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Only Sixteen Teams Remaining On The Road To The College Cup - 2017 NCAA Tournament

The thrill of victory - the agony of defeat. Wins are indeed sweet and losses excruciating in the one and done envirmonment of the NCAA Tournament. The roadmap to the College Cup changed over the weekend with seven of the top sixteen seeds failing to advance as the traffic remaining on the highway to the College Cup shrinks from thirty-two to sixteen teams.  The top four seeds did prevail to remain in the fast lane.

Wake Forest Bracket 



Wake Forest 1 - Columbia 0 - Columbia was edged by number one seed Wake Forest to conclude a banner season during which the Lions finished in the number two spot in the Ivy League race, returned to the NCAA Tourney Field for the first time since 1993, claimed their first win in NCAA Tourney play since 1990, and had seven All-Ivy League selections including five first team members.

It was closer than expected in part due to a gutsy and very organized performance on the defensive side of the ball by Columbia but nonetheless the Demon Deacons found a way to solve the puzzle to survive and advance. Senior forward Jon Bakero netted the game-winning goal via a penalty kick to give Wake Forest the edge they needed to prevail. The penalty kick was awarded in the last minute of regulation after defender Michael DeShields was taken down in the box. 

Wake Forest improves to 18-1-2 overall and advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will host Butler. Columbia ends their season with a 12-2-3 record.  


Butler 3 - VCU 2 - This second round match-up took place at Sport Backers Stadium in Richmond, Virginia.  Butler out of the Big East Conference advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the third time in program history with an on-the road win over number sixteen seed VCU out of the Atlantic 10 who returned to the NCAA Tournament field this year after a three year absence.  

VCU drew first blood when Luc Falton alertly defelected a Butler pass and lobbed a shot into the back of the frame from thirty yards out. The VCU lead held until the fifty-fourth minute of play when Buter's Alex Lehtinen scored from four yards out with Joe Moulden contributing the assist.

Butler midfielder Lewis Suddick scored a little over three minutes later from inside the box after receiving a pass from sophomore Isaac Gallliford to give Butler a 2-1 advantage. Sophomore forward Brandon Guhl added the third goal for Butler in the fifty-ninth minute to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. VCU pressed the attack and narrowed the gap to 3-2 when defender Ulrik Edvarsen converted a header out of a free kick in the sixty-third minute.

Butler showed a lot of grit, determination, and big play ability in an impressive come from behind win on the road over a solid VCU team that started the season slowly but steadily improved.

Things don't get any easier for the Bulldogs who advance to the Sweet Sixteen where they will tangle with number one seed Wake Forest in Winston Salem.  


Stanford 0 - Pacific 0 - Stanford advances 4-1 in a penalty kick shootout - For the second year in a row, Pacific advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and traveled to face Stanford in Cagan Stadium where for the second season in a row their season came to an end. 

Last year the Cardinal topped Pacific 2-0. This year the match was scoreless at the end of regulation and extra time and was ultimately decided  by a penalty kick shootout in which Stanford prevailed 4-1.

West Coast Conference member Pacific, which just began playing at the Division I level in 2012,  proved to be a worthy opponent but in the end Stanford did what they needed to do to survive and advance and keep their season alive.  .

Pacific ends the 2017 campaign with a 13-4-2 record while number nine seeded Stanford stands at 15-2-2. . 


Coastal Carolina 3 - Clemson 1 - No prisioners were taken in this contest between in-state foes which took place at HIstoric Riggs Field on the campus of Clemson University..

Chances were pretty good that either Clemson's Diego Campos or Coastal Carolina's Prantzdy Pierrot would be a factor in the outcome.  Both are impact players with the knack of coming up with the big play when needed. 

Pierrot scored once and contributed an assist and senior midfiedler Martin Melchor found the back of the net twice to lead Coastal Carolina over number eight seed Clemson in what is likely the biggest upset of the second round of play. The Chanticleers got the edge early on in the match and never really relinquished it with Melchor scoring in the fourth minute and Pierrot in the fifth. Clemson appeared to get new life when forward Jason Wright scored with an assist from Campos to narrow the gap to 2-1 in the twentieth minute.

Melchor then added the insurance goal in the fiftieth minute of play to stretch Coastal's lead back to 3-1 and conclude the scoring for the evening.   

Brau Linares-Ortiz had nine saves in goal for Coastal Carolina. Ximo Miralles had three saves in goal for Clemson. 


Louisville Bracket



Akron 3 - Seattle 0 - The Western Athletic Conference Champion Seattle Redhawks who advanced to the second round by topping cross-town foe Washington in round one squared off with Mid-American Confernce Champion and number five seeded Akron at FirstEnergy Stadium where the energy level was indeed high from the get-go for the home team. .

Akron settled into their game early on which gave them a huge edge in the contest. Senior forwards Stuart Holthusen and Sam Gainford who have been a force to contend with up-top for Akron came through once again with Gainford scoring off a give and go with midfielder Manuel Cordeiro in the seventh minute of the contest and Holthusen finding the back of the net in the seventy-third minute after receiving a pass from defender Niko Devera.  Sophomore Marcel Zajac added the third goal in the eighty-ninth minute of play after making a nice move to create the space he needed to place a shot into the back of the frame.

Akron's Ben Lundt and Seattle's Josh Adachi each had two saves in goal. 

Akron improves to 17-3-1 overall and advances to the Round of Sixteen. Seattle concludes a very productive season with a 15-4-4 overall record.   


Wisconsin 1 - Notre Dame 0 (OT) -  John Trask's Wisconsin side looks to be a team on a mission.  The Badgers displayed a ton of grit and determination not to mention skill when they secured their ticket to the NCAA Tourney by winning the Big Ten Conference Title and then advancing past UIC 4-1 in the first round the NCAA Tourney.

On Sunday number twelve seed Notre Dame became Wisconsin's latest victim with the Badgers prevailing in a pressure packed gut check type contest when senior midfielder Mike Catalano sent a header into the back of the net out of a corner kick put in play by fellow senior Chris Mueller with only a few ticks remaining in regularion

Philipp Schilling had four saves in goal to anchor a very sound Wisconsin defense. Chris Hubbard had five saves in goal for the Irish.  

The Badgers improve to 12-4-5 and advance to the third round of play for the third time in the history of the program. Notre Dame concludes their season with a 11-7-2 record. 


Colgate 3 - Michigan 2 - How sweet it is to be a Red Raider. A magical and improbable run continued for a red hot Colgate team that had to have a win in its last two regular season games to secure the number six seed in the Patriot League Tournament.  They accomplished that and then became the first number six seed to win the Patriot League Tournament.

