It may only be spring exhibitions, but a number of college soccer heavyweights are set to meet this weekend.
Saturday’s biggest match pits NCAA quarterfinalist Maryland against national champion Akron out in Ohio. Each side is in the midst of transition, having lost several key players from last fall – the Terrapins specifically are searching for a new starting 'keeper with the departure of Zac MacMath, while the Zips are trying to replace seven starters.
Two North Carolina rivals will head into action Friday evening, as Duke and Wake Forest continue their spring schedules. The Blue Devils will be without defender Sebastian Ibeagha, who is currently with the US U-20s in Guatemala, but boast one of the nation’s top players in Andrew Wenger. Meanwhile, the Deamon Deacons will rely on the form of forward Andy Lubahn, last fall’s leading goal-scorer.
There is plenty of other action Saturday – runner-up Louisville hosts Indiana in their first spring game against college opposition. The Hoosiers have to find a replacement for Will Bruin, and will face a stiff test against a Cardinals side that returned almost their entire starting lineup from last year.
Other top matches include University of Michigan playing Western Michigan, and Notre Dame hosting an abbreviated slate of games with Butler, Valparaiso and DePaul all playing all on Saturday.