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2017 College Cup - The Final Four - Tale Of The Tape - A Comparison Of The Participants

The Final Four Stanford Akron Indiana North Carolina
The Participants:
Overall Record: 17-2-2 18-3-2 17-0-6 17-3-1
Conference: Pac-12 Mid-American Big Ten Atlantic Coast 
Conference Record: 9-0-1 4-1-0 5-0-3 6-1-1
Regular Season Finish In Conference Play: First Second Second First (Coastal Division)
Record Away From Home 7-1-0 5-3-2 2-0-3 4-1-1

Coach:

Years At The Helm:

Jeremy Gunn

6th Season

Jared Embick

5th Season

Todd Yeagley

8th Season

Carlos Somoano

7th Season

NCAA Seed: Nine Five Two Three
CSN Poll Regular Season Ending Rank:  3 5 2 4
Average Shots Per Game: 17.10 14.5 17.7 13.4
Total Goals Scored: 45 50 48 53
Average Goals Scored Per Game: 2.14 2.17 2.09 2.52
Total Goals Allowed:  9 12 6 18
Average Goals Allowed Per Game: .43 0.52 0.26 0.86
Most Goals Scored In A Single Game: 5 5 5 6
Most Goals Allowed In A Single Game: 2 2 1 2
Corner Kicks (Total) 119 160 173 135
Total Number Shutouts: 12 12 17 7
Unbeaten Streak:  13 13 23 3
Last Loss: Saint Louis (0-2) Western Michigan (0-1) N/A Notre Dame (1-2)
Power Rating (RPI): 11 7 4 2
Strenghth

Athleticism

Experience

Explosiveness

Pressure

Uniified Team Effort

Enthusiasm 

Multi-Dimensional Offense

Opportunistic

How They Beat You: Set Pieces/Creativity Persistance/Momentum Stout Defense/Balance Run of Play/Energy
Top Scorer:

Foster Langsdorf

(13g, 6a)

Stuart Holthusen 

(12g, 3a)

Mason Toye 

(10g, 2a)

Alan Winn

(11g, 2a)

Number Players With Four Or Goals:  6 5 5 6
Key Distributor:

Drew Skundrich 

(5g, 5a)

Manuel Cordeiro 

(2g, 5a)

Trevor Swartz 

(4g, 7a)

Cam Lindley 

(7g, 13a)

Key Defender: Tomas Hillard-Arce Nate Shultz  Grant Lillard  Alex Comsia
Goalkeeper:

Nico Corti

(0.43 GAA) 

Ben Lundt

(0.51 GAA)

Trey Muse

(0.24)

James Pyle

(1.00 GAA)

Don't Underestimate: Jared Gilbey (0g, 6a) Pau Belana (0g, 3a) Francesco Moore (3g, 2a) Mauricio Pineda  (3g, 1a)
Freshman To Watch: Defender Logan Panchot  Center Back - Joao Moutinho  Midfielder - Griffin Dorsey  Defender John Nelson
Where They Have The Edge:  Up-Top Up-Top Backline Midfield
Wild Card (X-Factor)  Sam Werner (3g, 5a) Nick Hinds (6g, 4a) Andrew Gutman (6g, 4a) Jelani Pieters (9g, 7a)
A Key Element: Corey Baird (6g, 6a) Sam Gainford (10g, 5a)  Cory Thomas (7g, 3a) Zach Wright (4g, 11a)
Last Trip To College Cup: 2016 2015 2012 2016
The Road Traveled:

Pacific  0-0 (home)

Coastal Carolina 2-0 (home)

Wake Forest 2-0 (road) 

Seattle 3-0 (home)

Wisconsin 3-2 (home)

Louisville 0-0 (road)

 

Old Dominion 3-0 (home)

New Hampshire 2-1 (home)

Michigan State 1-1 (home)

UNCW 2-1 (home)

SMU 2-0 (home)

Fordham 2-1 (home) 

Semi-Final Opponent: Akron Stanford North Carolina Indiana

Game #1 - Stanford vs. Akron - Friday 6:00 p.m.