The Raiders followed that up with the program's first ever win in the NCAA Tourney when they defeated Massachusetts 2-0 to advance to the second round against number thirteen seeded Michigan out of the Big Ten Conference.

This one looked like it was going to be all Michigan afer Jack Hallahan found the back of the net for the Wolverines in the second and ninth minute of play to give he Wolverines a 2-0 advantage and place Colgate in a big hole.

However to their credit, the Red Raiders stayed the course and kept their composure to tie the contest at  2-2 with Ryan Bellavance scroing in the sixteenth minute and Uyiosa Omorogbe in the fortieth to send the teams into intermission with Colgate believing they could win it and Michigan wondering how they let it get away from them.

Aram Ouligian then came up big for Colgate when he scored out of a corner with an assist from Jared Stoud to propel the Raiders into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in the history of the program where they will face number four seed Louisville on Sunday. 

A never say never Colgate team improves to 12-10-1 while Michigan ends a very solid season with a 12-6-2 record. 


Louisville 3 - San Francisco 2 - West Coast Confernce Champion San Francisco's magical season came to an end Sunday with a loss on the road to number four seed Louisville. However the Dons didn't go down without a fight as they held their own and gave the Cardinals all they could handle. 

San Francisco under the guidance of head coach Eddie Soto came alive in the second half of the 2017 campaign reeling off seven consecutive wins including a 2-1 victory over California in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Midfielder Adrien Cabon scored in the thirty-second minute to give Louisville a 1-0 advantage.  San Francisco responded in the forty-fourth minute with a goal of thier own from midfielder Sean Bowman off a give and go with midfielder Leon Schwarzer.  The teams went into intermission tied 1-1.

Midfielder Adam Wilson scored from the top of the box to give Louisville a 2-1 lead but again San Francisco responded to knot it at 2-2 when forward Bryce Kaminski placed a header just inside the right post from six yards out.

Midfielder Tate Schmitt then netted what proved to be the game-winner for Louisville in the sevethy-eighth minute when he drove a shot into the back of the net from twenty-five yards.

Ruben Stuiver had four saves in goal for the Dons. Will Meyer had two saves and Jake Gelnovatch one between the pipes for Louisville.

San Francisco finished a breakthrough season with a 10-9-0 record that Soto will likely build upon on in the future. 

Louisville improves to 12-2-4 and will host Colgate out of the Patriot League in the Sweet Sixteen on Sunday. 


North Carolina Bracket 



North Carolina 2 - UNCW 1 - The Tar Heels avenged a 1-0 loss to UNCW Wilmington when the two teams faced each in Wlmington back on September 1. In that contest UNC was unable to convert the scoring opportunities that came there way but that did not prove to be the case in the rematch on Sunday with a berth in the Sweet Sixteen on the line. 

Neither team scored during the first half of play but the Tar Heels seemed to find their rhythm in the second stanza with forward Jelani Pieters finding the back of the net in the fifty-third minute followed by a Mauricio Pineda goal in the fifty-six minute. UNCW closed the gap to 2-1 when forward Julio Moncada scored out of a free kick with an assist from David Lozano in the seventy-fourth minute.

James Pyle had four saves in goal for UNC. Ryan Cretens had five saves in goal for the Seahawks.

North Carolina improves to 15-3-1 while UNCW closes out the 2017 season with a 12-8-0 record.  


SMU 2 - Georgetown 1 (OT) - This second round contest matched two teams that rebounded this year after being noticably absent from the NCAA Tourney field last year. 

Georgetown took a 1-0 lead in the eighteenth minute of the match when Jacob Montes scored after receiving a cross from Declan McCabe. It looked like that goal might prove to be the difference maker until the eighty-second minute when senior defender Jordan Cano scored out of a corner kick with an assist from Nicky Hernandez. 

The contest remained tied at the end of regulation. It then looked like the match would remain scoreless and be settled by a penalty kick shootout but an own goal in the final minute of the second overtime period gave SMU the victory.

JT Marcinkowski had seven saves in goal for the Hoyas while Michael Nelson had six saves between the pipes for the Mustangs.

SMU improves to 17-2-1 and advances to the Sweet Sixteen while number fourteen seeded Georgetown closes out the 2017 season with a 14-4-2 record. 


Fordham 1 - Virginia 0 - Down go the Cavaliers in another second round shocker. Eric Ohlendorf headed in a cross from teammate Jannik Loebe that came out of a counter attack in the eighty-third minute of play to give Fordham the edge they needed to secure the upset over number eleven seed Virginia. The game-winning goal was Ohlendorf's first of the season and propels Fordham to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in the history of the program. 

Junior Rashid Nuhu had five saves in goal to anchor a solid defense along with backs Matthew Lewis, Vincenzo Zuccala, Joergen Oland, and Christopher Bazzini among others.

Fordham improves to 14-5-2 and advances to face Duke in the Sweet Sixteen. Virginia closes out another productive season with a 12-4-5 record. 


Duke 2 - FIU 1 - Sometimes the goals come from unexpected places as was the case for Duke in their win over FIU. Midfielder Max Moser and Kristofer Gardarsson tallied thier first goals of the year to send the Blue Devils to the Sweet Sixteen where they will host Fordham next Saturday.

Moser sent a highlight reel type shot into the left side of the net out of a free kick from twenty-five yards out in the nineteenth minute to give Duke the early edge. The score remained 1-0 at halftime.

Gardarrsson who only saw limited time in the contest took advantage of his time on the pitch by adding Duke's second score in the seventy-third minute when he drove a picture perfect shot into left side of the frame after receiving a nice centering pass from Suniel Veerakone.

FIU continued to press the attack which lead to a goal from defender Paul Marie with an assist from Owen Green in the severnty-seventh minute of play. 

Will Pulisic had seven saves in goal for the Blue Devils. Hugo Fauroux had three saves between the pipes for the Panthers.

Duke improves to 13-4-2. FIU concludes a banner season with a 12-2-4 record.   


Indiana Bracket 



Michigan State 3 - Virginia Tech 0 - MIchigan State took control early on and never relinquished it.

The Spartans jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the fifth minute of play when junior forward Ryan Sierakowski scored his eighth goal of the season with a double assist from foward Dejuan Jones and midfielder Ken Krolicki.  Jones then found the back of the net for the seventh time to date in the nineteenth minute with helpers from Krolicki and Michael Pimlott to extend the Spartans advantage to 2-0. Pimlott then added icing to the cake in the thirty-ninth minute with Krolicki and Michael Marcantognini assisting to conclude the scoring for the day.

