Articles

Articles

Twenty True Freshmen Who Will Likely Have An Impact On The Sweet Sixteen

Twenty True Freshmen Who Will Likely Have An Impact On The Outcome Of The Sweet Sixteen Contests. Only Eight Teams Will Remain Standing On The Road To The College Cup At The Conclusion Of The Weekend.


Andreas Ueland - Defender- University of Virginia - Bryne, Norway - Ueland (1g, 0a) has played every minute of every game. He joins defenders junior Henry Kessler, senior Robin Afamefuna and sophomore Bret Halsey and redshirt junior goalkeeper Colin Shutler as a key part of a Virginia defense that has allowed a total of only seven goals.  The number one seeded Cavaliers (18-1-1) host St. John's (14-4-1) out of the Big East Conference on Saturday, November 30 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.  


Gino Vivi - Midfielder - UCF - San Joes, Costa Rica - Vivi (5g, 8a) is a playmaker who adds an additional dimension to the Knights' attack. Vivi was named the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year. He has big play ability as reflected in the fact that he has scored the game-winning  goal in overtime for UCF three times this year.  Most recently he assisted on both of UCF's goals in their 2-1 win in overtime against Missouri State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  Number nine seeded UCF (15-2-2) travels to Dallas to square off with number eight seeded SMU (17-1-1) on Saturday, November 30.  


Aidan Morris - Midfielder - Indiana - Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Morris (2g, 8a) was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was an All-Big Ten First Team selection. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week twice. Simply put, Morris makes good things happen. Number five seeded Indiana (15-2-4) will host UC Santa Barbara (14-4-4) out of the Big West Conference on Sunday, December 1.


Joshua Penn (6g, 2a) - Midfielder - Indiana - Naperville, Illinois - Penn whose resume includes playing time with the U.S. U-19 and U-20 national teams has lived up to preseason expectation.  He was an All-Big Ten Second Team selection who adds an additional dimension to IU's attack. Three of his six goals to date have been game-winners.


Victor Bezerra - Forward - Indiana - Chicago, Illinois - Bezerra (8g, 3a) became just the third player in Indiana's storied tradition to generate a hat trick in NCAA Tournament play when he put three into the back of the net in Indiana's second round 3-0 win over Kentucky.  His leads the Hoosiers with a total of eight goals three of which are game-winners.


Roman Celentano - Goalkeeper - Indiana - Naperville, Illinois - Celentano has been the starter in goal for the Hoosiers for the past thirteen contests.  During that span of time he has had a 0.52 goals against average and posted eight shutouts. The Hoosiers have shutout their last five opponents including a 3-0 win over Kentucky in round two of the NCAA Tournament.  It is a given that the play in goal will have a huge impact on Indiana's on how far Indiana advances in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.


Finn Ballard McBride - Midfielder - UC Santa Barbara - Sydney, Australia - UC Santa Barbara - Ballard McBride (9g, 2a) has added additional punch to the Gauchos' offense in the attacking center midfielder role.  A surging UC Santa Barbara team (14-4-4) which defeated California 3-1 for the first time since 2003 and number twelve seed Saint Mary's College 4-0 now travels to Bloomington to tangle with number five seed Indiana (15-2-4) out of the Big Ten Conference in the Sweet Sixteen. 


Owen Finnerty - Goalkeeper - Michigan - Walled Lake, Michigan - Finnerty was pressed into duty when Andrew Verdi, the All-Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year,  was injured in Michigan's contest with Wisconsin on October 25. He has posted four shutouts in his six starts including a shutout in Michigan's second round contest with Wright State in which the Wolverines advanced in a penalty kick shootout in which Finnerty had a key save.  Number thirteen seeded Michigan (11-4-6) travels to Winston-Salem where they will face number four seeded Wake Forest (14-4-2) out of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Sunday, December 1 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.  


