What do they have in common?
They are among the college stars featured this week in Soccer AmericaÆs COLLEGE SOCCER REPORTER.
Subscribe to SOCCER AMERICA and receive Soccer America's COLLEGE SOCCER REPORTER, a benefit for Soccer America members. COLLEGE SOCCER REPORTER, your briefing on the national college scene, is published twice on Monday and daily Tuesday-Friday during the college season.
Here are some of the stories that appeared in last week's COLLEGE SOCCER REPORTER.
SMU is perfect in Conference-USA
After starting out 2-4-2, SMU's men have run off seven straight wins, all in Conference USA.
The MustangsÆ latest win was a 3-2 victory at Tulsa on Fox Soccer ChannelÆs Friday night game of the week.
Kyle Brown twice put Tulsa ahead in the second half, but SMU responded through Kellan Zindel, Jay Needham and Scott Corbin to earn the victory.
The Mustangs, who are perfect in their first season of C-USA play, close out the conference regular season with games at South Carolina and East Carolina.
FAUÆs alternating goalies are unbeatable
Florida Atlantic extended its unbeaten streak to 13 games with a 1-0 with over East Tennessee State on Sunday.
The Owls, the Atlantic-Sun regular-season champions, have 12 wins and one tie during the streak. All 12 wins have been shutouts.
What is unusual about FAUÆs defensive strength is that Megan Coyne and Jessica Badders alternate halves in goal.
Coyne finished the regular season with a goals-against average of 0.107, which leads the NCAA. She didnÆt have to make a save in the first half against ETSU before giving way to Badders, who made one stop.
MEN'S TOP 25 SPOTLIGHT
Terrapins have all the tools
Maryland Terrapins has reached three straight MenÆs College Cup and is playing like a team that could return to the final four and win the NCAA Division I title, something it hasnÆt done since sharing the 1968 crown with Michigan State.
Maryland, which moved up to No. 2 in the Soccer America Top 25, has won seven in a row and scored three or more goals in the last six games to take the lead in the ACC with two weeks left in the regular season. Those six games include wins over Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia, all ranked in the Top 25, Boston College, which began the season in the Top 25, and 9-7-0 Georgetown.
Sasho CirovskiÆs squad has the right blend of experience and youth.
Starters Jason Garey, Michael Dello Russo, Chris Lancos and Kenney Bertz are playing their final seasons at College Park. Californians Chris Seitz and Robbie Rogers headline a freshman class that was ranked second in the country.
Garey (16 goals, 3 assists, 35 points) is making a strong case for Player of the Year honors. The Louisiana product is one of five Maryland players who have reached double digits in points along with sophomore Stephen King (8, 6, 22), Rogers (4, 2 10), sophomore Maurice Edu (3, 4, 10) and junior A.J. Godbolt (0, 10, 10).
CLASS BREAKDOWN: 4 seniors, 1 junior, 3 sophomores, 3 freshmen (starters vs. Boston College, 10/22).
GEOGRAPHIC MAKEUP: California (3), Maryland (2), New Jersey (2), District of Columbia (1), Louisiana (1), Ohio (1), Texas (1).
ON DECK: Maryland has three games left in the regular season, including a televised clash (CN8) with No. 4 Indiana Saturday night as part of a doubleheader at Ludwig Field. It closes out the ACC campaign Nov. 4 at red-hot Virginia Tech.
WOMEN'S TOP 25 SPOTLIGHT
Texas A&M eyes Big 12 repeat
With a win over Baylor on Friday, No. 15 Texas A&M can clinch its second straight Big 12 regular-season title.
The following week is the AggiesÆ defense of their Big 12 Tournament title, but A&M fans can be excused if they might be looking ahead to the NCAA Tournament.
Texas A&M will host the WomenÆs College Cup Dec. 2-4.
In surely the deepest field in the history of womenÆs soccer, A&M would be expected to earn an NCAA Tournament seed with a good run at the Big 12 Tournament, but it remains an outsider to make the final four.
The Aggies, though, have many of the ingredients necessary to make a strong tournament run: experience (23 returning letterwinners), goalkeeping (Kati Jo Spisak was a 2003 Soccer America MVP) and a pair of hot scorers (sophomores Melissa Garey, younger sister of Maryland star Jason Garey, and two-sport -- soccer and basketball -- standout Ashlee Pistorius have 32 points apiece).