Ben Lundgaard had four saves in goal for Virginia Tech. Redshirt junior Jimmy Hague was called upon to make seven saves in goal to secure the shutout between the pipes for Michigan State. 

The Spartans improve to 12-3-3 and live to play another day.  Virginia Tech out of the ACC closes out the season with a 10-10-0 overall record. 


Western Michigan 2 - Albany 0 - Western Michigan continues to take care of business in a season that even the most die hard Bronco fan didn't likely predict heading into the 2017 campaign.

Kosti Moni netted the first Western Michigan goal during the thirty-ninth minute of play with an assist from Brandon Bye. Junior defender Ben Thorton added what proved to be the insurance goal in the sixty-second minute with MAC Player of the Year Bye contributing his second helper of the evening.  

Western Michigan had a twenty-two to eight advantage in shots for the contest. Danny Vitiello had a four save match in goal for Albany while Drew Shepherd had two saves as part of a very stout Bronco defense. 

Western Michigan secures its first ever win in the NCAA Tournament to improve to 17-3-1 and advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will have a rematch with Michigan State. The Spartans topped the Broncos 1-0 when they faced each other on October 1.

Albany out of the America East Conference concludes another successful season with a 14-5-3 record. 


New Hampshire 0 - Dartmouth 0 - New Hampshire advances 4-1 in a penalty kick shootout - New Hampshire advances to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Defense ruled in this one. Both teams had oppourtunities to socre but neither team was able to capatilize on them.  New Hampshire had a twelve shot evening with seven of them on goal.  Number fifteen seed Dartmouth had ten shots with one of them on goal. 

Graduate Student Robin Schmidt netted the shot that clinched the penalty kick shootout for New Hampshire.  

Christophe Palacios had seven saves between the pipes for Dartmouth. Andrew Pesci was called upon to make one stop for New Hampshire to record his twelfth shutout of the season.   

New Hampshire is now 13-3-5 and advances to face number two seed Indiana next Saturday in Bloomington.  Ivy Leage Champion Dartmouth closes out the season with a 12-3-2 record. 


Indiana 3 - 0ld Dominion 0 - Indiana continues to play tenacious defense while coming up with the big plays needed to prevail on the offensive side of the ball. 

Senior defender Grant Lillard converted a header out of a corner kick put in play by Spencer Glass to give Indiana a 1-0 advantage in the thirty-sixth minute of the match. Freshman forward Mason Toye made it 2-0 Indiana in the opening minutes of the second stanza when he alertly intercepted a pass and placed a shot into the far left post from the top of the box.  Austin Panchot then concluded the scoring for the evening in the sixty-third minute when he sent a shot into the bottom right corner of the frame from fourteen yards out with Toye and defender Andrew Gutman contributing a double assist. 

Freshman netminder Trey Muse had one save in goal for the Hoosiers.  Mertcan Akar had five saves between the pipes for Old Dominion. 

Indiana remains unbeaten with a 16-0-5 record and advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will host New Hampshire.  Old Dominion finshes the season with a 13-6-2 record. 


Sixteen Teams Survive And Advance To The Second Round Of The 2017 NCAA Tournament - The Road To The College Cup Continues

It is survive and advance time. The first round of play is over. Sixteen teams have been eliminated which means that the NCAA Tourney field has been reduced from forty-eight to thirty-two teams. The sixteen first round winners have earned the right to advance to tangle with one of the sixteen seeded teams on Sunday with a spot in the Sweet Sixteen on the line. 


Wake Forest Bracket



Columbia 2 – William and Mary 1 (OT) – Ryder Bell scored from thirty yards out in the thirty-first minute to give William and Mary the early advantage.  The contest remained 1-0 at halftime.  Columbia picked up the pace of their attack in the second stanza and reaped the benefit of it when Zach Morant knotted the score at 1-1 in the seventy-seventh minute when his header found its way into the back of the net out of a corner kick served in by Nike Azuma. 

The teams were tied at the end of regulation.  Kynan Rocks netted the game winning goal in the one-hundred and third minute when he alertly collected the rebound of teammate Alex Bangerl’s header and tapped it into the back of the net.  

Columbia secures its first win in NCAA Tourney play since 1990 and improves to 12-2-3 overall.  Columbia head coach Kevin Anderson stated, “It was a great accomplishment by our group and something we’ve been working at for a long time.”  He added, “A lot of credit goes to everybody, not just this particular group of guys.”  The Lions advance to face number one seed Wake Forest.  

William and Mary out of the Colonia Athletic Association concludes the 2017 campaign with a 11-5-5 overall record.


Butler 2 – Lipscomb 0 – Sophomore forward Brando Guhl found the back of the net for Butler in the eighth and seventy-seventh minutes. Junior defender Kieran Geldenhuys contributed the assist on both goals to propel the Bulldogs past Lipscomb. 

Redshirt senior goalkeeper Eric Dick had four saves in goal to anchor a very solid defensive effort on the part of Butler.  The Bulldogs are unbeaten in their last eight contests to improve to 13-4-2.  Coach Paul Snape’s squad now advances to face number sixteen seed VCU in Richmond.  

Lipscomb closes out a very successful season with an 11-8-2 overall record.  


Pacific 2 - Cal State Fullerton 1 – This one was played under rainy conditions in Stockton. 

Junior defender Bob Groenendijk collected and sent the rebound of Diego Villapudua’s shot into the net in the fifty-fourth minute of play to give Pacific a 1-0 advantage.  Senior forward Spencer Vue made it 2-0 Pacific in the eighty-fourth minute when he sent the rebound of Anthony Oredain’s shot into the back of the frame. 

To their credit, Cal State Fullerton continued to press the attack to try to get back into it and narrowed the margin to 2-1 when Bass Sarr drove the rebound of his own header into the net in the eighty-sixth minute.  Pacific responded to the Titan goal by tightening up their play on the defensive side of the ball  for the remainder of the match and that concluded the scoring for the evening. 

Curtis Goldsmith had a four same evening in goal for Pacific while sophomore Paul-Andre Guerin who had a solid evening in goal had five saves in a losing cause for Cal State Fullerton.

Pacific under the guidance of Ryan Jorden improves to 13-4-1 and travels to face two-time defending national champion and number nine seed Stanford on Sunday. 

Cal State Fullerton has earned a berth in the NCAA Tourney three out of the past four seasons under the direction of George Kuntz.  The Titans conclude another productive season with a 10-8-4 record.  


Coastal Carolina 1 – Mercer 0 – Senior forward Frantzdy Pierrot who has come up with big goals all year for the Chanticleers did so once again when he sent a one-timer into the back of the frame in the twenty-second minute of play after receiving a lobbed pass from Martin Melchor to net the lone goal of the contest. 

