No. 1 North Carolina quickly turned a tight game into a romp to clinch another ACC regular-season title, but many of the Tar Heels' chief challengers were upset in Week 9 of the college women's season.
Elizabeth Ball had two goals and two assists and Alyssa Ramsey added a pair of goals and an assist for Carolina (14-0), which scored five goals in the final 25 minutes to make a 1-1 game with No. 8 Virginia a 6-1 rout.
The Tar Heels have won a dozen Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season crowns and will go for their 13th ACC Tournament title Nov. 8-11.
Things didn't go so well for most of the rest of the top eight: No. 2 Santa Clara, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 Penn State and No. 7 Nebraska joined the eighth-ranked Cavaliers in suffering setbacks.
Santa Clara (14-2) was upset by Pepperdine in a West Coast Conference match in Malibu, with freshman Ali Pavoni scoring the only goal four minutes into overtime.
Stanford (12-1-1) was held to a 0-0 tie by No. 15 St. Mary's, which got another superb showing from Ruth Montgomery -- the junior goalkeeper also has shut out Portland, California, USC and Pepperdine this season. The Cardinal bounced back with a 2-1 victory over cross-bay rival California, which is 2-4-1 after an 8-1 start.
UCLA (13-2) was upset at Oregon State, which got several diving saves from goalkeeper Jo Fletcher and goals from Katie Henderson and Jillian Nicks in a 2-1 triumph.
Big Ten champion Penn State (14-3-1) closed out conference play with a 2-1 loss at Ohio State. Lisa Grubb had a goal and an assist for the Buckeyes.
Nebraska was pummeled, 3-0, by Portland, then held to a 1-1 draw at Colorado, which earlier this season tied Texas A&M in Boulder. The Cornhuskers took out their frustrations in an 8-1 mauling of Texas Tech.
Nebraska's draw with Colorado enabled No. 9 Texas, which tackled Oklahoma State (4-0) and Oklahoma (3-1), to clinch its first Big 12 Conference championship, ending the Cornhuskers' two-year reign.
Three more Top 20 teams suffered losses: St. Mary's (1-0 at Loyola Marymount), No. 19 Wake Forest (2-0 at Duke) and No. 20 Florida State (3-2 at Virginia).
Carolina is the lone unbeaten team in Division I women's soccer, and there are four teams with one loss: Stanford (12-1-1), No. 17 Princeton (11-1-1), Penn (11-1-2) and Southeast Missouri State (14-1).
In other action:
ò San Diego used a 3-2 victory over Pepperdine to pull into a tie for first place in the West Coast Conference with Santa Clara. Both teams are 4-1 in WCC play. Portland, which plays at Santa Clara on Friday night, is 2-1. Three more squads -- St. Mary's, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine -- have two losses.
ò SMU claimed the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title with victories over Tulsa (6-1) and Rice (2-1). Jill Heinemann and Tara Comfort scored twice against Tulsa; Heinemann netted the first goal vs. the Owls, and Comfort's corner kick was finished for the winner. The WAC, like most Division I conferences, uses a postseason tournament to determine its automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament.
ò Freshman Melissa Shulman's 60th-minute goal carried Boston University to a 1-0 victory over Hartford in a showdown for the America East Conference lead. The Terriers (9-0-1 AEC) followed with a 4-0 rout of Vermont and can claim their second successive conference title against Northeastern on Saturday. Hartford (9-1 AEC) can claim the crown with a win over Vermont and BU's failure to beat Northeastern.
ò Tasha Wagner's second-half strike gave Cincinnati a 1-0 win Sunday over East Carolina, clinching the Conference USA title for the Bearcats.
ò Central Florida claimed a share of the Atlantic Sun Conference championship in a 7-0 rout of Belmont. The Golden Knights, coached by Washington Freedom midfielder Amanda Cromwell, are 8-1 in A-Sun action, including a victory over Campbell, which fell to 7-2 with a 2-0 loss to Jacksonville. UCF closes the regular season Friday at Jacksonville; Campbell plays at Belmont on Saturday.
ò Southeast Missouri State clinched its first Ohio Valley Conference crown. The Otahkians won their only OVC match of the week, 2-0 over UT Martin on Wednesday, and secured the title when Tennessee Tech edged Murray State on Saturday.
ò North Texas won the Sun Belt Conference title outright when Florida International and Denver -- the two squads that could have caught the Mean Green -- played to a 3-3 tie. The SBC is the only Division I conference without an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament, but North Texas (10-4), Denver (14-2) and FIU (10-4-1) will receive consideration.
ò Wins over East Tennessee State (4-0) and Appalachian State (1-0) gave Western Carolina a share of the Southern Conference title. The Catamounts (8-2 SoCon) beat Furman (7-2) and UNC Greensboro (7-2), the only teams that can catch them. Furman finishes at 0-9 Citadel and UNCG has a game remaining at Davidson.
