MLS on Campus: Washington capture Pac-12 title, Akron's Eric Stevenson scores stunner

MLS on Campus University of Washington celebrates

Photo Credit: 
University of Washington Athletics

Welcome back to MLS On Campus, our weekly look at the goings-on in the college game. Every Monday, we'll give you the week's best highlights, the standout players, which games to watch in the week ahead and, of course, our national Top 10 list.

After all, the SuperDraft is only a few months away…

Big Men on Campus

Akron senior midfielder Eric Stevenson – So, let’s start with this: Stevenson netted an absolute missile to open the scoring in Akron’s first game of the week, a 3-0 win over West Virginia in the MAC tournament semifinals.

He added a second goal later in the game, and then assisted on one of teammate Zac Portillos’ two goals in the tournament final against Western Michigan. So, statistically, it was a pretty good weekend, but for now have fun putting that first goal on repeat. Skip to 0:34.

Cal State Northridge junior striker Sagi Lev-Ari – The Matadors’ Israeli striker has done about as well as physically possible over his two-season stretch at Northridge. With five goals over three games this week, Lev-Ari ran his season total to 16, one better than the 15 he scored last year as a sophomore and, perhaps more importantly, powered his team to the final of the Big West tournament.

He scored a brace in an opening-round win against Cal Poly, but the crowning moment of his fantastic week came in the 83rd minute of the Matadors’ semifinal matchup vs. UCSB, when Lev-Ari finished off a hat trick to stake Northridge to a 3-2 lead that they wouldn’t give up. The goalscoring magic dried up in Sunday’s final against UC Irvine, but without the 6-foot-1 forward, it’s tough to see how they would have even gotten there.

Rank Trending Last College Comment

1

3

Washington
(14-1-4)

The Huskies won their only game of the week, a Sunday tilt against Oregon State. So how does a routine 1-0 win against the Beavers suddenly jump Washington from No. 3 to No. 1? Might have something to do with the fact that the win clinched them the Pac-12 title. Outstanding season from the Dawgs.

2

1

UCLA
(11-3-4)

Is it a little unfair that, even though they beat San Diego State 3-0 on Saturday, the Bruins are dropping in the standings? Sure. But despite UCLA’s recent run of good form – four straight wins, including a win against Washington – they’ve had a fairly inconsistent year, and the fact that they are going home this year without an eighth Pac-12 title suggests as much.

3

5

Maryland
(13-3-5)

It’s still sort of startling that Maryland are not going to be in the ACC next year – the Terps are moving to the Big Ten – but it remains debatable whether or not their competition will be sad to see them go. When Patrick Mullins forced an own-goal late in the title matchup against Virginia, he was guaranteeing himself a third conference championship with the Terrapins. Maryland have proven themselves again and again to be the cream of the ACC’s crop, and it turns out this year was no different.

4

2

Notre Dame
(12-1-6)

While the Terrapins are walking out the door, Notre Dame are looking like a fine candidate to fill the void left behind. Moving conferences is always dicey, but it’s remarkable that the Fighting Irish’s first season in the ACC, of all places, turned out to be a pretty good one. ND were eliminated in the semifinals of the conference tournament, falling to Virginia 4-3 on penalties, but the Irish finished the regular season tied for most points with Maryland. Not too shabby.

5

8

Akron
(16-3-1)

It’s no surprise that, a week after winning their ninth consecutive MAC regular-season title, Akron were heavily favored to win the MAC tournament as well. They did, and quite stylishly. The Zips put in seven goals over their two games, giving the selection committee plenty of reasons to give them a high seed. And seriously, have you seen that Eric Stevenson goal?

6

10

UMBC
(16-1-2)

The Retrievers, like the Zips, were heavily favored to win their conference tournament, but apparently their first opponent, Albany, never got the script. The Great Danes scored with 21 seconds to go in the game, pushing UMBC to the limit before succumbing in double overtime. The final, however, was a much smoother ride, as the Retrievers beat Hartford 4-0. Now we get to see what UMBC’s great goalscorers can do against the best teams in the country.

7

6

California
(12-4-2)

In terms of winning the Pac-12, Cal’s loss to Stanford ultimately didn’t mean anything – Washington controlled the race – but it’s little consolation for a team that was the clear favorite to win the conference for most of the season. Finishing the season with a loss to your bitter rivals is just the cherry on top of a terrible, terrible sundae. Suffering your first slump of the year right before the NCAA Tournament is poor timing, at the very least.

8

4

Georgetown
(13-4-2)

Like Cal, the Hoyas are entering Selection Monday on the wrong foot. The goals have dried up for Georgetown, who have scored just twice in their last four games. Their latest result, a 0-0 draw with Providence in Friday’s Big East semifinal, preceded a penalty shootout loss. The good news for Brian Wiese’s team is that the defense has been lights out this year, and that seems to be a trend that’s holding strong. The bad news is that the offense, which was supposed to be this team’s strength, has yet to materialize consistently.

9

(NR)

Virginia
(10-5-5)

The Cavaliers fell in the ACC championship on Sunday with a 1-0 loss to Maryland, but consider what they had to do to even get there. Their first match pitted them against Wake Forest, and after that they had to play Notre Dame. Virginia really turned it on at tournament time, and now the ACC will have another legitimate threat in the NCAA Tournament pool. 

10

(NR)

Marquette
(12-5-2)

The Golden Eagles had some puzzling results earlier in the year, losing to Milwaukee and drawing with Green Bay. Heck, the Golden Eagles had a puzzling result just last week when they lost to DePaul, giving the Blue Demons their only Big East win of the year. That said, Marquette just won the Big East tournament with gutsy victories against Butler and Providence, and finished the regular season tied with Georgetown atop the conference with 19 points.

Highlights

We mentioned last week that Indiana, the reigning champions, had been having a rough season. Well, after this week, the Hoosiers are 8-11-2, but their season looks like it’s been saved, because they just won the Big Ten tournament to give themselves an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament and a chance to defend their title. Highlights from their 1-0 win over Michigan State in the title game are here.

The Conference USA tournament had a lot of fascinating matchups, not least of which was the title game between Tulsa and Charlotte. With the amount of attacking talent between both teams, it was a little unexpected to see things end 1-0 for Charlotte, who had to rely on a PK for their goal. It was … soft.

What to Watch for:

The only thing you have to watch, for the moment, is the NCAA Selection Show on Monday at noon ET on NCAA.com.