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Men’s College Soccer. Eight Teams Left Standing In The NCAA Tournament. A Look At What Took Place During The Sweet Sixteen.

There Were A FEw SurPrises With Two Of The Top Four Seeds Not Advancing.

Marshall 1- Clemson 1 – Marshall prevails 7-6 in penalty kicks – No prisoners were taken in this physical contest that featured 38 total penalties.

Sophomore midfielder Max Schneider sent a bending ball into the upper left corner of the goal out of a free kick from 30 yards out in the 15th minute of the match to give Marshall an early 1-0 advantage. Midfielder Callum Johnson collected and sent a loose ball into the back of the frame from inside the box out of a corner kick in the 32nd minute of play for Clemson to knot the score at 1-1. The score remained tied at halftime.

Both teams attacked during the second half but Marshall anchored in goal by Oliver Semmie was able to keep in check a potent Tiger attack that had a huge 14 to 1 advantage in corner kicks for the evening. The contest remained tied 1-1 at the end of 110 minutes of play.

Marshall missed its first attempt in the penalty kick shootout but converted the rest and Semmie was able to stop two Clemson attempts to give Marshall the edge they needed to survive and advance past the number one seeded Tigers 7-6 in the shootout. 

The Herd is now 10-2-3 overall and advances to the Elite Eight where they will face defending national champion Georgetown in Marshall’s first ever appearance in the Elite Eight.

This contest clearly could have gone either way but in the end Marshall did what they needed to do on both sides of the ball to prevail. It was a tough way to end the season for an excellent Clemson team that concludes another stellar season earlier than expected with a 14-3-3 overall record.  

Georgetown 3 – Penn State 2 – The Hoyas jumped out to an early 1-0 advantage when sophomore Dante Polvara converted a penalty kick in the 9th minute. Penn State followed suit with freshman midfielder Peter Mangione converting a pk of his own in the 13th minute to tie the contest at 1-1.

Georgetown pressed the attack and it paid off with junior midfielder Zach Riviera finding the back of the net after a nice combination of passes from midfielders Sean Zawadzki and Kyle Linhares that enabled the Hoyas to regain a 2-1 advantage. Georgetown continued to attack and stretched their lead to 3-1 when Hoyas Martin Ngoh flicked a header into the net in the final minute of the first stanza.

Junior forward Danny Bloyou did what he has been doing well for Penn State all year scoring in the 59th minute to close the gap to 3-2 but that concluded the scoring for the evening.

Georgetown had a 14 to six advantage in shots for the evening. The Hoyas were able to settle into a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball early own and control the pace of the match. Penn State had the difficult task of having to chase the contest in the second half and were never able to close the gap.

The Hoyas improve to 10-1-2 and keep the dream of a repeat alive as they advance to tangle with a very balanced and battle tested Marshall team in the Elite Eight. Penn State out of the Big Ten under head coach Jeff Cook completes another very productive season with a 9-2-2 overall record.  

Wake Forest 2 – Kentucky 1 – Kyle Holcomb scored from inside the box in the 20th and 62nd minutes of the match for Wake Forest with freshman defender Hosei Kijima contributing the helper on both goals.

A bend but don’t break Demon Deacon defense anchored by redshirt freshman goalkeeper Cole McNally and defenders junior Hollard Rula, sophomore Nico Benalcazar and freshmen Garrison Tubbs, Prince Amponsah and Kijima held Kentucky to a single goal despite the fact that the Wildcats had an 18 to 8 advantage in shots. Junior forward Brock Lindow scored Kentucky’s lone goal in the 66th minute of play.

The Deacons did a good job of finding the right balance between applying pressure on the offensive side of the ball while remaining composed and organized on the defense side. It was a gutsy win for a Wake Forest team that now advances to the Elite Eight where they will face familiar foe and fellow ACC member North Carolina on Monday. 

Wake Forest improves to 13-2-2 while Kentucky closes out the 2020-2021 season with a 12-5-2 record.

North Carolina 1 – Stanford 0 – Defense ruled in this closely contested Seet Sixteen matchup between two vintage college soccer programs.

The Tar Heels did what they needed to do to secure the win with a solid evening of play on the defensive side of the ball that kept a potentially explosive Stanford attack powered by forwards Zach Ryan and Gabe Segal and midfielder Will Richmond among others from getting into gear.

Graduate Student defender Joe Pickering gave UNC the edge they needed to secure the win when he converted a header out of a corner kick put in play by midfielder Milo Garvania in the 14th minute of the match. Junior goalkeeper Alec Smir and backs Riley Thomas, Mark Salas and Pickering along with a solid effort from the likes of midfielder Fillipo Zattarin and Garvanian limited Stanford to only four shots with none on goal. 

North Carolina improves to 9-4-3 and advances to face Wake Forest on Monday in the Elite Eight.

The effort was there for number four-seeded Stanford out of the Pac-12 who pushed to secure the equalizer but they were unable to break the code on an always tough UNC defense.

The Cardinal under Jeremy Gunn conclude another very successful season with a 10-3-1 overall record.  

