Duke (6-6-4, 3-4-3 ACC) is still on track for an NCAA bid barring some late-season disaster as the Blue Devils host N.C. State (6-11, 1-10) in their annual cancer awareness game. The Blue Devils will wear pink and the “D” in the center circle is also pink as they raise funds for the family of 6-year-old Morgan Blazek of Apex, who is a survivor of the eye cancer retinoblastoma.
The Wolfpack is in its first season under Tim Santoro.
The Blue Devils get one second-half goal against State’s 4-4-2 attack, prevailing 1-0 in the absolute must-win contest.
So even with the addition of a Final Four team to the mix, the Blue Devils still command plenty of respect in the conference.
ACC media day was on Wednesday and Duke was picked to finish first by both the conference’s Blue Ribbon Panel and the coaches, followed by Notre Dame, Maryland and UNC in the top four. N.C. State, under new head coach Wes Moore, was picked 10th.
The Blue Devils, who had the No. 2 recruiting class in the country led by forward Oderah Chidom, placed seniors Chelsea Gray and Tricia Liston along with junior Elizabeth Williams on the preseason all-conference team. Blue Devil freshman Kendall McCravey-Cooper was named to the panel’s newcomer watch list.
UNC, deemed to have the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, will begin the season with Hall of Fame head coach Sylvia Hatchell sidelined as she battles her recently diagnosed leukemia. Her career-long top assistant Andrew Calder will coach the Tar Heels in her absence.
Tar Heel sophomore Xylina McDaniel made the all-conference team, while Diamond DeShields is on both newcomer watch lists.
But the defending NCAA champion Tar Heels will be exactly that today.
UNC (13-2, 7-2 ACC), currently ranked No. 4 in the country, will take on Virginia (15-0, 9-0), which is ranked No. 1.
Steve Swanson’s Cavaliers have allowed only nine goals all season. They have had four one-goal victories, the last of those a 3-2 overtime win over visiting new ACC member No. 5 Notre Dame on Oct. 10.
UNC has given up only seven, including one apiece in its back-to-back losses to the Irish and Florida State in mid-September.
Each team will be missing its best player, as UNC senior midfielder Crystal Dunn and Virginia junior midfielder Morgan Brian are both with the U.S. Women’s Senior National Team.
Virginia will be seeking its third straight win at Fetzer, which would mark the first time any visiting team has done that. And the Cavaliers will seek to become the first team to beat all four North Carolina ACC members in women’s soccer in the same year. Ever.
And the Tar Heels have a chance to get a big-time upset and turn their season around.
UNC (1-4, 0-2 ACC) will take on surprising No. 10 Miami (5-0, 1-0) in an ESPN game that over the summer was supposed to have a lot to say about who won the ACC’s Coastal Division title.
The Tar Heels are 9½-point underdogs, but they won 18-14 on the road last year.
UNC is billing the game as “Zero Dark Thursday,” wearing black helmets, jerseys and pants with Carolina Blue trim.
UNC generates 500 yards total offense, but the visitors produce 556 and score on Dallas Crawford’s three-yard run with 16 seconds left for the 27-23 win.
But for UNC, the time to start winning is now. Urgently. Now.
The Tar Heels (1-4, 0-2 ACC) are going to have to win at least five of their last seven games to qualify for a bowl game, and it won’t be an easy task. That stretch run begins tonight at 7:45 at Kenan Stadium, when they host surprisingly good No. 10 Miami (5-0, 1-0) in an opportunity for a major upset — if they play by far their best game of this season.
The UNC-Miami showdown is one of three games involving Triangle squads this weekend. The other two games are Saturday.
N.C. Central (3-3, 1-1 MEAC) will look to get its ship righted when the Eagles host Morgan State (1-5, 1-1) at 2 p.m. at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.
Duke (4-2, 0-2 ACC) is on the road at Virginia (2-4, 0-2) for a 3:30 p.m. contest on Fox Sports South, and if the Blue Devils can win it they’ll be on track for a second straight bowl game and their best season since 1994.
N.C. State (3-3, 0-3), which is licking its wounds after back-to-back ACC losses in winnable games, is idle until next Saturday’s trip to Florida State.
RALEIGH, PNC ARENA—The Hurricanes made way for the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks tonight. Tomorrow they’ll make way for prizewinning cattle, pig races and anything you can put in a deep fat-fryer.
Coach Kirk Muller had the road trip in his sights before the season began, treating the first seven games leading up to the trip as the first chapter of the 82-game novel that is this year. After an offseason of changes, he’d know what he had at the seven-game mark.
What Muller takes on the road is a middling 2-2-3 team with seven points in seven games, but also a team that’s competing in the Metropolitan Division since the Rangers, Devils, Flyers and Capitals have started so poorly. It’s a team that’s shown some of last year’s bad habits—starting games flat, giving up late leads, failing to get the extra point beyond regulation time—while showing hopeful new flashes of secondary scoring and improved special teams, too.
SCSU is on a pretty good roll, winning four straight since a loss at Clemson.
The Eagles won 40-10 last year in Indianapolis to end a seven-game losing streak in the series.
But this one is all Bulldogs, period. SCSU dominates the game from start to finish, ruining NCCU’s appearance on ESPNU in a 44-3 rout.
The next game will determine whether or not a squad will have a winning record at the halfway point.
And that’s the situation this weekend for the three of the Triangle’s four Division I college football teams who are taking the field in home games.
The answers start coming tonight at 7:45, when N.C. Central (3-2, 1-0 MEAC) hosts S.C. State (4-2, 2-0) at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium in a game to be shown on ESPNU.
And the ACC teams play Saturday, with Duke (3-2) hosting Navy (3-1) at Wallace Wade Stadium at 12:30 on WRAL and N.C. State (3-2, 0-2) entertaining Syracuse (2-3, 0-1 ACC) in the Orange’s first visit to the Triangle as an ACC member at 3:30 on Fox Sports Carolinas.
UNC (1-4, 0-2) has the day off before hosting Miami a week from tonight.
PNC ARENA (RALEIGH)—It’s game one of 82. This morning, when you get up and look in the bathroom mirror, and your unfulfilled dreams seem to press back at you from the other side of the glass, say, “It’s game one of 82.”
Detroit scored twice in the third period, including the tying goal with their goalie pulled for an extra attacker with just 14 seconds left, and then won the game in overtime, 3-2.
New Canes Radek Dvorak and Nathan Gerbe tallied for Carolina and Cam Ward made 35 saves. But Justin Abdelkader halved a 2-0 Canes lead in the first minute of the third period, Henrik Zetterberg tied matters in the last minute, and Stephen Weiss won it in the extra frame.
It’s a loss that a team more used to winning can shrug off with an “It wasn’t our night.” But for Carolina, a team with an entrenched losing culture, it’s harder to dismiss.