Calvin Harris - Midfielder - Wake Forest - Middlesbrough, England - Harris (6g, 3a) earned a spot on the ACC  All-Freshman Team.  Three of his six goals to date have been game-winners.  He joins Bruno Lapa, Joey DeZart, Isaiah Parente, and Machop Chol in a Deacon midfield that is extremely talented.  Number four seeded Wake Forest advanced to the Sweet Sixteen by topping Maryland in the second round. The Demon Deacons will host number thirteen seeded Michigan (11-4-6) out of the Big Ten Conference on Sunday, December 1.  


Tomas Romero - Goalkeeper - Georgetown - Cherry Hill, New Jersey - Romero has been splitting time in goal with Giannis Nikopolidis who was named the Big East Conference Co-Goalkeeper of the Year.  Romero has started ten contests this year including the Hoyas second round win over Pitt.  He has a 0.39 goals against average and has recorded seven shutouts between the pipes.  Number three seeded Georgetown (16-1-3) out of the Big East Conference will square off with Louisville (10-7-2) out of the ACC at Shaw Field in Washington on Sunday, December 1.  


Daniel Wu - Defender - Georgetown - Cary, North Carolina - The guys in the back don't always get the ink that those up-top get but Wu has been a stalwart on the defensive side of the ball all year for a Georgetown team that has only allowed a total of nine goals.  He is part of a solid Georgetown backline that includes Dylan Nealis,  Rio Hope-Gund, and Sean O'Hearn.


Leonard Getz - Defender - Louisville - Fredrikstad,  Norway  - Getz (1g, 2a) has been a starter on the defensive side of the ball all year for the Cardinals. Getz's goal with thirty-nine seconds remaining in regulation enabled Louisville to tie Boston College in a game that Louisville subsequently won 3-2 in overtime.  Louisville (10-7-2) has advanced past USF 4-1 and UC Davis 1-0 to earn the right to face number three seed Georgetown (16-1-3) in the Sweet Sixteen on Sunday, December 1.  Louisville upset Georgetown 1-0 when the two teams played back on September 24.


Max Schneider - Midfielder - Marshall - Cologne, Germany - Schneider (2g, 4a) has contributed on both sides of the ball this year for the Herd. His effectiveness in the defensive midfielder role has played a role in the success that Marshall has had to date. Marshall topped West Virginia 2-1 and Washington defeated Boston College 2-0 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  Number eleven seeded Marshall (16-2-3) out of CUSA  travels to Seattle where they will face number six seeded University of Washington (16-3-0) on Sunday, December 1 in the Sweet Sixteen.


Sam Fowler - Goalkeeper - Washington - Issaquah, Washington - Fowler has started in goal for eleven contests including Washington's 2-0 win over Boston College in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He has a 0.46 goals against average and has posted seven shutouts.  He is the first true freshman to start in goal for the Huskies since the 2012 season.  


Christian Soto - Midfielder - Washington - Des Moines, Washington - Soto (0g, 4a) contributes on both sides of the ball with a work rate that is second to none.  He is an important ingredient in a very good Husky midfield.  Number six seed Washington (16-3-0) will host number eleven seed Marshall (16-2-3) on Sunday, December 1 in what shapes up to be a very competitive college soccer game.


Ousseni Bouda - Forward - Stanford - Ouagadougou, Burkina Fasco - Bouda (5g, 5a) is a differnce maker. He has added additional firepower to Stanford's attack. Bouda is an All-Pac-12 First Team selection and was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.  Three of his five goals have been game-winning goals.  Number seven seeded Stanford (13-2-4) will host number ten seeded Virginia Tech (10-5-3) out of the ACC on Sunday, December 1.  


Gabe Segal - Forward - Stanford - Bethesda, Maryland - Segal (6g, 0a) joins fellow freshman Ousseni Bouda and redshirt sophomore Zach Ryan to add big play ability to Stanford's offense.  The number seven seeded Cardinal dogged a bullet when they slipped past Seattle in the second round of play in a contest that was determined by a penalty kick shootout.  Stanford will host number ten seed Virginia Tech on Sunday, December 1 in the Sweet Sixteen.