Game #2 - North Carolina vs. Indiana - Firiday 8:45 p.m. 

North Carolina and Stanford Advance to the 2017 College Cup

Only four teams remain standing as #3 seed North Carolina and number #9 seed Stanford prevail on Saturday night to complete the College Cup (Final Four) field joining #2 seed Indiana and #5 seed Akron. The Tar Heels prevail despite another gutsy effort by a very talented Fordham team. Stanford travels cross country and comes out on top over the #1 seeded Demon Deacons to keep their chances of an improbable third consecutive natiaonl championship alive. The Atalntic Coast Conference, the Big Ten Conference, the Pac-12 Conference, and the Mid-American Conference will be represented in the College Cup.   



North Carolina 2 - Fordham 1 - This Elite Eight contest took place at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina where the Tar Heels have been playing their home games this year due to the renovations taking place at Fetzer Field. 

Fordham held their own and once again it seemed like their magical ride might continue when senior midfielder Jannik Loebe's shot out of a free kick from twenty-three yards out deflected off a Tar Heel defender and into the back of the net to tie the contest at 1-1 in the sixty-third minute of play. 

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first half of play but as has been their pattern at times this year, North Carolina seemed to pick up the pace and jelled into the rhythm of their attack in the second half.  The Tar Heels jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the sixty-first minute when sophomore midfielder Jack Skahan sent a ball into the box that senior forward Zach Wright was able to control and one-time into the left side of the frame from ten yards out. 

That set the stage for Fordham's Jannik Loebe to knot the score out of a free kick that was awarded when his brother junior forward Janos was fouled to give the Rams new life. 

The Tar Heels then netted what proved to be the game-winner in the eightieth minute of the match when sophomore midfielder Cam Lindley pushed the ball out wide to Wright who made a nice move down the side to create a little space before sending a cross to senior forward Alan Winn in the box who headed it into the back of the net to give North Carolina a 2-1 advantage.  The goal was Winn's eleventh of the year and his fourth game-winner.

North Carolina had a fourteen to seven advantage in shots for the evening with nine of their fourteen shots coming in the second stanza.  Rashid Nuhu had three saves in goal for the Rams while James Pyle had one between the pipes for the Tar Heels.

Fordham under the direction of head coach Jim McElderry has had successful seasons in the past winning the Atlantic 10 Championship in 2014 and 2016 and earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament both years. 

However the 2017 campaign during which the Rams were 14-6-3 will be remembered as a banner and barrier breaking season for the program during which Fordham claimed their first ever win in NCAA Tournament play. The unseeded Rams advanced to the Elite Eight by topping St. Francis Brooklyn in the first round 3-2, Virginia 1-0 in the second round, and Duke in the Sweet Sixteen in a match decided by a penalty kick shootout.   

Fordham head coach Jim McElderry stated, "The initial feeling is dissapointment that we're not going to play another game.  Following such a tight game, 1-1 in the second half, we had just as good a chance to win the games as they did and we're disappointed."  McElderry added, "Once we have time to step back, we can appreciate everything our seniors have done and the entire 2017 group in order to advance in this tournament."

#3 seeded North Carolina under the direction of head coach Carlos Somoano  improves to 17-3-1 and marches into the College Cup where they will square off with #2 seed Indiana.  It will be UNC's sixth College Cup appearance in the past ten years and their second in a row.



Stanford 2 - Wake Forest 0 - This one took place at Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem before an energetic  crowd of 4,628 fans. 

It just felt like this was going to be the night that #1 seeded  Wake Forest got the Stanford monkey off their back but that was not to be the case as the #9 seeded Cardinal put together what may have been their best performance of the year to date to prevail over the Demon Deacons for the third season in a row.

