Women’s soccer: Our favorite’s gouda
The GIST: Though it’s still welcome week on most campuses, women’s soccer is already kicking gr(ass). The gals have been on the pitch for a full week, with upsets and rankings changes to boot. Let’s dig into who’s scored and who’s already sailed over the crossbar.
The set up: There are 333 DI women’s soccer programs, but only 64 will earn a spot in the final NCAA championship tourney. Of those, 31 spots are provided to conference champs, with the remainder selected by the NCAA’s women’s soccer committee.
- The last four teams on the tourney’s pitch in early December will travel to Cary, NC, to compete in the 2022 Women’s College Cup and earn a confetti shower.
Week 1’s biggest stories: Reigning natty champions Florida State may have started the season at No. 1 on the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 list, but the Seminoles quickly dropped to No. 2 after drawing with South Carolina 0–0 in their season opener, which boosted the Gamecocks from No. 12 to No. 4. Sheesh.
- And get used to draws — they’ll be more common this year following the NCAA’s elimination of regular season extra time and all golden goals.
- Rising to No. 1 is UNC, which took down Tennessee 3–0 last Thursday and triumphed over UNCW 2–0 on Sunday. Redshirt freshman Ally Sentnor scored in her Tar Heel debut on Sunday after missing 2021 due to injury. Don’t call it a comeback.
- In other shocking upset news, preseason No. 5 Santa Clara and No. 9 Michigan are now out of the rankings after losing 1–0 to UC Davis and Butler (both unranked), respectively, last week.
Other contenders: South Carolina, UCLA and Stanford are also movin’ on up in the rankings. And other favorites Rutgers, Virginia, BYU and Penn State are on UNC’s (Tar) heels. Who doesn’t love being chased?