Daniel Pereira - Midfielder - Virginia Tech - Roanoke, Virginia - Pereira (5g, 4a) has been an iron man all year for the Hokies starting every contest and seeing plenty of playing time. He has had a banner freshman season for the number ten seeded Hokies (10-5-3) who advanced past New Hampshire 4-1 in the second round to earn the right to head west to tangle with an always tough number seven seeded Stanford squad (13-2-4) on Sunday, December 1 in the Sweet Sixteen. 


Esben Wolf - Midfielder - Providence - Copenhagen, Denmark - Wolf (5g, 6a) has started every game and is a key ingredient in a balanced Friar attack that has scored a total of forty goals so far.  He was named to the Big East All-Tournament Team.  Providence (16-6-0) has advanced past NJIT 2-0 and Penn State 3-2 and travel to face number two seed Clemson (17-2-1) at Historic Riggs Field on Sunday, December 1 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. 


Philip Mayaka - Midfielder - Clemson - Nairobi, Kenya - Mayaka's (2g, 8a) touch on the ball and quickness make him a difficult man to contain when he has the ball at his feet in the middle third. He was named the ACC Freshman of the Year and was an All-ACC First Team selection.  He adds an additional element to a powerful Clemson attack that has found the back of the net a total of sixty-seven times this year. Clemson (17-2-1) will host Providence (16-6-0) out of the Big East Conference on Sunday, December 1 in the Sweet Sixteen.


Reflections On The Second Round Of The NCAA Tournament

Survive and advance. Sixteen teams are left standing on the road to the College Cup in Cary, North Carolina. Three of the top sixteen seeds including number twelve seed Saint Mary's did not advance. UC Santa Barbara, Louisville and Providence were the non seeded teams that played their way into the third round.  


Indiana - The cupboard is never bare at Indiana. Regardless it is a tribute to the program that a team that entered the season without ten starters and with the lone returning starter a sophomore could have the type of season that the Hoosiers are having.  Defender Simon Waever was the only senior in the starting lineup in Indiana's 3-0 win over Kentucky on Sunday and he transferred in this year from Evansville.

It normally takes a while for a team to jell with so many newcomers in key roles. The conventional wisdom was that Indiana would struggle somewhat early in the season and then improve as the season progressed. They have improved as the season progressed but their learning curve was very short. In fact, a good case could be made that it lasted for only forty-five minutes. After trailing Pitt 2-0 at halftime in their season opener, the Hoosiers rebounded to score three unanswered goals to win 3-2. 

The Hoosiers will host UC Santa Barbara on Sunday, December 1 in the Sweet Sixteen.


UC Santa Barbara - The Gauchos selected the right time of the year to have their most complete game of the 2019 season so far. Who would have thought that UCSB would find the back of the net four times against a Saint Mary's team out of the West Coast Conference that came into their second round matchup with the Gauchos out of the Big West Conference having previously allowed a total of only eleven goals. 

Perhaps the fact that UC Davis out of the Big West shocked the Gaels in Moraga 4-2 back on September 24 was a sign that UCSB might do the same. The contest looked to be up for grabs at halftime with UC Santa Barbara holding a 1-0 advantage as a result of a header from close range from senior back Noah Billingsley. The complextion of the contest changed when Will Baynham scored in the sixty-fifth minute to give the Gauchos a 2-0 lead. Saint Mary's had to chase the Gauchos from that point forward and the Gauchos used their speed and athleticism to totally take control of the match with Rodney Michael scoring twice to make the final score 4-0.

The takeaway from this contest is that UCSB has the speed, size, and experience to create matchups that can cause problems for opponents. When this team is clicking they are very dangerous. The Gauchos advance to face Indiana in Bloomington on Sunday, December 1 in what has suddenly become a very intriguing matchup.


Louisville - The difference between a win and a loss can be slight. The Cardinals didn't want to have to play from behind and chase a UC Davis team on the road that has been rock solid on the defensive side of the ball.