ò A victory over -- or tie with -- Massachusetts on Friday will give Dayton its fourth successive Atlantic-10 Conference title. The Flyers improved to 9-0 in the A-10 with wins over St. Joseph's (2-1) and Temple (3-1). UMass, also 7-0 at the start of the week, dropped decisions to Richmond (2-0) and George Washington (3-0).
ò Ohio University all but wrapped up the Mid-American Conference championship with wins at Northern Illinois (2-1) and Western Michigan (4-1). The Bobcats (9-2 MAC) hold a slim advantage on Miami, Ohio (8-2-1) and Eastern Michigan (8-3) with one match to play, but first-year Akron (0-11) is their final foe.
ò Five teams remain in contention for the Northeast Conference title with one week remaining in the regular season. Defending champion Quinnipiac (8-1) can clinch the crown with a victory Sunday over Sacred Heart (7-2). UMBC (7-2), Central Connecticut (6-2) and Monmouth (6-2) also are in the hunt.
ò BYU needs only a tie at home Saturday against Utah to grab another Mountain West Conference championship. The young Cougars (4-1 MWC) can be caught by Utah (3-2) and UNLV (3-2), which hosts San Diego State in its conference finale.
ò The Big West Conference crown may be determined Sunday when Cal State Fullerton (5-1) visits UC Santa Barbara (5-1). Both squads have three games remaining. The Big West does not have a tournament, so the regular-season champion will get an NCAA nod.
ò A tie will be sufficient to secure the Big Sky Conference title for Weber State (5-0 BSC) in its showdown Saturday at Idaho State (4-0-1). Sacramento State (3-3), the final challenger to the top two, lost to both last week.
ò Navy, coached by former U.S. women's team star Carin Gabarra, can claim the Patriot League title with a win or tie Saturday at Bucknell. The Midshipmen (5-1) already have nailed down a share of first place, but Bucknell (4-2) would get to host the conference tournament with a victory.
ò Freshman Julie Forrest drove home a loose ball in the 114th minute and Portland State halted a 39-match winless streak Sunday with a 3-2 victory over Eastern Washington. The Vikings (1-14-2) last won Oct. 12, 1999, vs. Western Baptist.
ò In Division II action, Christian Brothers striker (and former Dayton All-American) Missy Gregg last week scored 22 goals -- three vs. Freed-Hardeman (10-0), five vs. Lambuth (8-0), six vs. Ouchita Christian (12-0), one vs. Central Arkansas (8-0) and seven vs. Milligan (7-0) -- to establish NCAA records with 61 goals and 132 points. Gregg has played in 16 matches for the Lady Bucs (17-0).
10/22 RANKING ... TEAM (CURRENT RECORD)
... 10/15 RANKING
1. North Carolina (14-0-0) 1
10/15 at Virginia (6-1)
2. Santa Clara (14-2-0) 3
10/26 at Loyola Marymount (2-0), 10/28 at Pepperdine (0-1, OT)
3. Stanford (12-1-1) 4
10/26 St. Mary's (0-0), 10/28 California (2-1)
4. UCLA (13-2-0) 2
10/26 at Oregon (2-0), 10/28 at Oregon State (1-2)
5. Portland (13-2-0) 5
10/23 Nebraska (3-0), 10/28 San Francisco (6-0)
6. Penn State (14-3-1) 7
10/23 St. Francis, Pa. (5-0), 10/26 at Ohio State (1-2), 10/28 at Pittsburgh (6-2)
7. Nebraska (13-3-1) 9
10/23 at Portland (0-3), 10/26 at Colorado (1-1), 10/28 Texas Tech (8-1)
8. Virginia (12-3-1) 10
10/25 North Carolina (1-6), 10/28 Florida State (3-2)
9. Texas (11-3-0) 11
10/26 Oklahoma State (4-0), 10/28 Oklahoma (3-1)
10. Texas A&M (10-3-1) 12
10/26 Oklahoma (2-0), 10/28 Oklahoma State (5-1)
11. Florida (13-3-1) 6
10/26 Mississippi State (6-0), 10/28 Mississippi (6-0)
12. Notre Dame (13-2-1) 8
10/23 at Yale (2-0), 10/28 Michigan (2-1, OT)
13. Connecticut (13-4-0) 16
10/24 Harvard (1-0, OT)
14. Clemson (12-3-0) 13
10/23 UNC Asheville (5-0), 10/27 Charleston Southern (3-0)
15. St. Mary's (12-2-2) 14
10/26 at Stanford (0-0), 10/28 at Loyola Marymount (0-1)
16. Washington (10-3-1) 18
10/26 Arizona (2-0), 10/28 Arizona State (2-1, OT)
17. Princeton (11-1-1) 20
10/27 Cornell (1-0)
18. Tennessee (11-4-0) NR
10/26 Arkansas (3-1), 10/28 LSU (3-1)
19. Wake Forest (8-6-1) 19
10/23 Charlotte (2-1), 10/27 at Duke (0-2)
20. Florida St. (11-6-0) 17
10/24 Miami, Fla. (3-1), 10/28 at Virginia (2-3)
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