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W-Leaguers Face Key Contest
Va. Tech visits UNC in key ACC contest on ESPN3

W-League Feature

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A number of current and former W-League standouts are set to star on the national stage this weekend as conference action in Women’s College Soccer airs on ESPN3 and other national networks. Headlining the weekend’s action is the ACC clash that sees No. 8 Virginia Tech visit No. 18 North Carolina on Thursday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.

The Hokies enter the contest undefeated overall, aided by the efforts of D.C. United’s Katie Yensen and Ashley Manning. Both players have contributed two goals and two assists so far this season, with Yensen recording an assist as the side opened ACC play with a 3-0 victory against North Carolina State this past Sunday.

Also playing a key role is goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts, who spent this summer with the Colorado Rush. The junior has yet to concede a goal this season after taking over starting duties on September 2 against American University, recording four consecutive shutouts.

While the Hokies opened their ACC slate with a victory, the Tar Heels are looking for their first conference win on Thursday after falling against Maryland and tying No. 9 Virginia this past weekend to open their schedule. The Tar Heels will be led by the New Jersey Wildcats’ Amber Brooks, who has two goals and an assist this fall, and Maria Lubrano, who previously played for the Cary Clarets and has three goals this season.

The top two teams in the Pac-12 open their conference schedules this weekend, with No. 2 UCLA hosting Washington State on Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET on the Pac-12 Network. The Bruins are led by Zakiya Bywaters of the LA Strikers, who shared the conference’s Player of the Week award on Tuesday after scoring four goals and adding an assist in victories against Princeton and Pepperdine last weekend.

The Cougars have also made a good start to the season, going 6-1 in non-conference play, but as they face the Bruins they will need a big contribution from the Vancouver Whitecaps Women’s Brandi Vega. Washington State’s second-leading scorer this season, with four goals and two assists, Vega appeared 11 times for the Whitecaps this summer as she prepared to raise her game this fall.

Also on the Pac-12 Network on Friday evening, Washington visits Southern Cal at 5 p.m. ET, with the Huskies looking for victory to try and break into the NSCAA Top 25 rankings, where they sit as the top non-ranked team currently. Washington has been led this season by the Seattle Sounders Women’s Lindsey Elston, who has six goals and four assists in nine games this fall.

Elston played in 12 games for the Sounders this summer, and will try to add to her impressive scoring record against a Trojans defense led by LA Strikers goalkeeper Caroline Stanley. USC has also received important contributions from Stanley’s fellow Striker Samantha Johnson, who sits second on the team with seven points.

Then on Sunday, No. 3 Stanford takes the field in its Pac-12 opener as it hosts Arizona State at 5 p.m. ET. The defending national champions are led by Mariah Nogueira, who is tied for the team-high with four goals. The Pali Blues standout, who this week was also nominated for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award, has been a catalyst for an attack that has scored almost three goals per game in non-conference play. At the other end of the field, Nogueira’s former Pali teammate Rachel Quon has led a strong defense that has conceded only five goals in eight games.

Also on Sunday, Virginia and Clemson meet on ESPN3 at 1 p.m. ET, with the Cavaliers’ Molly Menchel aiming to add to her three goals this season. As a defender for D.C. United Women this summer, Menchel had a goal and an assist in her 11 appearances for the Atlantic Division champion, and is joined in Virginia’s midfield by the Seattle Sounders Women’s Julia Roberts, who has three assists this fall.

The Charlotte Lady Eagles’ Gloria Douglas has also scored a pair of goals for the Cavaliers this fall after scoring four times in the W-League this past summer. They face a Clemson side led by the Central SC Cobras’ Tabitha Padgett, who currently sits second on the Tigers with seven points. Padgett had two goals and three assists in the Cobras’ inaugural season.

In the SEC, Georgia faces Florida at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN3 as former Bradenton Academics standout Erika Tymrak leads the Gators into the second week of conference action. Tymrak leads Florida with seven points, and is joined by D.C. United Women standout Holly King, who has five points in eight games after scoring two goals and adding an assist this summer in D.C.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are led by Atlanta Silverbacks goalkeeper Ashley Baker, who recorded a 0.686 goals-against average this summer as the Silverbacks fell just short of the playoffs. Baker has continued to play strongly for Georgia this fall, recording three shutouts and a 0.71 GAA while averaging five saves a contest in eight games.

Rounding out the television schedule is the Big Ten Network, which features Michigan State’s visit to Minnesota on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET. Annie Steinlage, who played in the W-League for the Kalamazoo Outrage, currently sits second on the Spartans with nine points, picking up three goals and three assists this fall. 

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