Stanford opened the scoring in the thirty-seventh minute of play and sent a message to the Deacons and the partisan crowed on hand that they meant business and intended to take advantage of their physicality when senior center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce decisively drove a header into the back of the net after receiving a cross out of a corner kick served in by sophomore midfielder Jared Gilbey.  

That concluded the scoring during for the first half of play and the teams went into intermission with Stanford up 1-0 and the contest still clearly up for grabs. 

Stanford pressed the attack and was able to take a 2-0 lead with a combination of passes that changed the point of attack and led to redshirt midfielder Sam Werner sending the rebound of his own shot into the back of the net in the fifty-third minute of play.  The goal was set up by a pass from senior midfielder Bryce Marion to senior forward Foster Langsdorf  who redirected the ball to Werner who finished it for the score.

The difference between winning and losing is often very slight and can hinge as this one did on which team is able to take advantage of their strengths.  Stanford did a good job of doing just that. 

Wake Forest had a fourteen to twelve advantage in shots and had six corners compared to three for Stanford  but despite their efforts the Demon Deacons were never able to get the breakthrough goal that might have put Stanford on their heels defensively and taken them out of their game plan. 

The Cardinal on the other hand was able to get into a rhythm on both sides of the ball and take advantage of the chances to score that came their way while remaining organized on the defensive side of the ball.  As a result Stanford was able to contain a very potent Wake Forest attack and forced the Demon Deacons to in effect chase the game most of the evening.

Nico Corti had five saves in goal for Stanford while Andreu Cases Mundet had three between the pipes for Wake Forest.  

Wake Forest concludes another very successful season under the direction of Bobby Muuss with a 19-2-2 record.  Muuss stated, "Only one team ends the season with a win and unfortunately it's not going to be Wake Forest this year."  He added, "I told the guys we can look at this game as many times as we want.  At the same time, this game does not define this team.  This is a special group of young men"  

Demon Deacon seniors  Jon Bakero, Luis Argudo, Steven Echevarria, Kevin Politz and Rafael Fagundo conclude an outstanding tenure in Winston-Salem during which they advanced to the Elite Eight in 2015 and 2017 and to the national championship match in 2016.   

Stanford out of the Pac-12 Conference  improves to 17-2-2 and advances to the College Cup where they will face #5 seeded Akron. 

Cardinal head coach Jeremy Gunn who is in his sixth season at the helm of the program, pretty much summed up the evening when he stated, "It boiled down to the fact that we created so many good chances and had a complete game."  He added, "Defensively we were rock solid at the back, kept the ball different spells and defended well when they had good possession."  



Indiana and Akron Punch Their Tickets To The College Cup on Friday

Both contests could have gone either way but when it was all said and done Indiana and Akron prevailed in penalty kick shootouts to earn the right to advance to the 2017 College Cup.  One half of the College Cup field is set with the other two participants to be determined Saturday.  



Indiana 1 - Michigan State 1 - Indiana advances 3-2 in a penalty kick shootout.  - It came down to a penalty kick shootout before a crowd of 5,450 fans after Indiana and Michigan State were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and two overtime periods. 

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat is never more apparent than when a berth to the College Cup is on the line.  Shootouts are exciting but they always seem like a harsh way to decide who earns the right to advance to the College Cup.  However the bottom line is that at a certain point there has to be a way to make the determination. 

For the first time all year,  Indiana trailed in a contest when Michigan State forward Ryan Sierakowski placed a header into the back of the net in just the second minute of play to give the Spartans a 1-0 advantage.  The goal came out of a nice combination of passes that began with a throw in by senior midfielder Ken Krolicki to forward DeJuan Jones who created a little space off the dribble and then sent a pass back to Krolicki who sent it into Sierakowski.   

