October 24, 2010

Big weekend for ranked teams

Senior Geof Pezon scored twice Wednesday night at Schlager Memorial Field, helping the Falcons to their 13th consecutive win.
Senior Geof Pezon scored twice Wednesday night at Schlager Memorial Field, helping the Falcons to their 13th consecutive win.
Messiah athletics photo

The treble was the trend in a big weekend for the Top 25 teams as they secured large-margin victories across the board, with Messiah, Stevens, Trinity, Ohio Wesleyan, and Calvin all tallying three in their respective wins. Swarthmore, Christopher Newport, Emory, and Kenyon were also big winners, while Domincan, Johns Hopkins, Middlebury, and Brockport capitulated in vital conference match-ups. For a look at results from across the country, visit our scoreboard page.

In women's action, the top teams ran riot, Wittenberg and DePauw flexed their talent to topple their top 25 opponents, and the lone top 25 match ends in a stalemate.

The holders continued their destructive manner after a shaky first half to the season in their attempts to demonstrate why they are the top-ranked team in the nation as they smashed three past Albright's weak defense. While Albright nearly matched the total in shots fired with their opponents, Messiah's defense prevented any real scoring threat to ensure their seventh shut-out in a row, and their 14th win in a row, the longest in the nation. They currently sit just under longtime foe and conference rival Elizabethtown in the MAC Commonwealth conference standings, with the showdown set for next Saturday.

No. 2 Dominican's scoreline was no different in their meeting with Milwaukee School of Engineering. Ten minutes in, and Dominican was in command with a two goal lead. They eventually scored again to cruise to their 8th shut-out in a row. They remained one of three teams in the nation with an undefeated record, until this afternoon's loss to Loras. Coming off two momentous wins against Dubuque and Simpson, Loras poised themselves to topple one of the last bastions of perfection in men's soccer. Dominican suffered a red card in the 22nd minute, and just seconds later, Loras capitalized. With Dominican pushing for the equalizer, Loras countered in the 88th minute to win 2-0. Dominican now drops to 15-1-1 on the season, while Loras improves to 12-6.

Following their shock defeat to Rutgers-Newark in a non-conference match-up, No. 5 Stevens bounced back to smash three past Empire 8 opponent, Alfred. Stevens, who was undefeated before their midweek loss, improves to 10-1-3 overall, and sits atop the Empire 8 conference. Calvin, who also endured midweek heartbreak at home to rivals Hope, overcame the wounds to win in a very important conference match against MIAA leaders, Kalamazoo. No.10 Calvin is now 11-2-3, and 4th in conference. The conference competition has left absolutely no breathing room for any of the teams peaking in conference this season as a mere two points separate the 1st and 5th teams. Just last week, Kalamazoo led the conference, but with the loss, they drop to fifth, as Calvin makes a push to land the automatic bid to the national tournament. Adrian currently sits top in the conference that does not use a post-season tournament to decide the automatic bid.

No. 7 Ohio Wesleyan continued in their exceptional form with a 3-0 blanking of conference rival Denison. Denison's defense held strong for 50 minutes, withstanding a barrage of nine shots in the first half, but Tyler Wall provided the game-winner in the 50th after Ohio Wesleyan eventually broke down the miserly Denison defense. Tyler Bryant scored to double the lead, while Wall banged another home for a his brace. At 12-1-2, OWU sits atop the very competitive North Coast Athletic Conference that is home to two top 25 teams. 23rd ranked Kenyon put Wooster to the sword with a 4-0 win. It took just four minutes for Felix Hoffman to send Kenyon into the lead, and they entered the break two goals-to-the-good. After holding Kenyon for nearly the entire second half, Wooster self-destructed in the last two minutes to provide Kenyon with another double; the goals coming just 30 seconds apart from one another. Kenyon trails just behind Wesleyan at second place in the NCAC after Ohio Wesleyan dealt them their first and only loss this season.

Trinity's game against UC-Santa Cruz was once a match of mouth-watering appeal, but Santa Cruz has since dropped off as one of the top-tier teams. The match, however, was no breeze for 6th ranked Trinity, who were eventual 3-1 winners. Trinity currently sit second behind DePauw in the SCAC, but with two games-in-hand. DePauw's draw with Centre on Saturday puts Trinity in prime position to take the conference. The two will meet the 5th of November in what will most likely determine the title.

In the lone top 25 match-up of weekend for men's soccer, No. 20 York needed just one early goal against No. 14 Salisbury to solidify their spot at the summit of the Capital Athletic Conference. In a tense battle for the rights to the regular season championship, York's Antonia Bua blasted a shot that found its way to the goal after a deflection. It was all that York needed. Salisbury's 16-5 shot margin meant nothing in the end, as York clinch the top spot, and improve to a 14-4-0 overall record, while the loss puts Salisbury at a 12-2-3 overall record.

