[MEN'S NOTEBOOK] Duke captain Tim Jepson, who has started every game since he became a Blue Devil and played all but 100 minutes in 2006, will be held out of Duke's two games this weekend with a pulled muscle.
The No. 3 Blue Devils open against Delaware and Valparaiso, and the weekend should allow talented freshmen Doug Ferner and Christian Ibeagha to see action on the backline.
Clemson and South Carolina renew of the best state rivals in college soccer on Friday night, but both teams are unranked.
Clemson made the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament, but returns only five starters. Gone are Dane Richards(now with MLS's New York Red Bulls) Brazilian Frederico Moojen. South Carolina returns only four starters from last season.
No. 16 Northwestern opens the 2007 regular season this weekend with the fifth annual Lakeside Classic. Due to construction still going on at the new Lakeside Field facility, Friday's games -- Bucknell vs. Northern Illinois at 12:30 p.m. and Northwestern vs. Colgate at 3 p.m. -- have been moved to the Loyola Soccer Park on the campus of Loyola University in Chicago. Sunday's games will carry on as scheduled along the lakeside on the Northwestern campus.
Ohio State was disappointed when it went 11-7-3, played in the Big Ten championship game and finished with a final RPI of No. 28 -- but was surprisingly not selected for the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes had a strong preseason, beating Rutgers, 1-0, at home and tying nationally ranked Creighton, 2-2. on the road, and have an early chance to make a statement when they host No. 13 West Virginia on Friday at the Wolstein Soccer Classic.