Triangle Throw-Ins: The Weekend in Soccer

Every Thursday, correspondent Sean Grybos will be giving us a look at the weekend ahead in soccer.

Chapel Hill Clash and Western New York Flash Pace the Weekend Schedule

Starting Friday at Fetzer Field, the UNC women host the Carolina Nike Classic, a four-team tournament.  The Tar Heels and Blue Devils both play Notre Dame over the weekend.  Houston also received an invite.

Notre Dame, the number-one ranked team in the nation as well as the 2010 NCAA champion, and the third-ranked Tar Heels (1-0-0) clash on Friday night. The Irish face the Blue Devils (2-0-0) on Sunday.

In addition to Notre Dame, Houston takes to the pitch against the Tobacco Road squads with Duke on Friday and UNC on Sunday. The Cougars, coached by former Tar Heel Susan Bush, can bank on traveling back to Texas winless.

The men enjoy lighter competition during their opening weekend as Duke, tabbed to finish fifth in the ACC, travels to UNC Greensboro on Friday night. North Carolina, picked to finish first in conference, hosts UNC Wilmington on Saturday evening.

The ACC Top Five

Both UNC squads look primed for deep NCAA tournament runs thus earning crucial points for The W.A. Erwin Cup. But don’t dismiss the Devils. The Duke teams are capable of making it past the first round of the tournament with the College Cup a more duanting challenge.

In conference, Maryland and Virginia pose the biggest challenges for the men’s and women’s teams. North Carolina State? Not so much. Here’s my top five:

1. North Carolina
2. Maryland
3. Duke
4. Virginia
5. Boston College

1. North Carolina
2. Maryland
3. Virginia
4. Boston College
5. Duke

Beyond Tobacco Road

The Women’s Professional Soccer final is on Saturday as the Western New York Flash host the Philadelphia Independence. The league gained momentum among media and fans after the United States raced through the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup losing in the final to a savvy Japanese squad. Former UNC midfielder Yael Averbuch played a key role in the Flash’s success this season.

Averbuch’s teammates include a Brazilian (Marta), considered the world’s greatest, a Baby Horse (Alex Morgan) and a Canadian (Christine Sinclair) with an eye for goal.

Prediction: Flash 3-1 over the Independence

Parting Quote

“It’s the best conference in college soccer. The speed of play, the physical game and the elite players; there were no easy games.”

– Duke’s Cole Grossman (January 2011)

The 22-year-old midfielder speaking about the ACC and its impact on his play a month before his performance at the 2011 Major League Soccer Player Combine. Grossman would parlay that performance into a second-round selection by the Columbus Crew joining a horde of Duke and UNC alumni scattered throughout MLS.

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One Response to Triangle Throw-Ins: The Weekend in Soccer

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  1. Andrew says:

    ESPN front page shout out– you dog.

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