The Aggies took over the Big 12 lead with a 2-1 win over Colorado in a top-of-the-table clash Friday night in College Station and then crushed 1-16-0 Texas Tech, 7-0, on Sunday.
A&M head coach G Guerrieri is only looking at the Baylor game.
''All we can do is take care of what we can control,'' he says. ''WeÆre getting to play at home and thatÆs nice. ItÆs senior night. There should be a good buzz in the air, and we really need a good crowd for that.''
That shouldn't be a problem.
Texas A&M has been averaging 3,691 fans a game ûthe best in the nation, for a menÆs or womenÆs program.
CLASS BREAKDOWN: 4 seniors, 4 juniors, 2 sophomores, 1 freshman (starters vs. Colorado, 10/21)
GEOGRAPHIC MAKEUP: Texas (5), Arizona (1), California (1), Colorado (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), Oklahoma (1).
ON DECK: After the Baylor game, A&M moves into the Big 12 Tournament, which will be played for the ninth straight year at Blossom Stadium in San Antonio, Texas.
SMALL COLLEGE WRAPUP
Lynn & Lindsey Wilson men fall
NCAA MENÆS D2. Lynn fell from the top spot after it lost to St. Leo, 2-1, on Saturday. The Lions won on Eusebio MontoyaÆs golden goal. Both teams are 13-1-0. SIU-Edwardsville is now No. 1 in the NSCAA/adidas rankings.
NCAA MENÆS D3. No. 3 Ohio Wesleyan improved to 16-0-0 overall and 9-0-0 in the North Coast Athletic Conference with a 2-0 win over Wooster. Jeff Fisher and Kevin Lehman scored first-half goals for the Bishops. Last year Ohio Wesleyan shared the NCAC regular-season title with the Fighting Scots but lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament on penalty kicks and failed to make the NCAA Tournament for only the third time in Coach Jay MartinÆs 28 years.
NAIA MEN. Days after its controversial 26-0 win over Pikeville, top-ranked Lindsey Wilson fell from the unbeaten ranks when it lost to Auburn-Montgomery, 2-1. Hjuortur Hjartarson, AUMÆs leading scorer, scored twice on penalty kicks in the victory. AUM had eliminated the Blue Raiders from the 2004 NAIA National Tournament.
NCAA WOMENÆS D2. No. 2 Seattle Pacific is unbeaten in its last 53 regular-season games. The Falcons can clinch at least a share of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title if they post wins at Humboldt State Thursday and Western Oregon Saturday. SPU, which has won three straight GNAC titles, held its No. 2 spot despite tying Simon Fraser, 1-1.
NCAA WOMENÆS D3. Virginia Wesleyan improved its record to a program-best 17-0-1 overall and to 10-0-1 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference with a 2-1 victory over Lynchburg before 725 fans. The Marlins got goals from Courtney Benitez and Christina Smith. Lynchburg goalie Katie DeLorenzo has allowed only two other goals in 18 games.
NAIA WOMEN. Jess Eenigenburg scored her 29th goal of the season and 102nd of her career in Trinity ChristianÆs 3-0 win over the University of St. Francis. The win marked the first time the Trolls advanced to the second round of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
Penn State men also shine
Happy Valley soccer fans are ecstatic.
All the attention has been on the No. 1 Penn State women and their star, Tiffany Weimer, but the men have been surging.
Barry GormanÆs men started out 0-4-1 but are now 8-6-2 and moved into the Soccer America Top 25 this week for the first time this season.
With two weeks remaining, the Nittany Lions have already clinched the Big Ten regular-season title. They moved to 5-0-0 last Sunday when they beat Michigan State, 1-0, in double overtime.
The Lions have scored only 17 goals in 16 games, but they have made them count. Jason Yeisley is making a case for Freshman of the Year honors with seven goals. Sophomore Simon OmekandaÆs four goals include back-to-back golden goals in conference play against Ohio State and Michigan State.
''Obviously, we are delighted,'' said Gorman. ''It is a credit to the guys on the squad and everyone associated with the program. Given our start to the season, it's great the way the guys have come back in conference play.
WomenÆs tournaments kick off
The MAAC has no team farther south than Loyola (Md.) in Baltimore, but all 10 MAAC teams are in Florida for the womenÆs conference tournament that began Thursday.
The JetBlue Airways MAAC WomenÆs Soccer Championship is being played at DisneyÆs Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Loyola, which posted a perfect 9-0 mark in league play, is the favorite to capture the tournament title. The Greyhounds are led by Ali Andrzejewski and Carolyn Kennington, who have combined 18 goals and eight assists.
