Thursday, November 10, 2011
Midwest clashes highlight ECNL schedule
By Chris Ackels
More than half of ECNL clubs take to the pitch this weekend in matches across the country. We’ll see a handful of first-place vs. second-place matches, and even a few with national standings on the line. ESPNHS breaks down the Games to Watch this week in the ECNL.
Michigan Hawks vs. Eclipse Select (noon Saturday in Michigan)
When these teams play, you can expect a good matchup. Michigan Hawks and Eclipse face off again this weekend, and at U18 that means first place is on the line. The Hawks are 8-1-1 this season with their only loss coming three weeks ago to Eclipse Select (9-3-2). Ashleigh Ellenwood scored both Eclipse goals that game and will need to be contained if Michigan wants to hold on to the top spot in the Midwest Conference.
Arsenal vs. Slammers (5 p.m. Sunday in California)
It’s a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the SoCal Conference as well, as Arsenal (7-1-1) and Slammers (9-1-1) meet for the first time this season. For Slammers, the offense revolves around Virginia commit Makenzy Doniak, who leads the team with 15 goals this season. Arsenal will answer with Ifeoma Onumonu, who has proven to come up big in important matches.
Concorde Fire vs. CASL Chelsea (1 p.m. Saturday in Georgia)
These two teams sit neck-and-neck atop the Southeastern Conference entering the weekend. Undefeated CASL Chelsea (10-0-4) beat Concorde Fire in late September thanks to two goals by North Carolina commit Joanna Boyles. For Concorde (11-4-1), the scoring comes down to Auburn-bound Savannah Jordan, who leads the team with 16 goals in as many games.
TSC Hurricanes vs. Dallas Texans (9 a.m. Sunday in Oklahoma)
It’s yet another first-place vs. second-place matchup this weekend in the Texas Conference as undefeated Dallas Texans (7-0-1) takes on TSC Hurricane (9-2-2). If you look at scoring leaders, you’ll expect to see Texans’ Jasmine Hart and Hurricane’s Kristen Killion on the board. But when these teams met to open the season in August, it was Marchelle Davis and Katelyn Mountjoy who led Texans to a 2-1 victory.
Real So Cal vs. West Coast (12:30 p.m. Sunday in California)
It will be all about defense this weekend in California, as third-place Real So Cal hosts second-place West Coast. Thirteen goals in 10 games is still good enough for a 6-2-2 record thanks to Real So Cal’s strong defense. They’ll face another defensive squad in West Coast, who has notched five shutouts in 10 games en route to a 6-3-1 record.
So Cal Blues vs. San Diego Surf (1 p.m. Saturday in California)
In a tightly-packed SoCal Conference, even a first-place versus fifth-place game sparks interest. Surf’s 5-6-1 record may not look like it keeps them in contention, but only two of those losses came within the conference, and a win this weekend could put them right back in it. So Cal Blues (7-1-2) sits in first place in SoCal, thanks to five 1-0 wins over the course of the season.
Vardar vs. Eclipse Select (8 a.m. Sunday in Michigan)
Just look at the records. Eclipse enters the weekend at 12-1-1, recording seven shutouts and holding first place in the Midwest Conference. Vardar comes in at 12-1-0, allowing just four goals in 13 matches all season. But two of those were scored by Eclipse, as they handed Vardar their only loss of the season when these teams met three weeks ago. With first place on the line, it can’t get bigger than this at U15.
San Juan vs. Mustang (9 a.m. Saturday in California)
Both teams look to rebound after losses last weekend, but they still hold on to first and second place in the Northwest Conference. San Juan is also fighting for a top spot in the national Flight B standings, as they chase first place Vardar. This weekend could provide a chance for San Juan to make a move in the national standings.