Indiana 2 – Marquette 1 – Redshirt sophomore AJ Franklin sent a left-footed blast into the back of the frame from outside the box in the last minute of the first half to give Marquette a 1-0 advantage heading into halftime.

It looked like this one might be headed for an upset until IU forward Herbert Endeley scored from inside the box after receiving a pass from forward Victor Bezerra to knot the score at 1-1 and give Indiana new life and the momentum. The goal was Endeley’s third of the year to date.

Sophomore forward Mauloloune Goumballe then alertly produced what proved to be the game-winner when he scored in the 80th minute of play from inside the box to give the Hoosier a 2-1 advantage.

An opportunistic and confident Indiana team survives a scare and improves to 11-1-1. The Hoosiers earn the right once again to advance to the Elite Eight where they will face a surging Seton Hall team out of the Big East Conference.

Marquette concludes a very productive season with an 8-3-2 record that bodes well for the future of the program. The Golden Eagles won the Big East Midwest Division and secured the programs fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Seton Hall 2 – Virginia Tech 2 – Seton Hall advances 7-6 in penalty kicks – This back-and-forth contest could have gone either way. It featured several momentum changes and ultimately had to be decided by a penalty kick shootout.

Senior goalkeeper Andreas Nota came up big for the Pirates in the shootout making two big stops and netting what proved to be the winning pk for the Pirates.

Virginia Tech jumped out to a 1-0 lead with sophomore midfielder Nick Blacklock producing the opening goal in the 14th minute of the contest from outside the box with an assist from senior forward Jacob Labovitz. It looked like the Hokies would go into intermission with the momentum of a one goal advantage but junior defender Maurice Williams netted the equalizer for Seton Hall with a header out of a free kick put in play by James Boote with just 26 ticks remaining in the first half. The goal was Williams third of the year and energized Seton Hall heading into halftime.

Virginia Tech responded with Blacklock contributing his second goal of the evening in 57th minute with Labovitz again providing the helper. It appeared that the Hokies might hold on to secure the win until Andrea Borg controlled a loose ball in the box and deposited it into the back of the frame for the Pirates in the 80th minute of the match to knot the score at 2-2. The score remained deadlocked at 2-2 at the conclusion of regulation and extra time which led to Nota’s heroics during the ensuing shootout and gave Seton Hall the edge they needed to keep a historic season alive. The Pirates punch their ticket to the Elite Eight with a match with number three seeded Indiana up next on their dance card.

Seton Hall improves to 10-1-4 while a very good and determined Virginia Tech team ends the 2020-2021 season with a 7-6-4 overall record.

Washington 2 Missouri State 0 – This one was all defense in the first half of play with neither team able to put together the combination of events needed to break through on the offensive side of the ball.

The contest opened up in the second half with midfielder Lucas Meek contributing the ice breaker. Meek got the Huskies on the board when he skyed above everyone else and headed a cross from freshman Kalani Kossa-Rienzi into the back of the net from the middle of the box in the 65th minute. Nick Scardina added the insurance goal for the Huskies when he sent the rebound of Gabe Threadgold’s shot into the net in the 79th minute of the match to make it 2-0 Washington. The goal was Scardina’s third in the last four games.

A rock-solid Washington defense anchored in goal by sophomore Sam Fowler and backs Ryan Sailor, Charlie Ostrem and Kendall Burks did a good job of containing a good Missouri State attack. Fowler had six saves in goal for Washington to record the shutout while Michael Creek had two for Missouri State.

Washington improves to 12-2-0 and advances to face number two seed Pittsburgh while Missouri State out of the MVC ends back-to-back banner seasons with a 12-2-0 record.

Pittsburgh 4 – UCF 0 – The margin of victory for Pitt in this one was unexpected. The Panthers pressed from the get-go and broke through just 22 ticks into the match when Velijko Petkovic took advantage of a loose ball at the edge of the box to create the space he needed with a couple touches on the ball to place a shot into the net and give Pitt a very early 1-0 advantage from which a shellshocked UCF side never seemed to fully recover.

Senior forward Alexander Dexter made it 2-0 Pitt when he drove a shot into the net after receiving a nice cross from freshman forward Bertin Jacquessen. Petkovic followed that with his second goal of the evening when he took advantage of another UCF defensive miscue to up Pitt’s lead to 3-0 in just the 23rd minute of the contest.

It was a rocky and uncharacteristic start for UCF on the defensive side of the ball that an opportunistic Panther attack was able to exploit.

Sophomore midfielder Valentin Noel added the fourth and final goal for Pitt in the second half. Graduate Student Nico Campuzano recorded the shutout in goal for Pitt with a ten save evening.

It was not the type of ending that UCF under head coach Scott Calabrese had envisioned but nonetheless it was a very good year for a Golden Knight team that rebounded from a slow start to win both the AAC regular season and tournament titles to finish with a 9-4-1 overall record.

Pittsburgh under head coach Jay Vidovich improves to 15-3-0 and advances to face Washington in what shapes up to be a very exciting and intriguing Elite Eight matchup.

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