Three remain unbeaten heading into week two of Pac-12 play in women's soccer
Week six of the 2013 season brought hard-fought defensive battles and a last-minute finish in the first weekend of Pac-12 play, as well as officially wrapped up the non-conference slate for the year. The league saw three decisions and three ties with all but three teams recording points in the Conference standings. The last two non-conference games were completed over the weekend and into the week, as Washington fell to No. 10/7 Portland 0-3 at home on Sunday and California took care of San Francisco 3-0 on Monday on the road to remain unbeaten. The Pac-12 finished out-of-league play with a record of 64-25-16, good for a .705 win percentage. Stanford and UCLA, the league’s top two teams as of October 1, went 5-1-1 against top-25 teams, with UCLA beating three in top 20 during a four-game stretch at the beginning of September, the only loss coming against defending national champion North Carolina, ranked No. 1 at the time. Three league teams remain unbeaten (Washington State, California, Stanford) as the Pac-12 heads into Conference-only play for the remainder of the regular season. Things will heat up this week with some interesting matchups that could have title implications, despite the still-young league season. Washington State at UCLA on Friday at 4 p.m. PT is a match to watch as it pits two strong defensive units against each other on two teams fighting to stay near the top of the league standings.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
- The Land of the Unbeatens: Three of the six remaining unbeaten teams in Division 1 women’s soccer are from the Pac-12: Washington State (10), California (10) and Stanford (9). The other three are Florida State (12), Georgetown (11) and Virginia (11).
- Historic Starts and Streaks: WASHINGTON STATE’S 14-match unbeaten streak dating back to last season is the longest-active streak in the nation. The Cougar’s defense has been stout in 2013 as they are No. 2 in the nation in goals against average (0.281) thanks in large part to goalkeeper Gurveen Clair who is fourth in the nation in goals against average (0.295). WSU has some offensive fire-power as well with senior Micaela Castain leading the attack. Castain in fifth in the nation in points per game (2.40) and tied for eighth in goals per game (1.00). CALIFORNIA’S 10-game undefeated streak is the best start for the Bears since Cal went undefeated through the first 12 games back in 2000. The Bears have yet to allow an opponent to score in the first half. STANFORD is riding two impressive streaks on a quest for a fifth-consecutive Pac-12 title. This past weekend the Cardinal won their 13th-straight Pac-12 opener, extending their conference winning streak to 43, including a road winning streak of 23. Stanford returns home on Friday for the first of five-straight at home, where they own a 72-match home unbeaten streak, which is good for second-longest in NCAA Division I women’s soccer history behind North Carolina’s 86 from 1986-94.
- Defense, Defense, Defense: In the first weekend of Pac-12 play, only eight goals were given up over 600 minutes of playing time or an average of one goal every 75 minutes. Half of the league’s 22 ties so far were the results of shutouts, while the top half of the Conference, not including Arizona State, has allowed an average of less than two goals per game.Friday’s Washington State at UCLA match will be a showcase of the best two defensive teams in the league in terms of goals given up as Washington State has allowed only three in ten games while UCLA has only let in four in the same span of games. Both goalies rank in the top-15 in the country in goals against average (NCAA Statistics Page 3).
- Surviving by the Tie: Utah has only suffered one loss largely to their ability to hold teams out of the net in the way of five draws in 2013, the most of any Pac-12 team. Goalkeeper Lindsey Luke is number one in the nation in both goals against average (.145) and save percentage (.960).
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