Going into his freshman season at Lafayette, there was little question that reigning high school Pennsylvania Player of the Year Evan Vare could score. It was just a question of whether he could find the back of the net as consistently at the Division 1 college level as he did in high school at Central Bucks East and for his club Lehigh Valley United.
In recent weeks, Vare has answered that question with an emphatic yes. The Jamison, Pa. native already has a half dozen goals to his name after his team suffered four straight shutouts to start the season and has scored in all five of the Leopards (5-5-0) wins this season. He scored both game-winners in a pair of shutouts over Fairleigh Dickinson and Army West Point in week seven of the college soccer season.
While Vare has impressed, he has a ways to go still to catch Temple senior Jorge Gomez Sanchez. Gomez Sanchez gave Temple all the offense they needed to beat Penn State for the second straight season last week, with his 10th goal of the year in the 84th minute. While the Owls offense has been their trademark, their defense stepped up last week with a pair of shutouts.
Defense won the day on Friday night too in the biggest national game of the week between ACC foes Syracuse and North Carolina, as 110 minutes of soccer couldn’t find a game-winning goal. Philadelphia Union Academy alum Jack Skahan earned his second career start in the match and looked right at home in the midfield for the Tar Heels, while local Kenny Lassiter went down with an injury that hampered the Orange attack.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s not often even in college that you see an 11-goal game or a five-goal lead squandered, but that’s exactly what happened when Florida Gulf Coast faced Rutgers last week.
Albert Ruiz, who has made a case for national player of the year, scored a hat trick inside nine minutes and the Eagles were cruising. But Rutgers junior forward Jason Wright busted out of his scoring slump with a hat trick and an assist to lead the Scarlet Knights all the way back to within a goal of the visitors, only to have Miguel Perez tack on the final dagger.
Players of the Week
Regional Player of the Week: Evan Vare, Fr., Lafayette
Vare (Jamison, Pa.) scored a pair of game-winners for the Leopards to bring his goal total to six for his rookie season.
Philadelphia Union Academy Player of the Week: Zach Zandi, So., Villanova*
Zandi won the game in overtime with his second PK of the season against Princeton and added a goal in 4-2 win over DePaul that gave the Wildcats their first conference victory of the season.
National Player of the Week: Albert Ruiz, Jr., Florida Gulf Coast
It took only nine minutes for Ruiz to register his second hat trick of the season in a game where FGCU blew a five-goal lead and won 6-5. He’s tied for first in the nation in goals with 11.
Goal of the Week
Uriel Macias, IUPUI vs Northern Illinois
It isn’t just the long-range looping effort to ice the game late, but the way Macias chested down the ball and lined up this long-range effort that is an absolute thing of beauty.
Teams of the Week
Regional/Philadelphia Union Academy Team of the Week
GK: Alex Cagle, R-Jr., Temple
Made 13 saves over 200 minutes of scoreless soccer in a 1-0 win over Penn State and a scoreless draw with Memphis.
D: Shane Bradley, Fr., Villanova (Haverford, Pa.)*
Bradley was active on both sides of the field in a 4-2 win over DePaul, twice coming close to scoring his first career goal on the offensive end while limiting the Blue Demons chances on the other end (both goals were off set pieces).
D: Matt Mahoney, Sr., Temple
Mahoney didn’t register any points but he did well getting forward with 10 shots over games with Penn State and Memphis.
D: Christopher Bared, Jr., Villanova
Picked up his first career goal in the 4-2 win over DePaul on Saturday.
MF: Miguel Polley, Jr., Villanova
Polley had a goal and an assist in the Wildcats 4-2 win over DePaul.
MF: Zach Zandi, So., Villanova (West Chester, Pa.)*
MF: Jack Skahan, Fr., North Carolina*
Skahan made another start and had another fine showing in a scoreless draw with Syracuse.
MF: Matt Crawford, Jr., Saint Joseph’s (Bensalem, Pa.)
Scored both goals in the Hawks 2-0 win over St. Bonaventure in their Atlantic 10 opener.
F: Alec Neumann, Sr., Penn (New Hope, Pa.)
Neumann scored both goals in a 2-1 overtime win over Cornell in the Quakers first Ivy League game on Sunday. He leads the team and the Ivy League with six goals.
F: Evan Vare, Fr., Lafayette (Jamison, Pa.)
F: Jorge Gomez Sanchez, Sr., Temple
Scored the lone goal in a 1-0 road win over Penn State in the 84th minute to lead the Owls to their second straight win over the Nittany Lions.
* Philadelphia Union Academy alum 2013-2016
** Played in Union Academy as a member of a youth club affiliate
National Team of the Week
GK: Jeff Caldwell, Jr., Virginia
Had a pair of shutouts and seven total saves in a 4-0 win over Cornell and a scoreless draw against in-state rivals Virginia Tech.
D: Sam Brotherton, So., Wisconsin
Led the Badgers to a pair of shutouts and scored his first career goal in a 1-0 win over Rutgers.
D: Simen Olafsen, So., UConn
Led the Huskies to two 1-0 shut outs over Providence and Tulsa on the week.
D: Jordan Wilson, Sr., Kentucky
Scored the overtime game-winner in Kentucky’s 1-0 win over Charlotte and anchored the defense in a shutout against a tough offense.
MF: Zach Zandi, So., Villanova (West Chester, Pa.)*
MF: Amar Sejdic, So., Maryland
Had a goal and two assists in the Terps 4-0 win over Northwestern and converted a PK in a 2-0 win over San Diego.
F: Filippo Ricupati, So., St. John’s
Scored a 77th minute equalizer to tie Creighton and scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Saint Joseph’s.
F: Danny Musovski, Jr., UNLV
Had two goals and an assist in a 3-1 win over Cal State Bakersfield and had a goal in a 4-0 win over San Jose State.
F: Antonio Bustamante, So., William & Mary
Picked up a hat trick for the Tribe in a 7-1 win over Northeastern.
F: Albert Ruiz, Jr., Florida Gulf Coast
Had a hat trick in nine minutes in a game FGCU eventually won 6-5 over Rutgers.
F: Jason Wright, Jr., Rutgers
Had a hat trick and added an assist to finally break out of his scoring slump in a 6-5 loss to Florida Gulf Coast.