In all of Louisville's losses this year their opponent sccored first. Their 3-2 win in overtime against Boston College was Louisville's only win of the year in which they came from behind to prevail. So it is not surprising that the Cardinals hunkered down on the defensive side of the ball after junior forward Izaiah Jennings scored out of a counter attack in the sixty-second minute to take a 1-0 lead over UC Davis. 

The Aggies were the aggressor throughout the contest as reflected in their eighteen to five advantage in shots and seven to one advantage in shots on goal but they were unable to breakthrough a very solid Louisville defense and an impressive shift in goal by junior Jake Gelnovatch who came up with the big stops that his team needed to have a chance to win.

Louisville advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will face a Georgetown team that they upset 1-0 in overtime back on September 24.

UC Davis concludes a banner season in which they won both the Big West regular season and tournament titles. Dwayne Shaffer returns a solid core next year but will be without the services of goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley, forward Adam Mickelson, and midfielder Marte Formico among others due to graduation.


Virginia - Virginia continues to take care of business on both sides of the ball securing a 2-0 win over Campbell during which they held the Camels who have averaged 2.68 goals per game this year with fifty-nine goals to only two shots on goal.

The Cavaliers have a balanced attack that compliments their play on the defensive side of the ball. As a result the Cavaliers have the big play ability they need to prevail in the close contests that they lacked at times in the recent past.

Virginia always has talented players with great touch on the ball and impressive resumes but the very best teams to come out of Charlottesville under George Gelnovatch are the ones that combine skill with toughness. This team has both but Gelnovatch would likely be the first to say that despite the success the Cavaliers have enjoyed this year they have to continue to put together a full ninety minutes of play in order to stay alive in the NCAA Tournament.  


Wake Forest - The Demon Deacons came into this one having only won only one contest in their last five games. Their lone win during that five game span was a solid 3-1 victory on the road over Louisville.

Make no mistake this is a very good and well coached team. But beginning with a 1-1 tie with Loyola Maryland back on October 22, Wake Forest appeared to be playing a step slower, had gotten away from "Wake Forest" soccer, and didn't seem to have the same level of intensity.

The Deacons needed a good win in their opening game in the NCAA Tournament and got just what the doctor ordered with an impressive 3-0 victory over an always dangerous University of Maryland team.

The Terps pressed the attack right out of the gate but Wake Forest handled the pressure well and applied pressure of their own which resulted in a Bruno Lapa goal out of a corner kick in the twenty-fifth minute followed by two scores in the second stanza. The Deacons were focused and the crowd on hand was fired up. The Wake Forest midfield consisting of Lapa (8g, 3a), Calvin Harris (6g, 3a), Malchop Chol (4g, 7a), Joey DeZart (1g, 1a) and Isaiah Parente (1g, 7a) are tough to handle when they get into a rhythm.

The Demon Deacons will host Michigan out of the Big Ten on Sunday, December 1. 


Number nine seed  UCF advanced to the Sweet Sixteen with a come from behind 2-1 win in overtime against a very good Missouri State team. Cal Jennings (17g, 4a) netted the game-winning goal for the Knights. This is the first time in the history of the program that UCF has advanced to the Sweeet Sixteen. UCF head coach Scott Calabrese who is in his third season at the helm of the program has done an excellent job of turning the program around. Jennings continues to give the Knights big play ability on the offensive side of the ball.

Number eight seed SMU advanced to the third round of play with a 1-0 win in overtime against a determined Coastal Carolina team with Garrett McLaughlin (16g, 5a) scoring the game-winner in overtime. SMU advanced to the Sweeet Sixteen for the third time in the five seasons that Kevin Hudson has been at the helm of the program.

UCF and SMU will face each other for the third time this year on Saturday with the higer seeded SMU hosting the contest.

It was a little surprising that UCF and SMU out of the American Athletic Conference were placed in the same bracket since the two teams faced each other two times during regular season play. Nonetheless, it sets up "UCF vs SMU number three" with this one being the one that counts the most. The two tied 3-3 back on October 6 when they faced each other in Dallas in regular season play. SMU topped UCF 1-0 when they tangled in the AAC Tournament final in Orlando on November 16. 

