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NCAA Top 25 - September 15, 2011

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Ives Galarcep

Ives Galarcep is a 14-year veteran of the American soccer beat. He created and operates the popular American soccer blog, Soccer By Ives, which was voted Best American Soccer Blog by US Soccer in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Ives was also voted Best Football Writer by SoccerLens in 2010. 
 

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Just a week after knocking off previously unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Louisville, North Carolina saw its own hold on the top spot in the Fox Soccer NCAA Men’s Soccer Top 25 slip away after a surprise 1-0 road loss to Virginia Tech last Friday.

The Tar Heels rebounded with a 4-1 thrashing of James Madison on Sunday, but that didn’t keep UNC from losing the top spot in our poll to unbeaten Maryland. The Terrapins continued on their winning ways, though they almost fell victim to a mid-week upset before pulling off a 4-3 overtime victory against Maryland-Baltimore County on Tuesday night.

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The same top seven teams remained at the top of the rankings, with Indiana moving up to eighth as one of the strongest teams in the nation in recent weeks. The Hoosiers pushed their winning streak to four matches with victories over Bucknell and Denver, setting up a promising match-up against another big mover in the Top 25, St. John’s.

The Red Storm began the year with a blowout loss to Maryland, but have since rattled off four straight wins, all by shutout, to move up seven spots to No. 14 in or latest ranking. St. John’s will play host to Indiana on Friday in one of the weekend’s premier match-ups.

Out West, UCSB posted an impressive victory against West Virginia, but must out on a serious climb up the rankings after a surprising 0-0 draw against Villanova. The Gauchos had been playing some of the best soccer in the nation before that draw, and now faces a stiff test from the squad expected to dominate the West when the year began, UCLA.

The Bruins finally got going, posting a pair of victories after starting the season winless in three. Sophomore forward Chandler Hoffmann scored in each of UCLA’s wins last week and will be key in Friday night’s match-up against UCSB.

Akron is another team that looks to be rolling after some early-season jitters. The Zips recorded a 4-0 pasting of Saint Louis in a light week of action, but the defending champions will face their toughest tests to date as they take on unbeaten New Mexico and a surprising Cal Poly side in the University of Akron Tournament.

Here is the new Fox Soccer NCAA Top 25:

NCAA MEN’S SOCCER TOP 25

(Previous ranking in parentheses, records through Tuesday)

1. (2) Maryland (6-0)
2. (3) UConn (5-0)
3. (1) North Carolina (4-1)
4. (4) Louisville (4-1)
5. (6) UCSB (4-0-1)
6. (5) Akron (3-0-1)
7. (7) Creighton (5-0)
8. (10) Indiana (4-0-1)
9. (13) Boston College (4-1)
10. (14) Penn State (4-1)
11. (15) UCLA (2-2-1)
12. (16) Ohio State (3-1-1)
13. (12) Notre Dame (2-1-2)
14. (21) St. John’s (4-1)
15. (9) South Florida (3-1-1)
16. (20) UC-Irvine (6-0)
17. (18) Central Florida (5-0)
18. (8) West Virginia (2-2-1)
19. (11) Virginia (4-2)
20. (NR) Old Dominion (3-0)
21. (25) Northern Illinois (5-0)
22. (NR) Coastal Carolina (4-1)
23. (17) Monmouth (3-1)
24. (19) Virginia Commonwealth (4-1)
25. (24) Washington (2-0-2)

Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for FOXSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer and the US National Team.

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