Important weeks in many different conferences. The winners distinguish themselves from the rest. Are we going to qualify for post-season play-offs or are we even able to win the regular season championship? These are the most important weeks of the year for the Dutch student-athletes. This week the Dutch talents were important once more. Very impressive to see how they are able to perform in school as wel as on the field… We take a look at the American fields.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke is back home after hurricane Matthew flew over parts of North Carolina last week. In the match against Montevallo the team of Ruben Taks and Ties vd Eijnde seemed like winning it. It was Ruben who put UNCP in the lead, 1-0. His second goal of the season. The 1-0 score held up until the 80th minute of the game, when Montevallo scored the late equalizer. In the first minute of extra time the Montevallo team was able to score the dramatic game winning 1-2 pushing UNCP into a 2 game losing streak in the Peach Belt Conference.
Northeastern Junior College is on the roll. With Olav Sieljes as captain and leader of the team, the last 5 games were all won. The Plainsmen have even received a wildcard for participation in the post-season play-offs. This means the season will definitely have a exciting ending.
For Auburn University there were tough games scheduled for this weekend. The team travelled to Florida. Here the games against University of Tampa (#23 ranked nationally) and Barry University (#8 ranked nationally) were about to kick off. Unfortunately the two games ended in rather large defeats for the team of Simon van Rheeden and Tiuri Schieving. Simon did manage to score what puts his season total on 4 goals.
Marymount California University was able to keep its winning streak alive this week. With two large victories the team is still in the lead of the Cal Pac Conference. By now the team of Ouren Nikkels and Rowan Mankers are the absolute favorites to win the regular season Cal Pac Conference championship. Meanwhile Marymount California is ranked #14 nationally. Impressive!
For Olivet Nazarene University things are also looking good. This weekend the team expanded their winning streak to 8 straight wins. Matches against Calumet College and Trinity were won. With only 3 games to go in conference and a 6 point lead over the next team in pursuit the regular season championship can be won as soon as next week! Jurren vd Gun, Dion Viola and Roel van Winschoten will do anything to make it happen!
Urbana University also showed excellent form this weekend. In a thriller match against Charleston (#2 ranked nationally) a fantastic 1-0 win was established! There was a crucial role in the game for Lars Blenckers who put the ball in the net by reacting fast on a rebound. Jim Roberti led the Blue Knight defense to a shutout and the 1-0 win over rivals Charleston was celebrated intensely. It really is a thrilling season on top of the Mountain East Conference leaderboard. With just 3 conference games to be played Urbana is in first place together with Notre Dame, followed by Charleston with 3 points less but one match less played, so all three teams are nearly equal.
Captain Thom Derks was decisive once again this week for Mercyhurst University. With an assist and a goal two more victories were secured. Thom netted his 14th goal of the season, a huge accomplishment! This week there are two non-conference matches scheduled. Nonetheless, these games need to be won by Mercyhurst because of their importance for the national ranking. After these games conference will continue. With 6 points ahead of their competitors and just two more conference games to play nothing seems to stand in the way of yet another regular season championship for the Lakers…
DePaul University is in an upward spiral. In Washington DC Stijn vd Slot was in the starting 11 in eventually an important 1-0 win over Georgetown. A big step towards connecting with the middle teams in the Big East Conference has been made. The upcoming weeks will be essential for the Blue Demons. Can they tag on with the leaders in the conference and qualify for post-season play-offs or will they fall short in the end?
University of Incarnate Word left San Antonio this week to make camp in San Francisco. Two games in sunny California. These were important matches to tag on in the leaderboard for the Western Athletic Conference. It became a weekend with two sides. On the one hand the Cardinals had Bakersfield on the ropes but still lost the game (1-0). On the other hand San José was beaten. As attacking midfielder Wouter Peters displayed his qualities by scoring twice and taking the UIW Cardinals by the hand. Eventually the game ended 4-1. UIW currently holds 4th place in the WAC.