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NCAA Season Opening Weekend Brings Big Upsets for Top Teams

The first two games of the NCAA Soccer season brought a lot of surprises and entertainment as the top three teams faltered against unexpected competition.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It was an exciting kick off to the 2013 NCAA Men's Soccer season. With a lot of match ups to follow, there were a lot of opportunities for entertaining games to be had, and they did not fail to produce.

The Cal Bears made headlines this weekend as they produced two upsets against Georgetown and Maryland. In their season opener against Georgetown on Friday, Cal put up a 2-0 win against the Hoyas, with a goal from junior Connor Hallisey and a penalty kick from captain and senior Steve Birnbaum. Cal built on this win by securing a win against Maryland with an extra time golden goal on Sunday. While Maryland's star forward Patrick Mullins was unable to get on the scoresheet, goals from Schillo Tshuma and Jake Pace kept the Terps in the game. However shortly after the beginning of extra time, captain and senior Alec Sundly scored the golden goal for the Bears. Both Sundly and Birnbaum were part of the Bears squad that reached the 2012 semifinals, and bring a great deal of leadership and experience to this team.

Maryland and Georgetown had traveled to Northern California to kick off their seasons against Cal and Stanford. While Maryland was unable to get a win (they had a 0-0 draw against Stanford on Friday), Georgetown was able to salvage their trip with a 2-0 win against Stanford on Sunday. Steve Neumann scored both of their goals.

UCLA also produced an upset this weekend after scoring a golden goal in extra time against Indiana. The Bruins went down a man in the 75th minute when Joe Sofia was sent off for a foul in the box, but that didn't stop the Bruins from powering forward. They fought through regulation to maintain the 0-0 draw, and in an amazing sequence from Victor Chavez, paired with a defensive lapse from the Hoosiers gave UCLA the lone and winning goal in the match. The result from this match, along with a 0-0 draw against Notre Dame brought the Bruins into the top three of the NCAA rankings.

Other notable results:

  • New Mexico 7-2 Villanova
  • UCONN 1-0 St. Francis
  • Creighton 3-0 Cal Poly
  • UNC 4-0 Coastal Carolina

Because of the results this weekend, the polls saw many changes to the top. There is a strong consensus placing Connecticut at number one. However, the NSCAA Coaches ranked them at number 3. No polls ranked Cal prior to this weekend, but they are now 4 and 5 in Soccer America and College Soccer News, respectively. Both Georgetown and Maryland suffered large drops, but they shouldn't be staying so low for long. Indiana dropped as well, though the extent to which they did so differs by poll - Soccer America placed them at 13, while College Soccer News placed them at 4. The NSCAA poll did not rank Cal as high as other did, yet they did enter them into the poll for the first time this season at number 10.