No. 3 Swarthmore was able to rebound following the humbling loss handed to them by Richard Stockton in the midweek with a 4-0 win against McDaniel on Saturday. While Langley again proved his prowess with a brace, it was Fabian Castro who provided the brain work with a double assist and tallying a goal himself. With an overall record of 12-1-2, Swarthmore maintains their hold on the Centennial Conference, but it is 19th ranked Muhlenberg who prevents them from clinching the top spot, as they sit second, and just two points back with the showdown looming. Muhlenberg won in a hard-fought match against former second place Haverford. Despite outshooting Haverford 14-1, Muhlenberg left it late, but snatched the winner in the 81st thanks to a Mike Williams screamer from range. Muhlenberg remains one of three undefeated teams in the nation, and awaits their showdown with Swarthmore for the regular season title.

No. 4 Christopher Newport reverted to their winning ways following last week's self-destruction. A 3-0 win against Shenadoah in the midweek set them up for a fine 4-1 win against St. Mary's in a non-conference bout. The win gives coach Steve Shaw in 200th career win. Depsite the convincing scoreline, Christopher Newport found themselves traversing a difficult path to the win, and in pole position for another setback with the post season just around the corner as they allowed St. Mary's to draw first blood just 1 minute into the match. 40 minutes, however, and Christopher Newport could calm the nerves after Bryan Lybert out-sprinted his marker to slot he leveller. Two minutes into the second half, a revitalized Christopher Newport took the lead through Chis Thome. 10 minutes later, and Chris Thome put the match beyond doubt with a deft far-post header.

On Friday, No. 9 Emory defeated Maryville 4-0 in a non-conference win, in an otherwise evenly played match. Both teams pounded nine shots on target, but it was Emory's keeper Trent Spindler who provided the security necessary to provide Emory with their 12th win. Andrew Natalino opened his game account in just the 1st minute of the match, and proceeded to provide another two for a brilliant hat-trick. Despite their magnificent overall record (12-1-2), their conference campaign-to-date has proven to become somewhat of a disaster, as they sit 4th with just a solitary win. Emory, however, could find themselves atop the incredibly competitive UAA conference with wins against Case, Rochester, and Brandeis in their remaining three matches. The task will be far from easy, as bottom team Chicago, who lost 1-0 on yesterday to No. 8 UW-Whitewater, sits just four points away from top team New York University. Whitewater continues their winning ways with Sunday's 3-2 win over UW-Superior.

No. 11 Carnegie Mellon was no different, winning 6-1 in their non-conference match with Bethany. CMU was at point undefeated and pushing for the top spot in the rankings, but has since struggled to replicate that form in their UAA trials. They are tied for last place with Chicago, although they are only four points behind table toppers NYU. The win over Bethany will undoubtedly bolster their chances of an at-large bid if they fail to claw their way back to the top of the UAA. No.17 Rochester improved their overall record in their non-conference match with Kean, winning 2-0. Rochester, who has struggled in burying teams this year scored in the 6th minute to win it, and then again in the 67th for reassurance. Sitting fifth in the UAA, they continue conference play against Emory on Friday, who sits just above them in the standings.

In NESCAC action this weekend, No. 25 Bowdoin defeated Trinity 2-0 to maintain their stellar conference form, and then defeated Colby-Sawyer 5-0 this afternoon. They are currently one point behind leader Middlebury, but could reverse the order if No.18 Middlebury, who lost to Bates on Saturday, fail to kill off Williams, who is also pushing for the top spot. Bowdoin needs a final win at Tufts, a match that has proven tricky for the typical status-quo in the conference. Middlebury's loss to Bates prevents them from sealing top spot, while giving Williams and Bowdoin hope in upending them from the title within reach. With the win, Bates remains in contention to land one of the last spots to the conference tournament. No.12 Williams stayed alive with a vital overtime win over Tufts on Saturday. At 12-1-2, their only loss on the season was to Bowdoin.

In other weekend upsets, Franklin and Marshall defeated an imploding Johns Hopkins 2-1. Despite controlling the match in large portions, 13th ranked Hopkins fell victim to F&M forward Ben Beaver's near post rocket. Just ten minutes later, Eric Elickers screamer of a free-kick found its way to the far post, and the Diplomats held on for the win despite shipping a consolation for Hopkins in the 83rd minute. Hopkins is in real trouble as they are tied for fourth with Gettysburg and Dickinson in the Centennial Conference.

Brockport suffered their second loss of the season to conference rival Fredonia on Friday, losing 1-0 in overtime. Prior to the match, they occupied the top spot on their own, but now share it with Oneonta and Fredonia. They were able to salvage some honor as they defeated Buffalo 2-1 yesterday. Oneonta clinched the title via a tiebreaker.

In other news, UW-Oshkosh remains one of two teams to boast an undefeated record. Their 1-0 win over Carleton on Sunday afternoon sees them progress to an overall record of 16-0-2.

Jim Matson, Christan Shirk, Ryan Harmanis, and other staff writers and contributors help cover the games and results across the nation.

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