Braulio Linares-Ortiz had four saves in goal to record the shutout for Coastal Carolina. Jeremy Booth had a five save evening between the pipes for Mercer. 

Coastal Carolina improves to 13-6-1 and advances to face in-state foe Clemson out of the Atlantic Coast Conference in what should be a very competitive second round contest.  

Brad Ruzzo’s Mercer team concludes the 2017 campaign with a 7-9-6 record.  Mercer’s senior class ends a very successful four-year tenure in Macon with a 45-29-10 overall record that included NCAA Tournament berths in 2016 and 2017.


Louisville Bracket



Seattle 3 – Washington 2 (OT) – This was without a doubt one of the more exciting and hotly contested first round matches. 

Kyle Coffee started the scoring when he converted a header with a double assist from Justin Fiddes and Blake Bodily in the twenty-fourth minute to draw first blood for Washington.  Seattle then knotted it at 1-1 in the thirty-ninth minute when freshman forward Habib Barry scored after receiving a through ball from junior midfielder Sergio Rivas. The teams entered intermission with the score tied at 1-1. 

Seattle took a 2-1 lead in the sixty-third minute when Rivas found the back of the net from twenty-five yards out after receiving a well-played flick from Medo Youssef.  Washington’s Elijah Rice tied the contest at 2-2 when he created a turnover and followed it up with a shot  into the back of the frame in the eightieth minute. 

Freshman midfielder Gabriel Ruiz’s shot from fifteen yards out found its way via a deflection into the top right side of the frame to net the golden goal for Seattle in the ninety-eighth minute of overtime.  Ruiz’s goal was set up by a nice move and pass from senior midfielder Alex Roldan. 

Seattle head coach Pete Fewing stated, “We’re thrilled. Washington is very good and they punish you when you make a mistake.” Fewing added, “Our university gets behind us and the crowd was great tonight. They pushed us on tonight.”

Washington out of the Pac-12 ends the 2017 season with a 12-7-1 record. Seattle improves to 15-3-4 and avenges a regular season loss to Washington. 

The Redhawks out of the WAC advance to face Akron on Sunday.


Wisconsin 4 - UIC 1 – The Flames jumped out to an early 1-0 advantage in the twenty-eighth minute and sent a shiver through the home crowd at McClimon Soccer Complex in Madison when defender Jacob Graiber sent a header into the back of the net out of a restart put in play by midfielder Oscar Gonzalez.  

Senior Tom Barlow converted a penalty kick for Wisconsin in the forty-third minute to knot the contest at 1-1 and provide a little assurance for the partisan crowd on hand in Madison.  The score remained tied at the half-time break. 

The contest was all Wisconsin in the second half with Mike Catalano, Mitch Guitar and Barlow scoring to produce the 4-1 win for the Badgers.  Wisconsin improves 11-4-5 overall and advances to the second round of play to face Norte Dame in South Bend.

Badger head coach John Trask stated, “We had a big crowd for a tough night, a cold night. Great event here at McClimon, thanks to all the fans and supporters of the men’s soccer team.”

The four Wisconsin goals were the most allowed by UIC all year.  The Flames out of the Horizon League end a successful season with an 11-6-3 record.


Colgate 2 – Massachusetts 0 – The Raiders win their first ever NCAA Tournament contest to advance to face Michigan on Sunday. 

Colgate got on the board in the eleventh minute of play when midfielder Jared Stroud corralled a corner kick that had initially been cleared by Massachusetts and fired a shot that bounced off the post into the center of the box where senior defender Karl Brown recovered it and sent a one-timer into the back of the frame.  Stroud added what proved to be the insurance goal for Colgate in the thirty-eighth minute of play when he drove a shot into the back of the net from the edge of the eighteen-yard box. 

Massachusetts picked up the pace of their attack but was unable to convert any of the scoring opportunities that came there way. 

A bend but don’t break Colgate defense anchored by goalkeeper Jacob Harris had a solid evening of play to record their eighth shutout of the season.  The Raiders out of the Patriot League won their sixth straight match to improve to 11-10-1. 

Colgate head coach Erik Ronning stated, “I couldn’t be more proud of this group. They’ve gotten better every game and have continued to follow the game plan, believed and persevered.”

Massachusetts concludes a very solid season with a 15-4-3 overall record.


San Francisco 2 – California 1 – The Dons who have won nine of their last ten matches extend their win streak to seven straight contests and show a lot of grit with an impressive first round come from behind victory over the Golden Bears.  

California took a 1-0 lead when they scored in the opening seconds of the second half.  Midfielder Aravind Sivakumar netted the first goal for the Golden Bears with an assist from defender Ebstein Samuel.  It seemed at that point that California had momentum and was going to take charge of the game but that did not prove to be the case.

Senior forward Bryce Kaminski scored from fifteen yards out a few minutes later to knot the score at 1-1 and give San Francisco new life.  Midfielder Sean Bowman assisted by Leon Schwarzer then netted what proved to be the game-winner for the Dons in the seventy-ninth minute of play.  The goal was Bowman’s tenth to date and fifth game-winner.

San Francisco out of the West Coast Conference continues what has been a brilliant if not improbable mid-season turnaround to improve to 10-8-0 and earn the right to hit the road again to face number four seed Louisville on Sunday. 

California out of the Pac-12 closes out the 2017 campaign with a 11-7-0 record.


North Carolina Bracket



UNCW 1 - Presbyterian 0 – A game Presbyterian team gave it their all and made it a close contest.  The match was scoreless at the conclusion of regulation.

Redshirt senior forward Julio Moncada scored the golden goal out of a corner kick for UNCW just forty-seven seconds into overtime with a double assist credited to forward Phillip Goodrum and freshman defender Hjalmar Ekdal.  

Senior Connor Behrend who had several outstanding stops in goal for Presbyterian had an eight save evening.  Ryan Cretens had one save in goal to secure the shutout for UNCW. 

The Seahawks improve to 12-7-0 and advance to tangle with number three seed North Carolina in the second round of play.  UNCW topped the Tar Heels 1-0 when the two teams squared off in Wilmington on September 1. 

Presbyterian out of the Big South Conference under the guidance of head coach Jonathan Potter conclude their season with a 6-9-5 record.


SMU 2 - Central Arkansas 0 – The contest was scoreless at the conclusion of the first half of play but a Garrett McLaughlin goal coming out of a corner kick in the fiftieth minute gave the Mustang’s a 1-0 advantage.  The goal was McLaughlin’s fourteenth of the season.  Christian Boorom scored the insurance goal for SMU after receiving a pass from defender Eddie Munjoma in the seventy-eighth minute of the match.  

