No. 1 Maryland, No. 2 UNC both feature PDL standouts
Thursday, October 18, 2012
The top two teams in the nation will meet on ESPNU at 6 p.m. ET this Friday night, with both No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 North Carolina sporting top PDL talent as they battle for first place in the ACC. Separated by two points in the standings, the Terrapins’ and Tar Heels’ clash highlights a big weekend of Division I Men’s College Soccer action set to be aired on national television.
The Terrapins enter Friday night’s contest in College Park, Md. with a perfect record in ACC play. Led by New Orleans Jesters standout Patrick Mullins, who had seven goals and one assist this past summer in the Mid South Division, Maryland is on an 11-game winning streak. Mullins has been at the center of their run, recording a team-high 23 points on eight goals and seven assists.
Mullins has been backed by former Real Maryland Monarchs midfielder Jake Pace, who has 10 points this season, and former Central Jersey Spartan Christiano Francois, who has three goals and three assists.
The Tar Heels also enter the game in good form, lifted by the return to action last week of Carolina Dynamo standout Robbie Lovejoy. The junior had a strong 2011 for the Dynamo, scoring four goals and adding three assists in 13 games, and appeared in one contest, finding the back of the net, this summer before undergoing surgery.
Lovejoy sparkled in his first game of the season for UNC, scoring a hat trick against the College of Charleston to earn ACC and College Soccer News Player of the Week awards, and backed by fellow Dynamo players Jordan Gafa, Chipper Root, Jonathan Campbell and Boyd Okwuono, a U.S. U20 international, he will be expected to lead the charge on the road.
Later on Friday night, the NSCAA Game of the Week on Fox Soccer comes from the west coast as No. 16 UC Santa Barbara faces Cal Poly at 11 p.m. ET. The Gauchos were hit earlier in the season by injury to former Baton Rouge Capitals striker Achille Campion, who had five goals in six games, but have been able to rebound in part thanks to former Chicago Fire PDL player Goffin Boyoko, who has three goals and two assists this fall.
Former Western Mass Pioneers defender Peter McGlynn has also had a productive season, recording three assists while helping a defense that has conceded just 11 goals in 14 games. Sounders FC U23 defender Brandon Brockway has also played a key role for the Gauchos, making 11 starts in his freshman season.
Also on the west coast, the Pac-12 Network features three contests this weekend, starting on Thursday night as Oregon State visits Stanford at 8 p.m. ET. The Beavers have been led this fall by Portland Timbers U-23s forward Emery Welshman, who has 19 points and eight goals, while his Timbers teammate Roberto Farfan leads the team with six assists.
OSU has also been boosted by the recent return from injury of Austin Aztex forward Khiry Shelton, who has eight points in eight starts this season. Shelton recorded an assist the last time the Beavers met the Cardinal as they rallied for a 2-2 draw on October 12.
Friday afternoon sees Washington visit Cal, with the Huskies aiming to maintain top spot in the conference after their victory last weekend against UCLA. Former Timbers U-23s defender Dylan Tucker-Ganges has starred in attack for the Huskies this season, leading the side with seven goals.
Tucker-Ganges has been backed by a balanced attack that includes the Washington Crossfire’s Nate Sackeyfio and Ben Fisk, the North Sound SeaWolves’ Abdul Aman, while Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Spencer Richey has posted a 0.81 goals-against average while playing every minute of the season.
Meanwhile on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Wisconsin hosts Michigan State on the Big Ten Network, with the Chicago Fire PDL’s Chris Prince looking to continue his strong season for the Badgers. Prince leads the Badgers with five assists and 11 points, while his Fire teammate A.J. Cochran has added a goal and two assists from defense.