MondayÆs final will be televised live on ESPNU at 1 p.m. ET.
The Big East also began tournament play Thursday with two first-round games and continues on Sunday with the quarterfinals at its four teams ranked in the Soccer America Top 25, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Marquette and West Virgnia. Marquette will host the semifinals and final the following weekend.
Action also begins this weekend in the America East and Missouri Valley.
Of the 29 Division I conferences, only the Ivy League, Pac-10 and WCC donÆt hold conference tournaments.
The ACC (SAS Soccer Complex in Cary, N.C.), Big 12 (San AntonioÆs Blossom Soccer Stadium) and SEC (Orange Beach, Ala., SportsPlex) will also hold their tournaments at a neutral site.
Other conferences will hold their tournaments next weekend at member institutions, either pre-determined or based on seeding.
MENÆS TOP 25 SPOTLIGHT
Virginia TechÆs Ghanaian wizards
Soccer is different from the big college sports in that its biggest stars often arrived under the radar screen.
This year is no exception as two young Ghanaians have turned Virginia Tech into an ACC title contender and Top 25 team almost overnight.
The NCAA did not clear forward Patrick Nyarko and midfielder Joshua Boateng to play until mid-September. Virginia Tech lost the first game they played together - 2-1 at Wake Forest on Sept. 23 - but the Hokies are unbeaten in nine games since then with wins over Top 25 teams North Carolina (1-0 away) and N.C. State (4-0 in Blacksburg).
Nyarko (6 goals, 4 assists) and Boateng (4 goals, 2 assists) are both ball wizards.
''They have soccer skills that our kids can only dream of,'' Virginia Tech coach Oliver Weiss told the Roanoke Times.
Nyarko and Boateng, both ambitious students, find academic life quite different from what they experienced in Ghana. They are amazed at the facilities û the computer labs in particular û available to students and are adjusting to the pace.
''The living here,'' Boateng told the Roanoke Times, ''is very fast in everything.''
Foreigners of influence
Foreigners are having big freshman seasons for other Top 25 teams.
Norwegian defender Ossie Michalsen is one of the reasons Akron is ranked No. 1.
Michalsen and fellow Zip freshman Kristian Gaustad attended the same high school and continue a long line of Zip players from Bergen.
ôAkron soccer is big in Norway,'' Michalsen told the Akron Beacon-Journal, noting the golf outings and Christmas parties ex-Zips hold in Bergen.
Just like Akron and its Norwegians, No. 14 UNC Greensboro has a long tradition of recruiting Icelanders.
Midfielder Jokull Elisabetarson and defender Henning Jonason, who both played for Iceland champion KR and IcelandÆs U-21 national team, follow in the footsteps of former UNCG Icelanders such as all-time leading scorer Siggi Eyjolfsson who went on to have a pro career in England and Belgium.
At 6-foot-5, German Yannick Reyering is hard to miss in No. 5 VirginiaÆs attack. He leads the Cavaliers with 11 goals in 13 games.
OÆBrian White, a Jamaican U-20 international via Scarborough, Ont., leads No. 7 Connecticut with seven goals and four assists.
J.P. Boyle, the youngest of three Scotsmen at No. 21 Hartwick, leads the Hawks with seven goals and three assists.
Foreigners in college soccer
WhatÆs your feeling about major college programs recruiting players from abroad? Are they taking scholarships that could otherwise go to American players? Or is soccer no different than basketball, which recruits heavily abroad these days? Let us know your opinion. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name and hometown.
ItÆs 50-50 for Notre Dame duo
Overshadowed by the record-breaking seasons Penn StateÆs Tiffany Weimer and PortlandÆs Christine Sinclair are having is the production of the Notre Dame duo of senior Katie Thorlakson, the 2004 Soccer America Player of the Year, and freshman Kerri Hanks.
Hanks (52) and Thorlakson (51) entered the NCAA Division I womenÆs record book as the first teammates with 50-plus points since Florida's Abby Wambach (54) and Andrea Sellers (50) in 2000.
Only three sets of teammates are believed to have ever scored 60-plus points in a season: North Carolina's Mia Hamm (97) and Kristine Lilly (65) in 1992, SMU's Danielle Garrett (83) and Courtney Linex (77) in 1995, and Notre DameÆs Cindy Daws (72) and Jenny Streiffer (66) in 1996.