The quest for post-season hardware goes beyond the teams on the field and ends up in the email inbox for voters.It is trophy hunting season.
No, I am not referring to any game. I am talking about the campaign for season-ending accolades.
Last week, Akron set up a webpage for sophomore sensation Darren Mattocks. The cleverly designed site lists the highlights of the season for the Jamaican striker.
While Mattocks was not included on the MAC Herman trophy watch list to start the season, he is a well-known star of college soccer.
However, it was still a savvy move by the always forward-thinking Akron athletics department to follow the lead of other sports and put out for you consideration campaigns to remind voters of the last ten weeks.
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Goal.com Top 25 (W-D-L)
1. Creighton 15-2-0. Starting goalkeeper Brian Holt’s GAA is 0.23. Defense is a team activity and Creighton continues to prove the whole team is committed to shutting out opponents and winning games. Next up: Evansville, Nov. 5. PR: 3
2. New Mexico 15-0-2. Countless teams cite New Mexico’s field as one of the most difficult in the country – if the Lobos grab that top four seed, it will be mighty difficult for someone to walk in there and knock them off come tourney time. Next up: UNLV, Nov. 5. PR: 2
3. UNC 13-2-2. Five players have started every game for UNC this season, and only one is a senior. Next up: Boston College, Nov. 2. PR: 5
4. South Florida 12-2-3. Started the season as a good team, finishing the regular season as a great team. Next up: Big East quarterfinal, Nov. 6. PR: 6
5. UCONN 14-2-2. Funny how history repeats itself. The end of the 2011 season looks a lot like the end of the 2010 season. Next up: DePaul, Nov. 3.PR: 1
6. Maryland 13-2-2. Maryland is desperately hoping for a top four seed in the NCAA tourney because the Terps look putrid on the road. Next up: Wake Forest, Nov. 3. PR: 4
7. Akron 12-2-3. The Zips have let in five goals in the last four games. Outside of the NCAA tourney last year, that is the worst four game stretch defensively for Caleb Porter’s club since 2008. PR: 7
8. James Madison 12-2-1. Hosting the CAA tourney is a nice bonus for that key victory over ODU last week. Next up: Drexel, Nov. 1. PR: 14
9. UC Irvine 13-5-1. Irvine choked at this point last season too; hopefully the Anteaters don’t follow that same path again. Next up: Cal Poly, Nov. 1. PR: 9
10. Old Dominion 11-4-0. The Monarchs will be fine when Yannick Smith returns to the lineup. Next up: Drexel, Nov. 4. PR: 8
11. St. John’s 10-6-2. The Red Storm had a chance to best its record from last season with two games last week. Instead, St John’s ended the year with a dud and looks a bit nervous heading into the fierce Big East tourney. Next up: Big East tournament. PR: 11
12. West Virginia 10-6-1. Gutsy performance on the road against Notre Dame resulted in an eye-catching 2-1 win over the Irish on Saturday. Next up: Big East tournament. PR: 18
13. UAB 11-3-3. The 2011 College Cup host lost once in October and only let in five goals in the entire month while playing a challenging Conference USA slate. Next up: Tulsa, Nov. 4. PR: 23
14. Indiana 10-3-4. The Hoosiers had a pretty good regular season considering the schedule and limited home games. Next up: Ohio State, Nov. 5. PR: 16
15. Coastal Carolina 16-2-0. The Coastal Carolina offense looks unstoppable with over 20 goals scored in a handful of games last month. Next up: Presbyterian, Nov. 2. PR: 24
16. UCF 9-3-3. It was an awful October (2-2-2) for the Knights, but they are still in the thick of things for the C-USA tourney. Next up: South Carolina, Nov. 1. PR: 10
17. Notre Dame 8-4-4. Scratch any idea that this team had found consistency. Next up: Seton Hall, Nov. 1. PR: 12
18. Louisville 10-5-2. Still believe head coach Ken Lolla will put it all together when the season is on the line. Next up: Big East tournament. PR: 15
19. Charlotte 12-3-2. No player has started every game for the 49ers this season, which is strange, but Jeremy Gunn is making it work. Next up: St. Louis, Nov. 5. PR: 25
20. Marquette 9-7-2. The Big East Blue Division champions are one win at Valley Field away from a trip to Red Bull Arena. Next up: Big East quarterfinal. PR: 20
21. UCLA 12-4-1. The PAC-12 title, which is still a point away, was never the goal, but the Bruins need to show improvement in the midfield to suggest a greater goal is achievable. Next up: Cal, Nov. 4. PR: 21
22. Rutgers 9-5-3. Rutgers has not lost since October 4, and clinched a first round bye for the Big East tournament. Next up: Big East tournament. PR: NR
23. Cal State Bakersfield 10-3-4. After going undefeated for the first six weeks of the season, Bakersfield has not gone unbeaten in any of the three weeks since. Next up: Seattle, Nov. 4. PR: 13
24. Boston College 12-4-0. BC already has a strong RPI, but a win over UNC this week could really help secure a seed. Next up: North Carolina, Nov. 2. PR: NR
25. UCSB 11-5-1. The defense [and goalie] looks suspect, but Luis Silva is playing too well to discount the Gauchos at this point. Next up: Cal State Northridge, Nov. 1. PR: NR
Game of the week: Cal Poly at UCSB, November 4, 7:00 p.m. (PT), FSC
The best rivalry in the country returns to national television after the first installment was played in front of 11,000+ fanatical fans. A similar attendance number is in the discussion, but perhaps ambitious with all things considered.
The Gauchos enter the clash with four contributors already lost for the season due to injuries including star midfielder Machael David. Despite the losses, UCSB continues to play within the system, which seemingly always results in entertaining affairs.
Cal Poly, on the other hand, is fighting for the slimmest margin to secure a berth to the Big West tourney, which may be out of reach by Friday depending on results during the week. The Mustangs could play spoiler here and probably not a better way to end a season than a win over your biggest rival.