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5 Takeaways From The Start Of The Women's College Soccer Season

The start of the 2014 Women’s College soccer season has gotten off to quite the start, with some surprising results and some of the same from last season. Let’s take a look at the rankings before five "lessons" from the past week:

Takeaway #1: Stanford Is For Real

The Cardinal have surged out of the gates this season, showing they are real contenders for the College Cup. They opened the season with a sound 1-0 victory over North Carolina, and tallied up great wins against Duke and Portland over the past week. Did I mention all of these were on the road? These are unreal results to start the season away from Palo Alto. Now just imagine when the Cardinal have even more time to play together. They play UC Santa Barbara Thursday, which should be an easy victory before they play number 25 Norte Dame on Sunday. Following the match will be a battle with number 8 Florida, so the Cardinal aren’t out of the woods yet. It’ll be interesting to see how they attack the challenge. 

Takeaway #2: The Big 12 Pulls Off Upsets

Texas Tech and Oklahoma have shown their quality early this season. Tom Stone’s Tech squad has a solid amount of talent that can compete with the top contenders in the country and the Red Raiders have burst out of the gates. They moved up to number 10 after a good 2-1 upset victory over Notre Dame, and showed their toughness in a come from behind OT victory against Eastern Michigan. They have big match on 9/12 versus number 12 Cal that will tell us a lot about their squad. Oklahoma also had an upset over a top tier team. The Sooners beat Florida 2-1 after defending the net well, and beat a good Oklahoma State team earlier this season. They showed fight on their way to a 1-0 loss against FSU, but that shouldn’t discourage them. They’ll have a shot to prove they’re for real against a Nebraska team right outside the rankings this Friday. 

Takeaway #3: North Carolina Struggles With Cali Teams

To be fair to the powerhouse Tar Heels, their schedule has been brutal to start the year. They opened the season with a loss against a strong Stanford team and then played the defending champions a week later, earning a 0-0 draw to the Bruins. The real surprise was their 1-0 loss to Pepperdine just two days later. The Tar Heels now have to travel to number 7 Penn State on Friday. The problem has been completely offensive for North Carolina. We mentioned that they would have to replace half their goals from last season in our College Preview, and it seems they have yet to figure out a way to do that.

Takeaway #4: FSU, Virginia And UCLA As Good As Advertised 

UCLA is still holding the top spot, despite their draw against North Carolina. As expected, however, the Bruin defense is one of, if not the best, in the nation. They play solid teams ranking in the top 50 most of the way until their October bout with Staford. As we said in our preview, Virginia hasn’t had any problem scoring goals to open the season. They’ve scored 12 in three games - yes against some subpar teams, but don’t fault the Cavaliers. They’ll surely be in the mix come December. Florida State, the runner-up in the College Cup, have looked strong on their way to a 4-0 start. The defense has been strong and they’ve scored when they’ve needed too. Next up, a huge game against instate rivals #8 Florida in Tallahassee. 

Takeaway #5: Dayton Nicole Waters Putting Up Numbers  

Last season, as a sophomore, Waters led the nation in assists - chalking up 17 through the course the entire season. This year, older and wiser, Waters has already distributed five apples to her teammates and has netted four goals for herself along the way. The Flyers opened the season with a wild 3-4 loss to a great Texas A&M team and a draw against Rice. They took care of business getting two wins this past weekend, but ahead lie Ohio State, #16 Santa Clara and #4 Stanford. We’ll see if she can keep it going against top notch competition. 

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