SMU controlled the run of play for most of the contest.  Michael Nelson had six saves in goal for SMU.  Marc Olsen had five saves between the pipes for Central Arkansas. 

SMU improves to 16-2-1 and advances to tangle with number fourteen seed Georgetown out of the Big East Conference.  SMU head coach Kevin Hudson stated, “I thought we played well. It took us a while to find the answer. It’s a just result.” Hudson added, “Central Arkansas did well. They defended with some intensity, and it was a challenging puzzle to solve.” 

Central Arkansas out of the Missouri Valley Conference ends the season with a 9-11-1 record and the program’s first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.


Fordham 3 – Saint Francis Brooklyn 2 (OT) – This one heated up as the second half of play progressed.  St. Francis Brooklyn jumped out to a 1-0 advantage in the ninth minute when midfielder Leo Follar scored the lone goal of the first half when he sent the rebound of defender Dominick Falanga missed shot into the goal. 

Fordham’s senior midfielder Jannik Loebe scored from thirty yards out in the seventy-second minute to tie it at 1-1 and open the flood gates in terms of goal scoring.  St. Francis responded in the seventy-third minute compliments of a goal from senior forward Nadim Saqui to take a 2-1 lead. 

Senior defender Matthew Lewis scored from ten yards out in the eighty-first minute for Fordham to tie the contest at 2-2 and send it into overtime where defender Joergen Oland scored for Fordham from eight yards out with a double assist from Connor Defilippis and Vincenzo Zuccala to secure the win and collect the program’s first ever victory in NCAA Tournament play.  

Fordham improves to 13-5-2 and travels to Charlottesville where they will square off with number eleven seed Virginia out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. 

The St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers out of the Northeast Conference end another very successful season with a 14-5-1 record.


FIU 2 - Omaha 0 – The Panthers broke the ice just fifty-six seconds into the contest when Deshawon Nembhard directed a header into the right corner of the net from eighteen yards out after receiving a nice ball out of a free kick from senior defender Paul Marie.  Jordan Machado headed in the second FIU score in the twenty-fifth minute out of a free kick served in by Marie. 

FIU improves to 12-1-4 and advances to face Duke in Durham on Sunday.  FIU head coach Kevin Nylen stated, “Survive and advance. I’m really proud of this group.  Massive team effort tonight against a really good side in Omaha.”

Omaha out of the Summit League finishes their season with a 10-6-3 record.


Indiana Bracket



Virginia Tech 2 – Air Force 0 – All the scoring in this one took place in a span of three minutes during the second stanza of play.  Collin Verfurth scored for Virginia Tech out of a counter attack set up by a nice move and pass from Marcelo Acuna to give the Hokies a 1-0 advantage in the fifty-fourth minute of the match.  Three minutes later Acuna gave Virginia Tech a two goal advantage when he recovered the rebound of his own missed shot and sent it back into the net as the best finishers have a habit of doing.   

Ben Lundgaard had seven saves in goal for the Hokies.  Senior John Wendt had two saves between the pipes for Air Force. 

Virginia Tech improves to 10-9-0 and advances to face number seven seed Michigan State. 

Air Force out of the WAC concludes an outstanding season with a 14-3-3 overall record.  


Albany 0- Maryland 0Albany advances 5-4 in penalty kicks.  This defensive battle was scoreless after 110 minutes of play.  Maryland dominated possession for most of the game and had a fourteen to four advantage in shots but the Terps were unable to finish the scoring opportunities that came their way. Credit Albany with a stout bend but don’t brake defensive effort.   

Brynjar Steinborsson converted the winning penalty kick in the shootout for Albany.  Great Dane netminder Danny Vitiello had eight saves in goal.  Maryland netminder Dayne St. Clair had three stops.  

Albany is 14-4-3 and advances to face number ten seed Western Michigan on Sunday.  Maryland out of the Big Ten ends their season with a 10-5-4 record.  


New Hampshire 3 – Fairfield 0 – Graduate Student forward Robin Schmidt drove a rebound back into the frame from five yards in the thirteenth minute of play and sent a rocket into the back of the net from twelve yards with eight ticks remaining on the clock in the first half to give New Hampshire a 2-0 advantage heading into intermission. 

New Hampshire’s Piippo Kristian sent the rebound of teammate Jack Doherty’s shot back into the frame in the eighty-fifth minute from eight yards out to make it 3-0 to conclude the scoring for the evening. 

New Hampshire ups its record to 13-3-4 and advances to face number fifteen seed Dartmouth on Sunday.  The Wildcats topped Dartmouth 4-2 when they faced each other back on October 17. 

Fairfield out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference halts a ten-game unbeaten streak to conclude a very productive season with a 12-5-3 record.


Old Dominion 2 – N.C. State 0 – The Monarchs top the Wolfpack to earn the right to advance to the second round of play where they will square off with number two seed Indiana in Bloomington. 

Freshman midfielder Brandon Perdue scored in the thirty-third minute of the contest after receiving a pass from freshman midfielder Hans Kroschwitz to give ODU a 1-0 lead which they carried into half-time. 

Junior forward Max Wilschrey slotted a shot into the left corner of the net to produce the second goal of the evening for the Monarchs with an assist from junior midfielder  Niko Klosterhalfen in the seventy-second minute. 

Old Dominion improves to 13-5-2 while N.C. State concludes a successful season under the direction of first year head coach George Kiefer with a 8-6-4 record that the Wolfpack will no doubt seek to build upon next year. 


A Look At The First Round Contests In The 2017 NCAA Tourney - The Road To The College Cup

Wake Forest Region

Columbia (11-2-3) at William and Mary (11-4-5)  – William and Mary punched their ticket to the tourney by beating Hofstra, James Madison, and UNCW to win the CAA Tournament. Columbia was awarded an at-large berth after finishing regular season play in the number two spot in the Ivy League. The Lions are making their first appearance in the NCAA Tourney since 1993.

The outcome of the contest may hinge on whether Columbia can contain William and Mary forward Antonio Bustamante who has tallied fifteen of the Tribe’s thirty-seven goals to date and whether or not William and Mary can contain Columbia forward Arthur Bosua who has been responsible for twelve of the twenty-nine goals that the Lions have scored.  Both are explosive finishers who are capable of breaking open a contest. Columbia comes into the contest on a five-game win streak during which time they have outscored their opponents 14-0.  


