UCLA stakes claim as top team with two opening weekend wins


leostolzuclaThe Bruins became the team to beat for the 2014 college season when Leo Stolz decided to return for his senior season and he showed why the opening weekend of the season, scoring  the game-winner in Chapel Hill for the Bruins’ second road win over a ranked opponent of the young season on Sunday.

The goal was Stolz’s first of the season, but he made his mark two nights earlier when the potent Bruins offense made even scarier with the transfer of Larry Ndjock overcame a 1-0 deficit (on Ethan Harkes scorcher from outside the 18) to beat Wake Forest 3-1.

Defending national champions Notre Dame were held to a scoreless draw by a Joshua Yaro-anchored Georgetown defense on Sunday, their first scoreless draw since the opening weekend of 2013 against UCLA, after getting the better of Marquette 2-1 in the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic on Friday.

Marquette, ranked No. 12 in the preseason coaches poll, and 24th ranked Cal State Northridge each lost both of their opening weekend games and ranked teams Connecticut, UC Santa Barbara, California, Maryland, Akron, Stanford, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Navy, Coastal Carolina and Old Dominion dropped a Labor Day weekend match.

The showcase game of the weekend was the Friday night opener of the $20 million Lynn Stadium in Louisville. Sophomore Andrew Brody’s header off a sublime cross from Ricardo Velazco gave the Cardinals all the offense they needed in the 54th minute to ensure victory in front of a Cardinal record crowd of 7,047 for the curtain raiser. While the quality of the game didn’t completely live up to the showcase for college soccer it promised when the schedules were released, the stadium (even on an ESPN3 broadcast with a commentator who thought the U.S. played Bulgaria in the World Cup) looked absolutely stunning.

Off the radar a bit was the weekend Denver had with wins over two ranked opponents, a 2-1 win over Cal State Northridge on Friday and a 2-1 overtime victory over Navy on Sunday for a team that was knocked out in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year on penalties after a scoreless draw with Louisville.

As individual performances go, Penn State sophomore forward Connor Maloney was fantastic for the Nittany Lions, scoring the game winner to beat Oakland 1-0 on Friday night and again on Sunday night in a 3-0 win over St. John’s. The Harrisburg native added a third goal in the St. John’s to bring his weekend tally to three and quickly surpass his freshman year total of two.

George Mason senior Timi Mulgrew made the most of his opening weekend, scoring a first half trick in a 7-0 rout of Howard on Friday and added a fourth goal on a penalty kick to win the D.C. College Cup with a 1-0 victory over American on Sunday. Mulgrew wasn’t the only Patriot to register a hat trick in their opener: sophomore midfielder Colton Amidon came off the bench and needed less than six minutes to record a hat trick of his own.

Providence redshirt senior did Amidon one better, scoring four goals in 13 minutes in the second half of a 5-1 demolition of Rhode Island that pushed the Friars record to 2-0.

Defensively, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better goalkeeper debut than the one Matt Mozynski had for Campbell on the road against UNC Greensboro. The redshirt freshman stopped a second half penalty and made eight second half saves and 10 for the game.

Virginia transfer Zach Carroll had a solid debut for Michigan State, anchoring the Spartans defense in two opening weekend clean sheets, a 1-0 win over SMU on Friday and a 3-0 win over FIU Sunday, and found the back of the net in the 24th minute of the FIU game.

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