Chances are pretty good that Jennings and McLaughlin will play a key role in the outcome.


 

Virginia Tech - The margin of victory for the Hokies in their 4-1 win over New Hampshire was larger than expected. New Hampshire had previously allowed a total of only seven goals.

The take away from this contest is that how a team responds after their opponent scores is huge. The turning point in this contest occurred when forward Kristo Strickler responded to score the equalizer for Virginia Tech a little over a minute after Jacob Gould's goal in the sixteenth minute of play had given New Hampshire an early lead. It is amazing how many goals are scored within a few minutes of each other. Whether it occurs because a goal by an opponent serves as a wake up call or scoring a goal causes a team to temporarily take their foot off the gas makes no difference. What matters is that a quick response shifts the momentum.

Strickler converted a header out of a free kick in the thirty-fifth minute and James Kasak sent a blast in into the back of the net three minutes later to give Virginia Tech a commanding 3-1 advantage at halftime. Junior midfielder Camron Lennon added the final score for the Hokies in the severnty-third minute.

Number ten seed Virginia Tech earns a trip to the west coast where they will face number seven seed Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen on Sunday, December 1. 


Stanford - The Stanford and Seattle contest could have gone either way. There is a reason why teams practice penalty kicks. 

No one is better at winning the close contests than Stanford. The Cardinal advanced past a very good and determined Seattle team in penalty kicks after the contest was tied 1-1 at the end of 110 minutes of play. Defender Tanner Beason who missed eight conference games this year due to injury is back in the lineup for the Cardinal which increases their chances of making a sustained run in the NCAA Tournament. Beason scored Stanford's lone goal in regulation out of a free kick and converted his penalty kick attempt during the penalty kick shootout.

Andrew Thomas was huge in goal for Stanford stopping four of Seattle's five attempts during the shootout. 

Stanford advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will host Virginia Tech out of the ACC on Sunday, December 1. 



A Few Things You Might Want To Know About The Thirty-Two Teams Remaining In The NCAA Tournament

The second round of the NCAA Tournament will take place on Sunday, November 24 at venues across the country.  


Virginia (17-1-1) - Number one seed Virginia may be the best in the country on the defensive side of the ball but it is the improvement that they have made in their big play ability on the offensive side of the ball that has taken the Cavaliers to a higher level.  Their come from behind win over Duke in Durham early in the year and their recent come from behind win over Clemson in the ACC Tournament final are good examples of the offensive punch this team has that they lacked last year.


Campbell (17-2-2) - The Camels have flown under the radar on the national scene for most of the year but anytime a team wins seventeen contests they should be taken seriously.  Campbell is among the most productive teams in the country on the offensive side of the ball and has also been solid defensively allowing a total of only fifteen goals to date.


Syracuse (8-6-5) - There are a lot of ways to describe Ian McIntyre's Syracuse team in 2019 but predictable would not be one of them.  This is a team that lost to Duke 4-0 on the road and Clemson 7-4 at home but defeated NC State 3-0 in Raleigh and scored three goals in the final twenty minutes of play to come from two goals down to defeat North Carolina in Chapel Hill 4-3.  Unpredictable but dangerous.


Saint John's (13-4-1) - Dr. David Masur and assistant coaches David Janezic and Flo Liu have done a good job of merging together the individual talents of the Johnnies this year but the Red Storm seems to have lost its momentum after a 3-0 loss to Georgetown back on October 23.  The Red Storm are 1-2-1 since that loss.  A win over Syracuse in the second round would be just what the doctor ordered.


UCF (14-2-0) - The Knights were one and done in the NCAA Tournament last year when they were shocked at home by Lipscomb in a contest in which UCF was unable to finish the scoring opportunities that came their way. UCF comes into their NCAA Tournament contest with Missouri State off a 1-0 loss to SMU in the AAC Tournament title game in which they were shutout for the first time this year. UCF has a multi-dimensional attack but senior forward Cal Jennings (16g, 4a) is the key to the effectiveness of their offense.   


