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Zach Pekale | NCAA.com | September 10, 2019

Women's college soccer rankings: North Carolina leads, UCLA falls to 5

Check out the best women's soccer plays of the week

Utilizing its highest scoring output of the season, North Carolina staked its claim to the No. 1 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches poll for a second straight week. The Tar Heels retain the top spot after winning both of its matches, including an 8-goal eruption against UNLV.

In the victory, UNC was propelled by braces from Alessia Russo and Brianna Pinto while Bridgette Andrzejewski and Emily Fox recorded three assists apiece.

But, the Tar Heels weren’t the only team to have an explosive offensive performance last week.

Stanford climbed to No. 2 in the poll following a 9-0 win over San Francisco. Reigning Hermann Trophy winner Catarina Macario led the charge with her first collegiate hat trick.

As the Cardinal rose one spot, UCLA fell three places to No. 5 following its first defeat of 2019 — a 2-0 loss to Santa Clara. Southern California, Virginia and the Bruins round out the newest variation of the top 5.

Here’s how the rest of the poll shaped out.

Rank School Prev Points Record
1 North Carolina (29) 1 842 6-0-0
2 Stanford (4) 3 819 5-0-0
3 Southern California (1) 4 775 6-0-0
4 Virginia 5 753 6-0-0
5 UCLA 2 683 4-1-0
6 Florida State 6 666 4-2-0
7 South Carolina 7 644 5-0-0
8 Penn State 8 589 4-1-1
9 Vanderbilt 9 563 6-0-0
10 Brigham Young 10 543 4-0-0
11 Duke 12 494 4-1-1
12 Texas A&M 13 431 4-0-2
13 Washington State 17 376 4-0-0
14 Memphis 18 345 5-1-0
15 Georgetown 15 288 3-2-1
16 Virginia Tech 23 280 6-0-0
17 TCU 24 273 5-1-0
18 Kansas 11 263 5-1-0
19 Rutgers 21 218 5-0-1
20 Clemson 19 181 5-0-1
21 Tennessee 20 169 5-1-0
22 Wisconsin 16 149 4-1-1
23 West Virginia 22 134 2-2-1
24 Colorado RV 98 6-0-0
25 South Florida RV 91 4-1-0

UCLA first conceded an own goal before the Broncos’ second-half tally insured Santa Clara’s third win over a No. 2-ranked team in the past four seasons. In addition to the Bruins, only three other ranked teams — all within the top 15 — dropped a match last week.

BACK TO BACK: Santa Clara stuns No. 2 team for second straight year

Kansas experienced its first loss of the season, a neutral site defeat at the hands of DePaul. Blue Demons’ forward Jade Eriksen-Russo made an open-field interception in the first minute of the second half, evading a Jayhawk defender before slotting home the lone goal of the match. The Jayhawks dropped seven spots to No. 18.

North Carolina State pulled off a top-10 upset in the season’s opening weekend. On Sept. 6, it was on the wrong side of an upset as Iowa knocked off the Wolfpack. Samantha Tawharu’s 38th-minute goal proved decisive for a 1-0 final in Raleigh as North Carolina State slid out of the top 25.

Georgetown took its second loss against the top 25 after falling 2-0 against Virginia on Sept. 5, but the Hoyas held at No. 15 in the latest poll.

Biggest risers

In the most recent edition of the top 25, two teams moved up more than five spots between the second and third polls — Texas Christian and Virginia Tech.

The No. 17 Horned Frogs and No. 16 Hokies each went 2-0 last week, jumping seven spots each as TCU beat Arkansas-Little Rock and Ohio State while Virginia Tech handled Alabama and Yale.

New to the rankings this week are Colorado (24) and South Florida (25). Both the Buffaloes and Bulls received votes in the previous two polls. USF was previously ranked No. 18 in the preseason poll.

Dropped out

North Carolina State (14), Wake Forest (25)

Looking ahead

North Carolina will look to remain on top against Wake Forest when the Demon Deacons come to Chapel Hill on Thursday. This will be the second ACC opponent UNC faces in 2019, though the result won't count towards league standings. Wake Forest dropped out of the rankings but would make a strong case to rejoin the top 25 with a win over the top-ranked Tar Heels.

Following its first loss of the season, No. 5 UCLA takes on No. 22 Wisconsin to try and get back into the win column. The Bruins host the Badgers in Los Angeles on Saturday. 

The non-conference slate offers another top-10 matchup as Virginia travels to State College for a meeting with Penn State on Sunday. The No. 4 Cavaliers have moved up in every poll this season and make their case for the top 3 against the No. 8 Nittany Lions.

Sunday provides a must-watch between in-state rivals as No. 20 Clemson hosts No. 7 South Carolina. Since 1995, Clemson leads the all-time series 13-11-1 though the Gamecocks have won the previous three meetings.

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