Lipscomb (11-7-2) at Butler (12-4-2) – Lipscomb earned their first ever berth in the NCAA Tourney by advancing past NJIT in a penalty kick shootout, defeating FGCU 2-1, and by topping Jacksonville 2-1 to win the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament.  Big East Conference Member Butler was awarded an at-large berth.  The Bulldogs won the Big East Regular Season Title with an 8-1-0 mark in league play but were upended by Xavier in the semifinals of the Big East Tourney in a match that was decided by a penalty kick shootout.

Lipscomb is led on the offensive side of the ball by the forward duo of Logan Paynter (9g, 5a) and Ivan Sakou (8g, 2a).  Both are capable playmakers who could keep the Bison’s magical ride alive. The fact that Lipscomb has allowed a total of thirty-three goals to date would indicate that the Bison are vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball.  As a result, their effectiveness on the defensive side of the ball will play a key role in determining their fate in the NCAA Tourney.

Butler’s Brandon Guhl (10g, 4a) and Lewis Suddick (5g, 8a) will test the Lipscomb defense from the get-go.  Last year Butler’s season came to an unexpected end when they were one and done in NCAA Tourney play after coming out on the short end of a penalty kick shootout at home against SIUE. That memory should help keep Butler from looking past Lipscomb. 


Cal State Fullerton (10-7-4) at Pacific (12-4-1) – Cal State Fullerton secured the Big West Conference’s automatic berth by defeating UC Riverside 2-1 and advancing past UC Davis in penalty kicks after the contest was tied 0-0 at the end of regulation and overtime. Pacific out of the West Coast Conference was awarded an at-large berth to earn the right to go dancing for the second season in a row.

Forward Samuel Goni  (9g, 1a) and midfielder Ross McPhie (7g, 3a) have been the go-to guys in Cal State Fullerton’s offense.  The Titan defense has played very well at times but they have also been very porous on occasion as reflected in a 5-0 loss to Portland and a 5-2 loss to UC Santa Barbara. Senior back Corentin Ohlmann and sophomore goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin are the guys who will set the pace for the Cal State Fullerton defense. 

Senior netminder Curtis Goldsmith and backs Tristan Blackman and Wouter Verstraaten anchor a bend but don’t break Pacific defense that has been hampered at times with costly lapses in play.  This one is capable of going either way with the edge going to the side that is able to settle into their rhythm and control the run of play.


Mercer (7-8-6) at Coastal Carolina (12-6-1) – Mercer punched their ticket for the second year in a row by defeating Woffard 2-1, advancing past ETSU in penalty kicks, and topping UNCG in penalty kicks after the contest was tied 1-1.  Coastal Carolina defeated Howard 2-1 and Georgia State 2-0 to win the Sun Belt Tournament and the automatic berth that accompanies it. 

Mercer struggled early on in the season but the Bears have rebounded to play very well down the home stretch.  Senior forward Will Bagrou (12g, 3a) is a prime timer who is capable of taking a game over.  Redshirt senior Jeremy Booth is coming off an outstanding performance in goal during the Southern Conference Tournament.  Mercer has displayed a lot of grit of late which is a big plus but lack of consistency has hampered their play this year. Whether or not they can continue to come up with the big plays and a full ninety minutes of play as they did in the Southern Conference Tournament remains to be seen. 

Senior Frantzdy Pierrot (8g, 3a) is among several players who provide firepower and big play ability to the Coastal Carolina offense.  The Chanticleers picked up the pace of their game in mid-October when they upset Old Dominion and Maryland on the road.  Coastal is on a nine-game winning streak but they could be in trouble if they come out flat and allow Mercer to settle in and control the pace of the contest. 


Louisville Bracket

Seattle (14-3-4) at Washington (12-6-1) – Seattle secured the Western Athletic Conference’s automatic berth by advancing past CSU Bakersfield 3-0, advancing past UNLV in a penalty kick shootout, and topping San Jose State 3-1.  Washington was awarded an at-large berth after a third place finish in Pac-12 regular season play.

Seattle is very balanced on the offensive side of the ball with Junior midfielder Sergio Rivas (7g, 5a) and senior midfielder Alex Roldan (6g, 7a) among several very capable finishers.  Redshirt junior Josh Adachi Sune who was named the WAC Tournament MVP and junior defender Nathan Aune are key elements in a solid Redhawk defense.  

Sophomore Handwalla Bwana (8g, 6a) is the go-to guy in a balanced Washington attack that has produced a total of thirty-eight goals while the Huskie defense has held opponents to a total of nineteen goals. Washington defeated Seattle 2-0 when the two teams squared off on September 24 during regular season play.  This match between cross-town rivals looks to be among the better first round contests. 

Chances are good that this one will ultimately be decided by who controls the middle third of the field.


UIC (11-5-3) at Wisconsin (10-4-5) – UIC punched their ticket by defeating Cleveland State 3-1 and Green Bay 2-0 in the Horizon League Tournament to secure the league’s automatic berth.  Wisconsin defeated Maryland 2-1, Michigan 4-0 and advanced past Indiana in a penalty kick shootout after the contest was tied at 0-0 after 110 minutes of play to win the Big Ten Tournament and the conference’s automatic berth.

Oscar Gonzalez (6g, 5a) and Jesus Perez (5g, 8a) are key ingredients in the UIC offense. Goalkeeper Sawyer Jackman and back Joel Leon are among key defenders. UIC will arrive in Madison fired up and believing they can win. However, they will have to bring their “A” game in order to keep in check a dangerous multi-dimensional Wisconsin attack powered by Chris Mueller (9g, 15a), Tom Barlow (8g, 5a), Mark Segbers (5g, 6a) and Mike Catalano (6g, 1a).

Goalkeeper Philipp Schilling, who is the reigning College Soccer News National Player of the Week, is coming off an outstanding performance between the pipes for the Badgers in the Big Ten Conference Tournament.  The biggest challenge for Wisconsin may be stabilizing after a very emotional Big Ten Tournament performance.  The Badgers have to quickly refocus and continue to play their game if they hope to make a meaningful run in the NCAA Tourney.


Colgate (10-10-1) at Massachusetts (15-3-3) – Colgate topped Bucknell 1-0, Loyola 3-2, and Holy Cross 1-0 to win the Patriot League Tournament and its automatic berth.  The Raiders became the first number six seed ever to win the  Patriot League tournament. Massachusetts defeated Saint Louis 1-0, Fordham 1-0 and VCU 3-1 to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament and an automatic ticket to the NCAA Tourney.  The Minutemen became the first team to win both the A-10 regular season title outright and the tournament title since 1991. 