Missouri State (18-0-1) - Defense has been Missouri State's calling card under veteran head coach Jon Leamy. This year the Bears have allowed a total of only eleven goals. Their 3-2 win in overtime against Valparaiso was the only contest so far this year that they have allowed more than one goal. While defense continues to play a key role, it is the improvement on the offensive side of the ball that has enabled Missouri State to win the close contests this year that eluded them in the past.  Forwards Matthew Bentley (14g, 4a) and Josh Dolling (7g, 5a) lead a Missouri State attack that has found the back of the net forty-one times. 


Coastal Carolina (10-7-3) - Balance between offensive productivity and defensive effectiveness has been a problem at times this year for Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers had a five game streak during the middle of the season during which they were 0-4-1. During that period of time they uncharacteristically failed to score losing four contests by a 1-0 margin and recording a 0-0 tie.  They are now back on track with an attack led by Tyrone Mondi (7g, 4a) and Sam Snaith (8g, 1a) but they will have to play well on both sides of the ball in order to keep their season alive.


SMU (16-1-1) - The Mustangs are at their very best when they are able to dominate the run of play in the middle third.  Accordingly, the play of midfielders Gabriel Costa (7g, 10a), Knut Alhlander (7g, 11a), Nicky Hernandez (5g, 2a), Noah Hilt (2g, 1a), and Lane Warrington (0g,2a) will be a key factor in how far SMU advances in the NCAA Tournament.


Indiana (14-2-4) - Todd Yeagley has done an excellent job of merging his newcomers in with returning players and making the modifications in play needed to maximize  the strengths of his team. The play of freshmen forwards Victor Bezerra (5g, 3a), Joshua Penn (6g, 2a) and Herbert Endeley (2g, 3a), midfielder Aidan Morris (2g, 6a), and goalkeeper Roman Celentano has been the big story at Indiana this year. But at the end of the day midfielders redshirt junior Spencer Glass (3g, 4a) and sophomore Joe Schmidt (1g, 1a) and defenders redshirt junior A.J. Palazzolo (3g, 3a), senior Simon Waever (0g, 3a) and sophomore Jack Maher (4g, 2a) will set the pace for IU when push comes to shove in the NCAA Tournament.


Kentucky (13-4-3) - This is a very talented team but in order to make a run in the NCAA Tournament and advance past an Indiana team that they tied 0-0 during regular season play Kentucky will need to put together a full ninety minutes of play. The Wildcats match up well with Indiana but chances are pretty good that they will come out on the short end if they come out flat and don't put in a full shift.


UC Santa Barbara (13-4-4) - The Gauchos seek to regain the edge that the program once had. They looked good in a first round 3-1 win over a California team that beat them in regular season play. UCSB has a chance to make a run in the NCAA Tourney if they continue to play at the same level of intensity. Backs Noah Billingsley and Hunter Ashworth, forward Rodney Michael and midfielder Thibault Candia are among those who will set the pace.


Saint Mary's College (16-1-0) - Again, you don't win sixteen games without being very good.  The Gaels dominated the West Coast Conference this year becoming the first team to ever go 7-0-0 in conference play.  The lone blemish on their record this year was a 4-2 loss to Big West foe UC Davis. Saint Mary's has scored a total of forty-seven goals while allowing only eleven.  A good run in the NCAA Tournament is the next logical step in the development of this program.


Michigan (11-4-5) - Michigan is undefeated in their last seven games.  They have an explosive attack powered by Nebojsa Popovic (10g, 3a), Jack Hallahan (5g, 6a) and Marc Ybarra (0g, 8a) but it is their play on the defensive side of the ball that is going to determine how they fare in the NCAA Tournament.


Wright State (11-8-3) - It has been a year of firsts for the Raiders. Their first Horizon League championship, their first berth in the NCAA Tournament, and their first NCAA Tournament win. Wright State has a productive multi-dimensional offense led by midfielders Deri Corte (13g, 8a), Jackson Dietrich (6g, 7a) and Stefan Rokvic (9g, 5a) and forward Ids Hannema.  The Raiders are a more competitive team than their record indicates and it is a plus that they have played well on the road this year. If they can contain Michigan's attack they have a chance of pulling off another upset.    


