The Sweet Sixteen - What Happened At A Glance And What's Next

Connecticut 3 - UCLA 3 - UConn prevails 5 to 4 in a penalty kick shootout to survive and advance to the Elite Eight.  Connecticut knocked number one seeded UCLA out of the tourney with a gutsy on the road performance.  Few gave the Huskies much of a chance in this one and it appeared things were going to go as expected when the Bruins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.  UCLA drew first blood when freshman Felix Vobejda lofted a shot into the back of the net after controlling a loose ball and created enough space to get off a shot.  Bruin midfielder Leo Stolz added the second goal when he converted a penalty kick.  Connecticut got back into the match when freshman midfielder Cyle Larin one-timed a shot into an open net in the 35th minute to close the gap to 2-1. Larin's goal was set up when Jacob Nerwinski switched the point of attack via a cross to the far post that junior Allando Matheson headed back into the middle for Larin to finish.  The teams went into intermission with UCLA up 2-1.  Connecticut's freshman defender Kwame Awuah decisively placed a shot into the back of the net in the 58th minute to even the score at 2-2.  Stolz then responded for UCLA with his eleventh goal of the season from the top of the box to give the Bruins a 3-2 advantage.  Stolz's goal was set up via a back pass from sophomore midfielder Jordan Vale.  Connecticut applied pressure and it paid off when Larin scored in the 70th minute out of a free kick put into play by teammate junior midfielder Adria Besco to knot the score at 3-3 for the resilient and determined Huskies.  That ended the scoring for the day and resulted in the penalty kick shootout and one of the top wins in recent history for Connecticut. UCLA ends a solid 2013 seaosn sonner than expected with a 12-3-5 record.  It was the fourth time this year that the Bruins conceeded three goals with a negative outcome in each case. Connecticut improves to 12-2-8.  

What's Next - Connecticut will travel to Charlottesville to tangle with Virginia.


Virginia 3 - Marquette 1 - Opportunity presented itself early in the contest for Marquette but the Golden Eagles were unable to capatilize on it. Virginia placed themselves under what at least on the surface appeared to be an insurmountable disadvantage when junior center back Matt Brown was shown a red card in the first minute of play when he took Golden Eagle striker C Nortey down from behind thirty-five yards from the goal on what appeared to be a clear breakaway.  To their credit the Cavaliers quickly made the required adjustments, remained organized, and dug deep to display the type of determination and toughness needed to have a chance to survive playing a man down for virtually an entire match.  Virginia got a huge boost in the 24th minute of play when sophomore defender Scott Thomsen scored out of a free kick from twenty-three yards out when he placed a beautiful shot into the upper far corner of the frame. The contest remained 1-0 at halftime.  You had the feeling that Marquette would sort out a way to capatilize on the man advantage after intermission but instead the Cavaliers came out strong and Darius Madison brought the partisan Cavalier crowd at Klockner Stadium to their feet when he one-timed a volley into the back of the net in the 47th minute of play.  Madison's goal was set up by junior midfielder Eric Bird who pushed the ball quickly down the left flank and sent a well timed cross into the box to Madison. The tide appeared to be turning Marquette's way in the 53rd minute of the match when their outstanding center back Axel Sjoberg sent a through ball into the box that Nortey finished from fifteen yards out to close the gap to 2-1. The momentum then shifted dramatically back to the Cavaliers when sophomore midfielder Todd Wharton converted a penalty kick twenty seconds later to give Virginia a 3-1 lead.  The pealty kick resuted when forward Marcus Salandy-Defour was taken down in the box after receiving a through ball from Bird. Cavalier junior keeper Calle Brown had three saves for the day.  Marquette netminder Charlie Lyon had five saves.  Marquette finished an outstanding 2013 season in which they won both the Big East regular season and tournament titles and secured the programs first ever NCAA Tournament win.  The bar of success at Marquette has been forever raised by the 2013 team. Virginia improves to 12-5-5.  When the Cavaliers are on their game no one in the country is any better than they are at creating and finishing opportunities.   

What's Next - Virginia will host Connecticut.    