Jared Stroud (3g, 11a) is the guy who sets the pace for Colgate with Aram Ouligian (7g, 2a) adding punch to a balanced Raider offense.  Colgate was very solid defensively during their run to the Patriot League Tournament title but during regular season play they were inconsistent with costly lapses that hampered them at times on the defensive side of the ball.

Massachusetts has a high-powered attack lead by forward Davis Smith (10g, 7a), midfielder Alex Desantis (9g, 6a) and forward Jack Fulton (6g, 3a) that will seek to exploit any weaknesses that exist. The Minutemen have found the back of the net a total of forty-three times.  Massachusetts topped Colgate 2-1 when the two teams faced each other back on September 16.  The Minutemen have been consistent on both side of the ball all year which bodes well for them in this contest but on the other hand a very gutsy Colgate team is playing their best soccer of the year right now and they have the added experience of having played in the NCAA Tourney last year.


San Francisco (9-8-0) at California (11-6-0) – San Francisco won the West Coast Conference regular season title and the conference’s automatic berth.  California finished in the number two spot in the Pac-12 regular season race and was awarded an at-large berth.

San Francisco comes into the contest on a five-game winning streak.  After going 3-7-0 at the end of September, the Dons gelled as a team in October and upped the level of their play.  Sean Bowman (9g, 2a), Leon Schwarzer (6g, 7a), and Santiago Digiuseppe (6g, 3a) have spearheaded a San Francisco attack that has netted a total of thirty-five goals. Improved play on the defensive side of the ball has played a key role in San Francisco’s success down the home stretch. 

Midfielders Jose Carrera-Garcia and Shinya Kadono have been catalysts on the offensive side of the ball for California while goalkeeper Drake Callender has anchored a Golden Bear defense that has held opponents to a total of twenty goals to date.

California topped San Francisco 3-2 when the two teams faced each other back on September 17 in San Francisco.  The Dons are a much better team now particularly on the defensive side of the ball which means this one could go either way. Both teams will feel the pressure of the one and done environment of the NCAA Tourney so look for the team that is able to stay focused on the task at hand, settle in, maintain possession, play their game, and get into their rhythm early on to pull away as the contest progresses.


North Carolina Bracket

Presbyterian (6-8-5) at UNCW (11-7-0) – Number six seeded Presbyterian defeated number three seed Campbell 2-1 and number two seed Radford and number one seed High Point in penalty kicks after both contests were scoreless after 110 minutes of play to claim the Big South Tournament title and the program’s first ever NCAA Tourney berth at the Division I level.  UNCW finished regular season play in the number two spot in the Colonial Athletic Association and was awarded an at-large berth.

Freshman forward Clement Vannier with five goals and two assists and sophomore forward Sergio Pinto with three goals and four assists lead the Presbyterian offense.  Eleven other Blue Hose players have found the back of the net at least once year to date. Presbyterian under the direction of head coach Jonathan Potter will have to continue to play spot on defense and take advantage of the few scoring opportunities that are likely to come their way in order to have a chance to keep their magical ride alive.

UNCW rocketed upward in the national polls throughout most of September with a signature win over North Carolina but they dropped out of the rankings when they lost four straight in October. The Seahawks are powered on the offensive side of the ball by forward Phillip Goodrum (7g, 4a).  Look for the Seahawks to be a bit cautious in the early going but to push the attack and take control as the match progresses.

Whoever scores first in this one will have a huge advantage.  UNCW should prevail but the longer the contest remains scoreless the greater the chance that the Blue Hose will pull off another upset.


Central Arkansas (8-10-1) at SMU (15-2-1) -  Central Arkansas won the Missouri Valley Conference’s automatic berth by advancing past Bradley in a penalty kick shootout after the contest was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and extra time and by edging regular season title winner Missouri State 1-0 in overtime to secure in the program’s first ever berth in the NCAA Tourney.  SMU punched their ticket by thumping Temple 4-0 and sliding past UCF 2-1 to win the American Athletic Conference Tournament and the league’s automatic berth.  The Mustangs also won the AAC regular season title.

Sophomore forward Niklas Brodacki (17g, 5a) is the main man in Central Arkansas’s offense.  Brodacki, who was named the MVC Offensive Player of the Year, is responsible for one-half of the thirty-four goals the Bears have scored to date. Central Arkansas will need to continue to maintain the intensity on the defensive side of the ball that they displayed in the MVC Tourney in order to have a chance of halting a multi-dimensional SMU attack.  

The Mustangs will enter the match on a ten-game unbeaten streak.  Redshirt senior goalkeeper Michael Nelson and senior backs Jordan Cano and Jared Rice anchor a stout SMU defense that has only allowed a total of ten goals so far this year.  The Mustang offense features sophomore forward Garrett McLaughlin (13g, 3a) and senior midfielder Mauro Cichero (9g, 7a).  Both are extremely dangerous finishers who will seek to exploit any weakness that might exist. 

SMU is a perfect 12-0-0 at home this year. While it is foolish to look past any opponent in NCAA Tournament play, chances are pretty good that SMU’s winning streak at home will remain intact in the first round of the NCAA Tourney.  


Saint Francis Brooklyn (14-4-1) at Fordham (12-5-2) – Saint Francis Brooklyn topped Robert Morris 3-0 and bulldozed LIU Brooklyn 5-0 to win the Northeast Conference Tourney and the automatic berth that goes with it. The Terriers also claimed the NEC regular season title.  Fordham out of the Atlantic 10 was awarded an at-large berth.

Saint Francis Brooklyn is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament having appeared in it four out of the past five seasons. The fact that senior backs Dominick Falanga and Collyns Laokandi and sophomore back Faouzi Tajeb along with senior goalkeeper Roberto Bazzichetto were all NEC First Team selections tells you that the Terriers can play defense.  Junior forward Ali Tunkara (8g, 2a) and Falanga (7g, 1a) are key factors on the offensive side of the ball for Saint Francis Brooklyn. 

Fordham is anchored in goal by junior Rashid Nuhu who has recorded ten shutouts.  The Rams have been solid on the defensive side of the ball as reflected in the fact that they have allowed a total of only fourteen goals.  Janos Loebe (7g, 9a) and Jannik Loebe (6g, 3a) are at the heart of a Fordham offense that has produced a total of twenty-six goals. 

This contest looks to be among one of the most interesting matchups in the first round of play.  This one is a toss-up so look for the play between the pipes and the ability of Saint Francis Brooklyn to contain Jannik and Janos Loebe to have a huge impact on the outcome.


