling 2-1 double-overtime win over Northwestern. Coastal Carolina, meanwhile, continued their strong run of form with a 1-0 victory over Liberty, the Chanticleers 10th in a row.
Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara had a rare sellout for college soccer in a Friday night game in San Luis Obispo, California, that ended in a 1-1 draw. Between the tortillas Gauchos fans were throwing on the field after a late equalizer in the first half and the spectacle of a crowd big enough at 11,075 to make Chivas USA jealous, the 1-1 draw proved the best fans and biggest rivalry in college soccer reside in California. For a time lapse video of the fans packing the stands, click HERE.
Joining Darius Madison and Jordan Tyler with impressive performances in week 9, Gardner-Webb forward Denzel Clarke took a commanding lead at the top of the Division 1 goal scorer list with a hat trick in a 5-0 win over UNC Asheville to give him 15 goals on the season. Five are tied for second place with 12 goals on the season, including defending player of the year Patrick Mullins, Delaware freshman Guillermo Delgado and Cal Poly’s Mackenzie Pridham.
Georgetown senior midfielder Steve Neumann scored his 9th and 10th goals of the season in the 6-0 blowout of DePaul to give him double digits in goals all four years of his illustrious career. He added two assists on the week to give him 41 career goals and 34 assists.
Robert Morris sophomore Neco Brett, a former Jamaican U-17 and U-20 player, also had a fine offensive week, burying two goals and registering five assists in two games over the weekend. Xavier midfielder Matt Walker found the back of the net three times in the week, registering a brace against conference rival Providence in a 2-1 win and adding a goal in a 3-0 victory over Seton Hall for the surging Musketeers, 9-5-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference.
Looking ahead to key match-ups this week, UAB and New Mexico do battle Wednesday, North Carolina takes on Virginia Friday (ACC Digital Network), Wake Forest plays Notre Dame Saturday and UCLA battles California on Sunday (Pac-12 Network).
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