Maryland (11-7-2) - It is always wise to Fear the Turtle. The defending national champions dominated Iona 4-0 to advance to the second round. Maryland is at their best when they are able to pressure their opponent. Their ability to do that is impacted by their effectiveness on the defensive side of the ball. The play of freshman netminder Niklas Neumann and backs Ben and Matt Di Rosa, Johannes Bergmann and Brett St. Martin will have an impact on just how much pressure they are able to apply. St. Martin left the Iona contest after twelve minutes of play due to injury and was replaced by Chris Rindov.   


Wake Forest (13-4-2) - When they are clicking the Demon Deacons are among the best teams in the country.  Wake Forest has not played their best soccer of the year down the homestretch.  Their second round match against Maryland has a little of the same feel as their second round match last year when they were upset by Akron. This is a very good Wake Forest team but they need to regain the rhythm that they had earlier in the season.  A win over Maryland would be a big momentum builder.


Georgetown (15-1-3) - The Hoyas won both the Big East regular season and tournament titles. You don't do that without being good on both sides of the ball.  The only team that can keep Georgetown from advancing to the College Cup is Georgetown. If Brian Wiese's team plays to their potential they should continue along the road to Cary, North Carolina.


Pittsburgh (10-7-2) - Pitt has continually improved under Jay Vidovich who is now in his fourth season as the Panther head coach. The Panthers took a big step forward when they topped Lehigh in the first round to earn the program's first ever win in NCAA Tournament play. Under Vidovich, Pitt has learned how to win but whether they have the depth and the discipline to make a sustained run in the NCAA Tournament remains to be seen.  Edward Kizza (12g, 4a) is the real deal up top.


Louisville (9-7-2) - It is not easy to travel cross country and play but that is exactly what Louisville is faced with when they tangle with a good UC Davis team out of the Big West Conference.  The Cardinals have had an up and down season. If they are on their game and are able to press the attack they are a very dangerous team. If Louisville starts slow and has to chase UC Davis they will be in trouble. Cherif Dieye (7g, 6a) is the key to Louisville's attack.


UC Davis (13-4-2) - The Aggies have a chance to make a statement against Louisville out of the Atlantic Coast Conference.  UC Davis plays very well as a team on both sides of the ball which is a big plus. Goalkeeper Willis Lapsley and centerbacks Nabi Kibunguchy and Jake Haupt anchor an Aggie defense that is among the best in the country but will be tested by Louisville.  Forward Adam Mickelson (4g, 6a) is the catalyst on the offense side of the ball. 


Marshall (15-2-3) - The Thundering Herd is having their best season in program history. They won both the CUSA regular season and tournament titles and earned the program's first ever invite to the NCAA Tournament.  Marshall is among the most balanced teams in the country with an attack that has produced forty-four goals and a defense that has only allowed fifteen. The key for Marshall is to continue to do the things well that have worked for them all year.  However, that can be difficult to do when a program is traveling in uncharted waters as Marshall is.


West Virginia (10-8-2) - The Mountaineers won the MAC tournament and put together their most complete game of the year when they rolled past a good Butler team 4-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  West Virginia could make a sustained run if they can continue to play at that level.


Boston College (9-5-3) - This is a young but talented Boston College team. They have been inconsistent as is often the case when younger players are in key roles. Lineup changes due to injuries have also impacted the Eagles during the year but they have now stabilized.  Boston College has a tough second round matchup on the road with Washington. The Eagles will have to play their very best soccer of the year to win that one but don't count them out.


Washington (15-3-0) - Washington has exceeded expectations this year with their best record since the 2013 season.  The Huskies have outscored opponents twenty-two to four when playing at home this year but the fact that they were defeated by California 3-2 and Stanford 1-0 in their last two home games raised questions about the current level and intensity of their play.  If they play to their potential Washington should top Boston College in the second round but they are vulnerable as the tournament progresses if they don't bring their A game.