Maryland 1 - UC Irvine 0 - Senior forward Patrick Mullins tallied the lone goal of the match in a contest that was much closer than many thought it would be.  Credit UC Irvine will a gallant effort and give the number five seeded Terps credit for doing what they needed to do to avoid the upset and to survive and advance to the Elite Eight for a return trip west for a highly anticipated rematch with the number four seeded Californina Golden Bears.  California topped Maryland 3-2 in overtime early in the 2013 season.  Mullins, who elected to return for his senior season at Maryland instead of leaving early to enter the professional ranks, scored in the 33rd minute of the contest after teammate Tsubasa Endoh made a nice move to elude two UC Irvine defenders to create the space that he needed to send a ball into Mullins who was able to finish it at point blank range.  Maryland freshman goalkeeper Zack Steffen had a big day in goal with several huge saves that enabled Maryland to contain a very potent UC Irvine attack that has been led all year by senior forwards Enrique Cardenas (8g, 7a) and Christopher Santana (6g, 2a) and junior forward Cameron Iwasa (7g, 4a).  RS sophomore Michael Breslin had two saves in goal for the number twelve seeded Anteaters who end a very productive 2013 seaosn with a 15-5-3 overall record that included winning the highly competitive Big West Tournament and a program best eight game winning streak.  Maryland improves to 15-3-5 and keeps alive their quest for a return trip to the College Cup and a chance to bring another national championship to College Park.  

What's Next - Maryland travels to face California on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT.    


California 1 - Coastal Carolina 0 - The California backline of Christian Dean, Dylan Serrano, Steve Birnbaum and Mason Case and goalkeeper Alex Mangels did an excellent job of containing a high flying Chanticleer attack led by senior forward Pedro Ribeiro (11g, 7a), junior forward Ricky Garbanzo (13g, 1a) and senior midfielder and playmaker Justin Portillo (0g, 9a).  Golden Bear senior midfielder Alec Sundly came up big once again for California when he made a run to the back post that placed him in the position he needed to be in to be able to return the rebound of teammate Omid Jalali's shot into the back of the net in the 65th minute of play. Mangels had a solid five save in goal outing for California. Sophomore Devin Cook had nine saves in goal for Coastal Carolina in the process of turning in one of the most impressive perfermances between the pipes for any team to date in the tournament. Coastal Carolina out of the Big South Conference ends a memorable season with a 19-5-0 season during which they netted a total of forty-seven goals.  The Chanticleers under the direction of head coach Shaun Docking continue to play an exciting brand of soccer while demonstrating that they can compete successfully at the highest level.  The number four seeded Golden Bears under the guidance of head coach Kevin Grimes continue to take care of business on the field of play as they improve to 14-4-2 and survive to advance to the Elite Eight.  

What's Next - California will host number five seeded Maryland.  


Notre Dame 4 - Wake Forest 2 - Tora, Tora, Tora. This entertaining contest between two ACC schools featured plenty of goal scoring with both teams in attack mode.  Number 14 seeded Wake Forest got on the board first with sophomore Michael Gamble scoring at close range after receiving a cross from junior forward Sean Okoli in the 12th minute.  Number three seeded Notre Dame responded two minutes later when sophomore Patrick Hodan received a short ball out of a corner kick and threaded his way into the penalty box before driving a shot into the back of the net.  Notre Dame went up 2-1 in the 42nd minute as a result of an own goal that was created by a cross from sophomore midfielder Evan Panken.  The score remained 2-1 at halftime.  Wake Forest tied it at 2-2 in the 62nd minute when senior defender Tolani Ibikunle headed in a corner kick put in play by Gamble.  The Irish took the lead for good when center back Andrew O'Malley alertly controlled a ball that rebounded back out of a corner kick and sent it back into Panken who scored to put the Irish back on top 3-2. Senior forward Harrison Shipp got into the scoring column in the 70th minute when he netted his 12th goal of the year after receiving a cross from back Max Lachowecki to make it 4-2 Notre Dame.  Andrew Harris had three saves in goal for the Demon Deacons.  Patrick Wall had four saves in goal for the Irish. Wake Forest ends the season with a 10-6-5 record.  The Irish up their record to 14-1-6 and return to the Elite Eight for the third time in program history.  Notre Dame will seek to advance to the College Cup for the first time in the history of the program.