The contest remained 1-0 at halftime.  The question about how Indiana would react to playing with a deficit was resolved in the affirmative when the Hoosiers aggressively picked up the pace of their attack while still remaining organized on the defensive side of the ball.  The breakthrough for Indiana occurred in the sixtieth minute of play when redshirt junior midfielder Trevor Swartz  scored out of a corner kick to knot the score at 1-1.

Both teams attacked during the overtime periods but neither was able to find the back of the net.

Francesco Moore, Rece Buckmaster, and Autin Panchot converted their penalty kicks for Indiana and freshman netminder Trey Muse came up big for the Hoosiers with two stops to give Indiana the edge they needed to survive and advance to the College Cup for the nineteenth time and the first under head coach Todd Yeagley. 

The Hoosiers had a twenty-three to fifteen advantage in shots for the evening.  Michigan State goalkeeper Jimmy Hague was outstanding between the pipes for the Spartans with eight saves.  Trey Muse had five saves in goal for Indiana along with a huge performance in the shootout.   

Michigan State head coach Damon Rensing stated, "I wish them all the best in the College Cup.  I'm pushing for our Big Ten brothers to win the national title."

Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley stated, "We never want to get to PKs." We train hard for it.  You don't want to see the game won there.  It's a tough way to go out.  It's not the way you want to finish the game."  He then added, "I know how much this means to so many people.  To get this opportunity, it's a great feeling of accomplishment."  Yeagley pretty much summed things up when he stated, "There's nothing like IU soccer."

Michigan State concludes a very successful season with a 13-3-4 record.  #2 seed Indiana now stands at 17-0-6 and advances to the College Cup where they will face the winner of the Fordham vs. #3 seed North Carolina contest which takes place Saturday evening.



Akron 0 - Louisville 0 - Akron advances 4 to 3 in a penalty kick shootout. -  This intense Elite Eight matchup took place before a crowd of 3,179 fans at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium in Louisville. 

Defense ruled as it often does in an NCAA Tournament contest when the stakes are so high and a mistake on the defensive side of the ball can prove so costly.  Both teams attacked but neither team was able to find a way to solve the puzzle on the offensive side of the ball and find a weakness in their opponent that they could exploit.  

As anticipated, this one had a certain ebb and flow to it with #4 seed Louisville having a seven to two advantage in shots during the first stanza and #5 seed Akron having a seven to two advantage in the second half of play.  Akron got the best of the attack in the two overtime periods as reflected in the fact that they had a six to two advantage in shots during that time frame.

Having said that, the only statistic that really mattered was the one on the scoreboard which didn't change during 110 minutes of play and thus it came down to a pressure packed penalty kick shootout. 

Louisville jumped out to a 2-1 advantage in the shootout but Akron remained focused and prevailed in the end with Stuart Holthusen, Sam Gainford, Joao Moutinho and Niko De Vera converting their penalty kick attempts while Akron's 6'6" junior goalkeeper Ben Lundt came up with two key saves to provide the Zips with the edge they needed to prevail and advance to the College Cup for the fifth time in program history and the second time under the guidance of head coach Jared Embick.

Redshirt freshman Will Meyer was solid in goal for Louisville with three saves in goal and two stops during the shootout.  Lundt had two saves between the pipes for Akron along with the two stops during the shootout.

Louisville under the direction of Ken Lolla concludes another very productive season with a 13-2-5 record.  The success the program has enjoyed under Lolla is reflected in the fact that this is the fifth time in the last eight years that the Cardinals have reached the Elite Eight. 

Lolla stated, "It's a tough way to bow out of the NCAA Tournament, without having lost.  It's a tough way to decide it but it is the way it is."  He added, "I'm sad for our guys, especially the seniors."  Lolla summed things up well when he stated, "When you put so much into the season and it ends so suddenly, it's difficult and it's a lot to process.  Only time will allow us to deal with it."

#5 seed Akron is now 18-3-1 and advances to face the winner of the #9 seed Stanford vs. #1 seed Wake Forest contest which will take place Saturday evening in Winston-Salem.