Though it was a three-day weekend for most of the country, college action soldiered on. Here's a rundown of the Top 20 as ranked by MLSsoccer.com:
North Carolina continued its hot start to the season this weekend, sweeping a two-game set against Oregon State on Friday and fellow top-five program Louisville on Sunday. The Tar Heels are now undefeated through the first three games of their 2011 season.
MLSsoccer.com's Top 20
|7||UC Santa Barbara||3-0-0||10|
|14||William & Mary||2-1-0||15|
Forward Billy Schuler’s strong return from injury continued, scoring the game-winner in the 2-1 win against the Cardinals two days after netting a brace in a 5-1 win over the Beavers. All five of UNC’s goals came in the second half.
Louisville had run out to its fourth consecutive 2-0 victory on Friday by beating Wake Forest. Substitute Michael Roman opened the scoring before Colin Rolfe put the game away late in the second half. The loss in Chapel Hill was the Cardinals’ first of the season.
Meanwhile, reigning national champs Akron went on their own two-game swing. The rebuilding Zips suffered through some growing pains on Thursday night, as they couldn’t breach Cal State Fullerton’s back line, drawing 0-0. Akron endured 28 fouls on the night, but bounced back on Saturday as Scott Caldwell bagged the overtime winner in a 2-1 victory over Cal State Northridge.
After losing its first game of the season to Louisville, the early-season struggles continued for UCLA. The Bruins came away winless once again, tying Santa Clara 2-2 and losing in overtime to UC Davis 2-1, but will return to Drake Stadium this weekend for a home date with St. Mary’s.
Maryland’s hot start to the season continued as the Terps flexed their muscles on offense. Senior forward Casey Townsend scored a brace in a 4-0 rout of Stanford on Friday night, and he scored again in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Radford, running Maryland’s record to 4-0. The Terrapins face a stern test this Friday, however, as undefeated Boston College visit College Park.
Traveling east to North Carolina, UC Santa Barbara showed its quality in two games against ACC opposition. In their first game against Duke, the Gauchos overcame an early goal by Nick Palodichuk, winning 3-2 in overtime on a Dom Sarle tally. In Sunday’s game against North Carolina State, David Opoku’s first-half goal stood up as the difference in a 1-0 win. UCSB is back home this weekend for a two-game set against West Virginia and Villanova.
Connecticut continued its strong start to the year as well, defeating California 4-1 at home on Sunday. Mamadou Doudou Diouf’s hat trick led the Huskies to their third straight win on the year. Senior Tony Cascio tallied the fourth goal on the night as UConn’s climb up the rankings continued.
A tough trip to Tulsa is next on the docket this week for the Huskies.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.