What's Next - Notre Dame will host eleven seeded Michigan State.


Michigan State 1 - Georgetown 0 - The number eleven seeeded Spartans recorded the big upset of round three with a win over the very talented and well coached six seeded Georgetown Hoyas who many felt had a good chance of a return trip to the Final Four.  Michigan State returns to the Elite Eight for the first time since the 1968 campaign.  The lone score of the evening came in the 28th minute of play when junior Adam Montague netted his fifth goal of the season sortly after being inserted into the game when he utilized his left-foot to place a ball into the upper left corner of the net after receiving a picture perfect cross from sophomore playermaker and catalyst midfielder Jay Chapman.  A bend but don't break and perhaps underrated Michigan State defense led by captain Kevin Cope, Ryan Thelen and Wesley Curtis and sophomore goalkeeper Zach Bennett contained a Georgetown offense that is among the most dangerous in the country.  Georgetown continued to press the attack but a packed in Michigan State defense kept them at bay and the Hoyas were never able to turn the corner and get the upper hand in the match.  Georgetown ends a very impressive season with a 14-5-2 overall record and no doubt will be back in the thick of the action again next year.  The loss ended the collegiate career of Georgetown forward Steve Neumann who was an impact player for four seasons and played a key role in the success the program has enjoyed. Michigan State will seek to keep a magical season alive as they advance to face a Notre Dame Fighting Irish squad that has put a total of eight goals in the back of the net in wins over Wisconsin and Wake Forest.   

What's Next - Michigan State will travel to face number three seeded Notre Dame 


New Mexico 2 - Penn State 0 - This one looked like it might go down to the wire when it was scoreless at halftime despite the fact that the Lobos had a seven to one shot advantage in the first half of play.  The Lobos were clearly the aggressor and it was clear that if they could find the back of the net that the game would open up for them.  They did and it did as they gained the upper hand early in the second stanza when team playmaker Michael Calderon lofted a pass into the box to teammate junior midfielder Oniel Fisher who ran onto the ball and cleanly sent it into the back of the net in the 54th minute of play to give New Mexico a goal advantage.  The highly partisan New Mexico crowd along with the Lobo players sensed that they had the Nittany Lions on the ropes and within four minutes the Lobos netted the insurance goal in the 57th minute and in essence put this one on ice when Calderon served in a ball out of a corner kick that defender Riley McGovern decisively sent into the back of the net. The Lobo defense anchored by goalkeepr Chris Lisch and backs McGovern, Matthew Gibbons, Nick Miele, and center back Kyle Venter were very effective. Mexico improves to 13-6-2 and advances to the Elite Eight for the second time in the history of the program.  Andrew Wolverton had seven saves in goal for the Nittany Lions. Penn State out of the Big Ten ends the 2013 season with a 13-6-2 record. 

What's Next - Number seven seeded New Mexico travels to face number two seeded Washington on Saturday at 6 p.m. MST. 


Washington 1 - Stanford 0 - Senior Michael Harris and his flip throws are a difference maker once again.  This time in the 84th minute of play Harris sent a ball into the six yard box out of a throw-in that teammate sophomore Ian Lange headed into the back post to give Washington the edge they needed to top a very determined Stanford team.  The win over the Cardinal sends the Huskies to their first ever Elite Eight.  Harris recorded his tenth assist of the season and Lange netted his fourth goal to date. Both teams played somewhat cautiously in part due to the tricky wind that was impacting play and in part due to the knowldege that a single mistake could prove to be the difference in the contest. Drew Hutchins had one save in goal for Stanford.  Ryan Herman had two saves in goal for Washington. It was not the prettiest win of the season for Washington, but all things considered due to what was at stake it was without a doubt the most significant win in the history of the program.  The Huskies will seek to keep the magic alive when they host a New Mexico team that appears to match up very well with them.  The stakes remain high with a trip to the College Cup on the line.  

What's Next - Number two seeded Washington will host number seven seeded New Mexico.