UCLA leading the pack in Pac-12 women's soccer
With only one Pac-12 game for each team over the weekend, little movement took place in the standings. The No. 2 ranked Bruins did separate themselves at atop the league standings with their 3-0 win over Arizona State. UCLA’s 16 points in the Conference is five more than second-place Washington. After an up-and-down non-conference slate, the Huskies have played well in Pac-12 play and find themselves alone in second-place. Colorado and Utah, both predicted to finish near the bottom of the Pace-12 continue to hang around at the top, tied for third just behind the Huskies. California, Stanford and Arizona State aren’t far behind, all with nine points. With a little over two weeks left in the regular season and two games on the slate for every team in week 11, it will be an important weekend for many teams still in the hunt for the title and hoping to make a run at the NCAA tournament. Colorado and Utah could help their chances this weekend as they both will host No. 2 UCLA. In a season marred by suprising upsets and unpredictable finises, no team can be counted out with half the Conference slate still left to play. Seven games will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks between Friday and Monday, highlighted by the Utah/UCLA and Colorado/UCLA matchups on Friday and Sunday.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
- Coming-From-Behind: Amid a flurry of goals and some last-minute herorics Arizona and California came out of their respective matches with points. Playing at the Coliseum in Los Angeles against USC, the Wildcats got on the board first. After both teams went scoreless for just under 75 minutes, Arizona tallied a goal in the 75th minute and added another two minutes later to take a 2-0 lead with about 12 minutes left in the game. USC came back though and scored two in eight minutes to send the game to overtime. The game ended on senior Jazmin Ponce’s golden goal five minutes into the first overtime off of a free kick and the Wildcats had their first win over the Trojans since 2005. California was in danger of losing their second Conference game until some last-second--literally--herorics propelled the Bears overtime to eventually earn a draw. With four seconds remaining in the game and Cal down 1-0, senior Emi Lawson connected off a corner kick from fellow senior Ariana Martinez, heading the ball into the net from the front left post. Lawson now has the distinct honor of being known for scoring one of the earliest goals (5 seconds in) and now one of the latest in Cal history. Earning the draw was huge for the Bears as they try to keep pace with Colorado and others above them in the Conference standings.
- Rankings: The Bruins continue to tear through their schedule. Since losing to defending national champion and then-No. 1 North Carolina, the Bruins have been unbeaten through ten matches and hold their No. 2 spot in both polls. Stanford got back to its winning ways with a 1-0 win over Utah and was rewarded in one of the poll by moving back into the top-10 and holding the No. 8 spot in both polls. After narrowlly missing out on a loss, the Bears fell out of the top-10 in one poll moving to No. 12, but stayed steady at No. 20 in another. After losses over the weekend, Arizona State and Washington State no longer received votes, but the Buff’s near-win and eventual tie with then-No. 8 California kept them in consideration in the minds of the voters.
- RPI: Four Pac-12 teams are in the top-25 in the lastest RPI rankings. UCLA is at No. 2, Stanford at No. 13, California at No. 21 and Colorado at No. 25. Three other Pac-12 teams are in the top-50 (Washington State at No. 43, Arizona State at No. 45 and Washington at No. 48) giving the Conference a total of seven, which bodes well for the hopes that the Pac-12 can return seven teams the tournament after two-straight years with just six. Utah, at No. 51, is still in the mix and could gain some ground over the remainder of the regular season.
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