Omaha (10-5-3) at FIU (11-1-4) – Omaha secured the Summit League’s automatic berth by winning the Summit League Tournament.  The Mavericks accomplished that by defeating Western Illinois 2-0 and advancing past regular season winner Denver 9-8 in penalty kicks after the contest was knotted at 1-1 at the end of 110 minutes of play.  FIU ended regular season play on a fifteen-game unbeaten streak but they were upset by Charlotte 3-1 in the CUSA Tournament. The Panthers were awarded an at-large berth.

Sophomore forward Elvir Ibisevic (9g, 1a), senior forward Emmanuel Hamzat (7g, 2a) and senior midfielder Xavier Gomez (5g, 8a) add diversity to an Omaha attack that has netted a total of twenty-seven goals. The Mavericks began the season with six straight wins but have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride since that time. Omaha played a competitive regular season schedule that included Creighton, Michigan and FGCU that should help prepare them for NCAA Tourney play. Unfortunately, they came out on the short end of each of those contests.  

The FIU attack, which has produced a total of forty-seven goals, features junior forward Santiago Patino (15g, 5a), senior midfielder Paul Marie (7g, 4a) and redshirt freshman midfielder Alessandro Campoy (7g, 8a).  

Both teams have capable playmakers so it will likely come down to which of them are able to come up with the big plays.  Give the home field advantage and the edge to FIU.


Indiana Bracket    

Air Force (14-2-3) at Virginia Tech (9-9-0) – After winning the WAC regular season title, Air Force was upset by San Jose State in the semifinals of the conference tournament. They were subsequently awarded an at-large berth based on the success they enjoyed during regular season play.  Virginia Tech out of the Atlantic Coast Conference was awarded an at-large berth after an up and down season that included winning and losing streaks.

Austin Dewing (7g, 7a) and Tucker Bone (5g, 7a) are the go-to guys in an Air Force attack that has produced a total of thirty goals.  Senior goalkeeper John Wendt and backs Klint Parker and James Sims are key elements in a very good Air Force defense that has allowed a total of only ten goals.  This is a very balanced and determined Air Force team. 

Senior forward Marcelo Acuna (11g, 2a) with five games winners is the guy that makes good things happen on the offensive side of the ball for the Hokies. He has netted one-half of the twenty-two goals that Virginia Tech has scored.  Ben Lundgaard is a prime timer in goal for the Hokies but the Virginia Tech defense has been very porous at times this year allowing a total of thirty-one goals.  

Virginia Tech has the big advantage of playing at home and Air Force the disadvantage of having to travel cross-country to play.  The key in this one is the ability of Air Force to contain Marcelo Acuna.  If they can successfully do that then they have a good shot at advancing to the second round. However, if Acuna gets in gear with a lot of scoring opportunities in the attacking third then it could be a long evening for the Falcons.


Albany (14-4-2) at Maryland (10-5-3) – Albany advanced past UMBC in a penalty kick shootout, topped regular season winner Vermont 1-0 and defeated UMass Lowell 1-0 in overtime to win the America East Tournament and an automatic berth.  Maryland out of the Big Ten was awarded an at-large berth. The Terps were among the most productive teams in the country through mid-October before closing out the season with five straight losses.

Albany has a balanced attack lead by forwards Nico Solabarrieta (8g, 6a) and Afonso Pinheiro (7g, 4a) and defender Daniel Krutzen (4g, 7a).  Junior Carlos Clark sets the pace in the middle of the park for Albany. The Great Dane defense has been solid holding opponents to a total of fifteen goals.

It is hard to get a handle on Maryland.  This is a very talented team that was considered among the top candidates just a few weeks ago for a trip to the Final Four.  Despite the five consecutive losses, the fact remains that Maryland is a team with the potential to rebound and get back on track. 

All things considered, this contest is up for grabs.


Fairfield (12-4-3) at New Hampshire (12-3-4) – Fairfield punched their ticket to the big dance by winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament Championship via advancing past Quinnipiac in a penalty kick shootout and a 1-0 win over Rider.  The Stags also claimed the MAAC regular season title.  New Hampshire secured the regular season America East title but lost to UMass Lowell 2-1 in the semifinals of the America East Tournament. They were subsequently awarded an at-large berth based on the body of their work during regular season play.

Fairfield is on a ten-game winning streak including three consecutive shutouts.  Forwards Ben Wignall (6g, 3a) and Don Junior-Bode (6g, 0a) and defender Agnus Hastings (4g, 1a) provide punch to the Stag attack. Freshman Gordon Botterill anchors a Fairfield defense that has steadily improved.  The Stags allowed ten of the nineteen goals that their opponents have placed in the back of the net during their first three contests.

Forward Robin Schmidt (6g, 1a) who was named the America East Striker of the Year is the go-to guy for a New Hampshire offense that includes eleven different players who have scored a goal. Graduate student goalkeeper Andrew Pesci and backs Otto Sahlen and Willis Griffith anchor a rock-solid New Hampshire defensive that has allowed a total of only eleven goals.  

Defense will likely rule in this one with the outcome decided by a one goal margin.  Lapses on the defensive side of the ball will prove costly in this contest.


N.C. State (8-5-4) at Old Dominion (12-5-2) -  N.C. State out of the Atlantic Coast Conference was awarded an at-large berth. Old Dominion topped South Carolina 2-0, Marshall 1-0, and Charlotte 1-0 to secure the CSUA Tournament Title and the conference’s automatic berth.

N.C. State under the direction of first year head coach George Kiefer returns to the NCAA Tourney field for the first time since 2009.  Manny Perez (5g, 4a) who was named the ACC Freshman of the Year has been a difference maker on the offensive side of the ball for the Wolfpack. Freshman midfielder David Loera (1g, 5a) has also been a catalyst for the Pack in the middle of the park.  Leon Krapf anchors the N.C. State defense in goal. The Wolfpack have signature wins over Louisville, Clemson, Syracuse, and UNCW and a tie with a Virginia so they are without a doubt capable of getting hot and making a run in the NCAA Tourney. However, they are also traveling in unchartered territory which can be problematic in the survive and advance environment of the NCAA Tourney.

Old Dominion returns to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 2014.  The Monarchs feature an attack that includes four players with five or more goals. Freshman midfielder Brandon Perdue (6g, 4a) and junior forward Max Wilschrey (7g, 1a) lead the ODU attack. Sophomore goalkeeper Mertcan Akar gives ODU a very capable presence in goal.

Both N.C. State mentor Kiefer and ODU head coach Alan Dawson are veteran coaches with a lot of NCAA Tournament experience.  Both teams have young players in key roles so the difference could come down to which team is better able to maintain their composure, settle in, and play to its strengths.