Coming into this weekend there were three undefeated teams in DI men's soccer, and those three programs were at the top of the NSCAA rankings. I guess the coaches are impressed by not losing. Now there are no undefeated teams, as all three lost this past weekend. But Cal still remains the top team and Notre Dame is still #2. Only Washington got punished for losing their first match, dropping from #3 to #4 to drop behind the team they lost to.
The Huskies were one of those top three teams to lose. They had two home-and-away doubleheaders the last couple of weeks, facing San Diego State and UCLA. First, at home they come out on top in a wild 5-3 win over San Diego State. I was at that game and to me it looked like Washington was just playing too skittishly once they took an early lead. They were pulling way back and letting the Aztec wingers get deep into the wings to make dangerous crosses. Honestly, this could have been a 5-5 game, but Washington got a little lucky on the defensive end and did some solid work on the offensive end to get the win. Then at home against UCLA they fell behind 2-1 when David Estrada's brother Max scored the second for the Bruins, but Washington pulled out a late tie thanks to an own goal on a Michael Harris flip throw into the box. The other UW goal was actually an own goal as well, so they got out with a 2-2 draw despite UCLA scoring all 4 goals.
Then they went on the road to face those teams again, starting with a comfortable 2-0 win over SDSU thanks to another flip throw assist and a Darwin Jones free kick goal. But they picked up their first loss of the season in the next match at UCLA they went down 2-1. The UW goal in that one also came off the flip throw, which is like 60% of the UW's offense at this point, with about 30% for Darwin and 10% miscellaneous.
The biggest issue in that run was the collapse of the defense. Giving up 7 goals in 4 games is not where a national championship contender wants to be. And Ryan Herman's ratio of 3 saves to 7 goals was abysmal. He just didn't face many shots on goal, but nearly all of the ones he faced went in. They'll obviously have to button that up (and hope Harris doesn't get injured) if they want to make a deep postseason run. Now they get a two week break before a homestand against Stanford and Cal.
#12 Wake Forest
F Sean Okoli (3 Goals, Assist)
The Deacons started off with a tough 1-0 away loss to Akron, thanks to a penalty kick winner by Sounders U23 player Aodhan Quinn. Then both Wake and Okoli went on a tear. They went on the road to beat Maryland — whom they were sharing the top of the ACC standings with — by 4-3 with Okoli picking up the game winning goal and an assist. Then they scored 4 again as they blew out Davidson 4-0 at home, with Okoli scoring the first (so I guess technically game-winning) goal. Then in the NSCAA game of the week they took on Duke away. Okoli scored first again, but a flurry of three goals after the 85th minute led to a 2-2 draw.
Wake remains undefeated in conference play, and with Notre Dame's loss to Virginia and the aforementioned Maryland loss, the Deacons now stand alone at the top of the ACC and Okoli's 3 goals makes him the top scorer on the team and in the top 5 of the conference. This weekend they have a tough home game against Notre Dame. Winning that would put them firmly in control of the ACC before the conference tournament.
A light schedule for the Cardinal as they only play two games in two weeks, before they get into a ridiculously dense November schedule of five games in two weeks to finish off the regular season.
First they lost 1-0 away at then #1 Cal off an 86th minute PK that was saved before the rebound was tapped in. After that tough loss they had their own late winner as they beat San Francisco 2-1 on a golden goal in overtime. Morris assisted the first Stanford goal in that match.
This weekend they host UCLA and San Diego State as they try to make a move into the conversation for the NCAA tournament in a very difficult Pac 12 conference.
M Nick Palodichuk (Goal, 3 Assists)
Palodichuk kind of went bonkers after I left him out of the last update. I mean, I don't know if he's still HGP eligible. It's complicated. But whatever. . once a Sounder, etc.
First he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Boston College, then he assisted 2 of the 3 goals in a 3-0 win over Elon, and then he assisted the tying Duke goal in that wild 2-2 draw with Wake Forest that I mentioned up in the Deacons update.
The Blue Devils took a lot of losses early in the season and are still probably far out of the tournament picture barring a big run in the ACC tournament.. which, given that they only have one conference win, seems unlikely.
College of Charleston
Still no joy for the Cougars as they just try to get out of their first season in the CAA alive and with some pride left. In both of their games in this update they surrendered a a goal in the final minutes to give up either a win or a draw. First they drew Hofstra 1-1 at home after giving up the tying goal in the 90th minute, and then Peterson picked up his first goal of the season and only the 6th goal the team's scored all year in a 2-1 draw at ranked UAB. Leading the #10 team in the country until the 79th minute should probably earn them some pride, but giving up the tying goal and the winning goal in the 87th will leave them with a bad taste.
M Jordan Schweitzer (Assist)
Three more wins and three shutouts for the Pioneers, who now haven't lost in their last 10 games.
2-0 over Loyola-Chicago, 1-0 over Omaha (featuring fellow Sounder Sam Langston), and 2-0 over Eastern Illinois have put Denver on top of the Summit League. If I read the tiebreakers right, they can clinch the regular season division title with at least a draw in their away game against Oral Roberts this weekend. Schweitzer isn't getting the box score stats, but he's played nearly every minute and you can bet he's a big part of why the team's only given up 2 goals in its last 8 games.
F Jesse Klug (Goal)
The Bison have scuffled a bit in conference play. After a double overtime win over Rutgers they've suffered consecutive 2-1 defeats to conference teams Navy and Colgate. In the Colgate loss, Klug scored the Bucknell goal.
In more important news, Jesse also penned an open letter in which he came out publicly as gay. Whatever your personal feelings on the issue, I'm glad we're entering a world where an athlete can feel comfortable being open with his teammates and fans, and I'm proud that a Sounder is a part of that change.
UC Santa Barbara went undefeated with two wins and a draw in conference and are now way out in front in the Big West standings and are in the national rankings, but it sounds like they'll be playing the rest of the season without Sounder Brandon Brockway, who's out injured.Oregon State just aren't keeping up in a brutal Pac 12, with 2 losses and a draw before taking on Washington, Cal, and Stanford at home to close out the season. Freshman Michael Steele is getting some rotational minutes with the team.
After going 3-0-1 Seattle U remains undefeated in conference play and is on top of the WAC standings. Sounders Kyle Bjornethun, Chase Hanson, and Austin Sweeney have all been major contributors to that run.
In Division 2, true Freshman Connor Adkisson has taken over full time in goal for Regis, a division 2 powerhouse. On Sunday he had an incredible 13 save effort as they defeated Colorado School of Mines 2-1. Seattle Pacific is starting to get some national rankings votes after going 13 straight undefeated. Sounders Evan Robicheau, Jordan Kollars, and Jeffrey Collings have all played a part for them.