The temperature might be cooling in the Northeast, but league action in the BIG EAST is heating up as the conference tournament picture begins to take shape. Here is a look at action around the league this weekend.
Saturday is packed with men's soccer action, as eight conference matches dot the schedule. This weekend sees many cross-division matchups, including Rutgers at Pittsburgh at 1 p.m. and No. RV/NR Providence at DePaul. Ranked teams battle each other when No. RV/22 Notre Dame travels to No. 3/7 Louisville for a night matchup at 7 p.m. BIG EAST rivals No. 2/2 Connecticut and No. 22/NR St. John's also face-off in a night game at 7:30 p.m.
A light slate of games are scheduled in BIG EAST volleyball, with just seven conference matches and one nonconference match on tap. Friday is highlighted by a pair of matches, starting with a battle of New Jersey teams when Rutgers takes on Seton Hall at 7 p.m. Notre Dame and DePaul follow with a 7:30 p.m. start time, as both teams look to get back on the winning track.
Saturday has four matches at the schedule, including a match that could determine first place in the conference when 5-1 Louisville hosts 6-0 Cincinnati at 2 p.m. The Bearcats have won 27-straight sets entering the match. The match will also feature a battle between last week's Player of the Week in Cincinnati's Stephanie Niemer and Freshman of the Week in Louisville's Emily Juhl.
Two matches round out weekend play on Sunday, including Connecticut facing St. John's in conference play. Both teams will be look for their first win in league play.
BIG EAST football has a pair of conference games this weekend. The conference will be featured on primetime in Friday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN, with Louisville and Cincinnati facing-off in each team's BIG EAST opener. Syracuse looks to improve to 2-0 in conference play on Saturday afternoon when they host Pittsburgh. It is the BIG EAST opener for the Panthers who are looking to rebound after a loss to Notre Dame. The game is a 12 p.m. start and will be televised on the BIG EAST Network. Rutgers is in action with a nonconference game against Army at 2 p.m. on ESPN3.com.
In BIG EAST field hockey action this weekend there are three conference matchups beginning with Providence hosting Rutgers Saturday at 11 a.m. No. 8 Syracuse travels to Georgetown Saturday, while Villanova heads to No. 10 Louisville, both for 1 p.m. games.
In ranked-opponent action this weekend, No. 8 Syracuse takes on No. 20 Stanford today in Albany, N.Y. at noon. Rutgers squares off with No. 20 Stanford Sunday in Providence, R.I. for a 1 p.m. contest, while No. 5 Connecticut takes part in a top-5 matchup, hosting No. 4 Princeton at 2 p.m.
With the BIG EAST cross country championships right around the corner, 15 of the 16 squads will race this weekend. Six squads will race at the Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind. on Oct. 16, including Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame and Providence. Meanwhile, four men's teams and five women's teams compete at the Penn State National in State College, Pa., on Oct. 16. The No. 1 ranked women's team, Villanova, will be among the competing squads. Also included in that group is Pittsburgh, USF, Syracuse and West Virginia.
There is a full slate eight women's soccer on top for Friday as all 16 league teams are in the middle of conference play. Providence hosts DePaul and No. 4/7 Notre Dame heads to Connecticut in the league's only afternoon games. ND holds a 20-4-3 lead in the series, including a 4-2-3 edge in Storrs.
Later this evening, Villanova is at West Virginia, Rutgers travels to Syracuse, Seton Hall heads to St. John's and Georgetown visits Pittsburgh. In addition, USF welcomes Louisville and No. 20/22 Marquette hosts Cincinnati.