Stanford (13-2-3) - It goes without saying that Stanford has the potential to make a run to the College Cup.  They are as good as anyone in the country at finding and exploiting weaknesses in their opponents and are very good at finding a way to win the close contests. Ousseni Bouda (5g, 5a), Zach Ryan (6g, 1a) and Gabe Segal (6g, 0a) provide offensive firepower and goalkeeper Andrew Thomas anchors a Stanford defense that has allowed a total of only eleven goals.  Stanford has had a number of one goal contests this year so their margin for error is small.


Seattle (15-3-4) - The Redhawks had an impressive 3-1 first round win on the road over LMU. They did an excellent job of maintaining their composure when it looked like the momentum of the game might be shifting to LMU. It will take a disciplined approach and a full ninety minutes of play for Seattle to advance past Stanford in the second round of the tournament. You can bet the farm that Pete Fewing will have his team prepared to play.


New Hampshire (15-1-3) - Defense is a key ingredient in New Hampshire's success to date but in order to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament they will also have to do a good job creating and finishing scoring opportunities.  Antonio Colacci (7g, 9a) is the key on the offensive side of the ball while Josh Bauer (4g, 5a) and goalkeeper Alejandro Robles anchor the defense.  It  will require a total team effort on both sides of the ball for New Hampshire to get by Virginia Tech in the second round.


Virginia Tech (9-5-3) - The Hokies have played one of the most difficult schedules in the country which should prepare them for the rigors of NCAA Tournament play.  They have signature wins over Notre Dame and Louisville and ties with Clemson and Wake Forest.  Forward Kristo Strickler (9g, 3a) is the main man in Virginia Tech's attack.  The Hokies will be in trouble if they have to play catch up in their second round match with New Hampshire.   


Penn State (12-3-3) - Penn State under the guidance of second year head coach Jeff Cook has had a stellar season. They are returning to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time in five years.  Their eight game winning streak was halted when they were topped by Michigan 1-0 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. Midfielder Aaron Molloy (8g, 6a) and freshman forward Liam Butts (9g, 1a) lead a balanced Nittany Lion attack.  This team has grit as they showed when they came from two goals down to top Maryland 3-2 in regular season play.  The ability of Penn State's midfielders to maintain  possession and win the battle of the middle third will play a key role in the level of success that Penn State achieves in the NCAA Tournament. 


Providence (15-6-0) - Craig Stewart's Providence team flew under the radar for most of the season but they have emerged as the season has progressed and look to be a team with the ability to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Midfielder Tiago Mendonca is the guy who sets the pace in the center of the park along with midfielder Paulo Lima (8g, 1a) while back Joao Serrano (4g, 9a) adds additional punch to the attack out of the back. Senior goalkeeper Austin Aviza who transferred in from UConn anchors the defense. The Providence and Penn State contest looks to be one of the more intriguing second round matches.


Charlotte (12-3-4) - The Forty-Niners have only allowed a total of twelve goals all year against a very competitive slate of opponents. Charlotte's chances of a win in the second round against Clemson will hinge on whether or not goalkeeper Elliot Panicco and defenders  Patrick Hogan, Luke Johnson, Delasi Batse, Sean Suber and Noah Seach can contain a very prolific Clemson attack.  Midfielder Teddy Chaouche (7g, 9a) is the catalyst on the offensive side of the ball for Charlotte.


Clemson (16-2-1) - What a difference a year can make.  Clemson rebounded from not being in the NCAA Tournament field last year to earning the number two seed this year.  Last year Clemson scored a total of twenty-three goals while allowing twenty-five. This year they have scored sixty-five times and only allowed eighteen.  Robbie Robinson (15g, 9a), Kimani Smith (13g, 5a) and Grayson Barber (9g, 8a) provide big play ability while goalkeeper George Marks anchors the defense. Senior midfielder Tanner Dieterich (3g, 10), freshman midfielder Philip Mayaka (2g, 8a) and senior back Malick Mbaye (3g, 1a) have been difference makers.