Friday, September 28, 2012
After a surprising defeat to open their Colonial Athletic Association schedule, No. 14 Old Dominion will take to the national stage as they host George Mason on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET in the NSCAA Game of the Week on Fox Soccer, one of this weekend’s televised contests that feature’s current and former PDL standouts.
The Monarchs have been led this season by Tim Hopkinson, who has 20 points, but he has been ably backed by former Reading United standout Chris Harmon and Virginia Beach Piranhas midfielder Jordan LeBlanc, who have both reached double digits in points. Harmon has scored four goals and added four assists, with LeBlanc adding four goals and three assists.
ODU will face a George Mason side on the verge of breaking into the NSCAA Top 25. Coming off a victory in their opening CAA game, a 2-0 win against UNC-Wilmington, the Patriots are 7-1-0 overall. Led by Chicago Fire PDL forward Taylor Morgan, who has six goals this season, and Fredericksburg Hotspur’s Tim Mulgrew, who has 14 points, Mason has averaged more than two goals per game this season.
Also on Friday night, No. 9 UCLA will try to open Pac-12 play with a victory against Stanford in a game that can be seen on the Pac-12 Network at 7 p.m. ET. Last weekend, the Bruins were boosted by Sounders FC U23 and Orange County Blue Star standout Fernando Monge, who scored both goals as they earned a 1-1 draw against UC Santa Barbara and a 1-0 victory against Cal Poly. The senior midfielder now leads the Bruins with seven points, while Pali Blues midfielder Evan Raynr has five, sitting tied for the team high with three assists.
Stanford has struggled in its non-conference schedule, entering Friday’s contest 3-4-0, but a bright spot for the side has been the play of former Washington Crossfire forward Adam Jahn, who leads the team with four goals and 10 points.
Also on the Pac-12 Network this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, Oregon State faces Washington in a clash that sees a number of current and former Portland Timbers U-23s face off against one another. After taking TopDrawerSoccer.com and Pac-12 Player of the Week awards, Timbers U-23s forward Emery Welshman will aim to add to his tally of 15 points, while his Beavers and Timbers U-23s teammate Roberto Farfan leads the team with six assists.
Welshman, Farfan and their OSU teammates will have to beat their Timbers U-23s teammate Spencer Richey, who has played every minute of the season for the Huskies so far while putting up a 1.06 goals-against average. Richey appeared 14 times for the Timbers U-23s this summer and posted a 0.970 GAA, and is joined on the Huskies by fellow Portland alum Dylan Tucker-Ganges, who leads the team with seven goals in nine contests.
Meanwhile on the Big Ten Network, Sunday sees a doubleheader featuring No. 18 Northwestern’s visit to Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. ET, and the continuation of the rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan at 6 p.m. ET. The Spartans are led by 2012 PDL Defender of the Year Kevin Cope, who had a standout season for the Michigan Bucks this past summer after previously spending time with the Chicago Fire PDL.
The Spartans’ defense will have to try and contain Cope’s former Fire PDL teammate Chris Ritter, who leads Northwestern with nine points this season. The Fire PDL’s Joey Calistri has also performed well for the Wildcats, leading the team with four goals, while defender Niko Boxall has helped marshal a defense that has conceded only seven goals in nine games.
Then later in the evening, 2012 PDL Goalkeeper of the Year Adam Grinwis will try to lead the Wolverines past the rival Buckeyes. The Wolverines struggled in non-conference play, with Grinwis currently holding a 1.54 goals-against average, and are hoping to bounce back from a defeat to Northwestern to open Big Ten play last weekend.
Ohio State also dropped its conference opener, falling to No. 11 Indiana last weekend, but bounced back in midweek with a 4-1 victory against Butler that was led by Orange County Blue Star forward Austin McAnena’s hat trick. The senior now leads the Buckeyes with eight points, and hopes to add to his haul.