USWNT Youth Show Promise:
In the two friendlies with Switzerland over the weekend, the U.S. Women’s National team had five players make their senior debut. Among those were Lynn Williams and Andi Sullivan. Williams became the 20th player in USWNT history to score in her debut while Sullivan showcased her passing ability and grabbed an assist as well. While Coach Jill Ellis has mentioned that this is an experimental time, these two players looked comfortable and ready for the bright lights.
Two other players who earned minutes were Casey Short and Kealia Ohai. Short was solid on defense while Ohai also managed to score in her first cap; making it the fastest goal in debut at 48 seconds. Getting these minimal opportunities and making the most out of them are crucial for the young players who want to be included in the next cycle.
In these friendlies Ellis went with a different formation, a 3-5-2; putting Becky Sauerbrunn paired with Short on the outside and Allie Long at center back. While it’s certainly not a look I would want moving forward, I know Ellis is experimenting. Based on these two games our offense looks ready for adjustments, while our defense needs some work. By work, I mean I’m hoping Arin Gilliland gets a serious shot in the next camp. I was surprised when she wasn’t even dressed for the second game. One more player who I thought would get minutes is Danielle Colaprico, a crafty midfielder who has been very consistent this year for Chicago in the NWSL.
Overall I believe these were successful victories when you look at all the different players involved and formation. One thing that hasn’t changed is the demand for this team; in Utah a crowd of 14,336 showed up while in Minnesota on Sunday over 23K was in support.
Kentucky Upsets #9 Arkansas:
The Razorbacks perfect home record has been broken thanks to the Wildcats of Kentucky. With a 2-1 defeat, Arkansas falls to 14-4 and 9-1 at home, still impressive nonetheless. Meanwhile Kentucky had previously lost their last four on the road, so coming into the match, surely Arkansas were the favorites.
The Wildcats opened the scoring in the 23rd minute but Arkansas managed to equalize 10 minutes later. Kentucky would grab the eventual game winner in the 66th minute when Gina Crosetti assisted Zoe Swift to stun Arkansas in front of their home crowd. Arkansas will finish the regular season Thursday at LSU while Kentucky will face Georgia to cap off the regular season as well.
McCaskill Brace earns South Carolina SEC Crown:
With a 2-0 defeat of Tennessee on Sunday, the Gamecocks are the SEC champions for the third time in program history and first time since 2011.
They are led by junior forward Savannah McCaskill, who has 17 appearances; scoring 13 goals (career-high) and adding seven assists. She scored both goals to beat the Vols and is having a career year for the Gamecocks. She isn’t afraid to take shots; evidence of that are her team-leading 89 shots. It’s staggering to think the second most shots is senior Sophie Groff with 29. Yet this offense may be centered on McCaskill, this team has spread around the ball quite a bit, having 10 different players score this season.
Tennessee fall to 10-7-1 and will finish their regular season at Auburn on Thursday. South Carolina improves to 16-0-1 and look to complete this fairytale regular season with another win when they face Ole Miss on Thursday.
#1 WVU Survives Longhorn Scare for BIG 12 Title:
The Mountaineers secured their fifth consecutive BIG 12 conference title on Sunday when they shutout the Longhorns 1-0. In their lowest total regarding shots (12) in a single game all season, West Virginia squeaked by on a long range effort late in the game by junior Carla Portillo. Texas were more than a worthy opponent , creating several scoring chances in the first half, none resulting in a goal of course, but they were resilient all game.
The Longhorns shouldn’t hang their heads, as many teams were shut out by the Mountaineers this season, 11 teams have failed to score on that defense. Holding the #1 team in the nation scoreless for 78 minutes has to be a small moral victory. Texas played their best game of the year in my opinion, while WVU didn’t play their best. Even so, WVU claimed their eighth straight win and stand at 15-1-1 and will finish the regular season Friday when they host Oklahoma State. As for Texas, they fall to 8-8-1 and look to end regular season on a high when they travel to TCU on Friday.
Auburn Suffers First Road Loss at College Station:
The 11th ranked Tigers were previously undefeated on the road, going six for six this season and on a seven game win streak. The Aggies are very tough at home this season, earning eight victories in 12 matches and were on a two-game win streak. Something had to give, right?
A&M struck first in the 54th minute on a beautiful header by Grace Piper, who earned her fourth goal of the season. The Tigers answered a minute later by way of Brooke Ramsier; her fourth goal on the season as well. All four goals by Ramsier have been from set pieces this year. The game winner was a penalty taken in the 82nd minute by Haley Pounds, who grabbed her seventh goal of the season.
The Aggies improve to 9-7-1 and will finish at Mississippi State on Thursday. As for Auburn, this is a disappointing loss and fall to 12-5-0. With one game left against Tennessee at home, the Tigers can regain momentum heading into the SEC Tournament next week.
DePaul upends #7 Georgetown:
The Blue Demons scored four first half goals to stun the #7 Hoyas. In a 4-1 dominating performance, these top two teams in the BIG EAST seemed to have switched roles in this one. I certainly didn’t have Georgetown losing this one, not to take anything away from DePaul. But considering the Hoyas had won 14 games in a row, I had my reasons for thinking that.
DePaul were on the scoreboard quickly, proving me wrong immediately. They scored two goals in a matter of 12 minutes to put the pressure on Georgetown on its senior day. In the 31st minute the Hoyas cut the deficit in half but six minutes later the Blue Demons grabbed another to make it a two goal lead once again. The dagger came just before half when senior Abby Reed found her team leading 10th goal of the year.
This was DePaul’s most impressive win of the season, bringing them to 10-5-2 and they look to finish the regular season at Marquette on Friday. Meanwhile, this was Georgetown’s biggest loss of the season and they fall to 13-2-2. The Hoyas complete the regular season against Creighton on Friday.