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NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament First Round Action Coast To Coast

The first sixteen contests are now history and the tournament field has been reduced from forty-eight to thirty-two teams. The sixteen first round winners now must travel to play one of the sixteen top seeds at campus venues across the country. The first round featured a unique fifteen round penalty kick shootout in which Ohio State prevailed over Akron. Oakland topped Kentucky, UMBC advanced past Wake Forest, and SIUE defeated Northwestern in what might be considered upsets. Intriguing second round matchups include in-state contests between North Carolina and Charlotte, UMBC and Maryland, and Coastal Carolina and Clemson that look to be very competitive. Oregon State won its first ever NCAA Tournament match and now travels to face number twelve seeded Creighton in what looks to be one of the better second round matchups. UNCW at number sixteen seeded Virginia and Saint Louis at number thirteen seeded Louisville also figure to be very competitive second round contests. It's still all about surving and advancing and you can always count on a seeded team or two getting eliminated in Sunday's contests when the field will be reduced once again from thirty-two to sixteen teams. 

Ohio State 1 – Akron 1 (OT) – Ohio State prevailed in this one to advance in penalty kicks. If there ever was an NCAA Tournament match that deserved to end in a tie it was this one that was played under frigid conditions Thursday evening in Columbus.  In a match that dramatically reflected the harsh survive and advance reality of the NCAA Tournament, Ohio State earned the right to play another day by topping Akron in a blockbuster fifteen round penalty kick shootout marathon.   Akron's Adam Najem converted a penalty kick in the first half of play to give the visiting Zips a 1-0 advantage.  Ohio State's Kyle Culbertson knotted the score at 1-1 when he scored out of a free kick in the second stanza.  Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the ensuing two overtime periods.  The contest was not decided until the 30th penalty kick attempt of the shootout when midfielder Zach Mason netted the game winner for the Buckeyes who earned the right to advance to face number one seed Notre Dame on Sunday in South Bend, Indiana.  Veteran Ohio State head coach John Bluem stated, "I've never been involved in a penalty kick situation that lasted that long.  With it being as cold as it was, we were all freezing and we all just wanted it to be over."  Bluem added, "Our guys were just remarkable." 

UNCW 2 – Bucknell – 0 – The Seahawks earned their first ever NCAA Tournament win to add  to what has already been a historical season.  A crowd of over 2,000 fans was on hand at the UNCW Soccer Stadium to witness the contest. Seahawk head coach Aidan Heaney stated, "It was really a special night for us.  The support we got from the student body and campus community was really great and we fed off that energy."  Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first half of play.  UNCW drew first blood when freshman midfielder Kalvin Kromer threaded a shot inside the far post from fifteen yards out after receiving a cross from teammate Michael Mecham.  A little over a minute later junior midfielder Daniel Escobar added the insurance goal for UNCW from the middle of the box with an assit from forward Colin Bonner.  A stout UNCW defense anchored in goal by sophomore Sean Melvin, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time since October 8, limited Bucknell to just three shots for the evening.  UNCW improves to 13-4-2 and will take to the road to face sixteen seeded Virginia on Sunday in Charlottesville.  A gutsy Bucknell team under the direction of Brendan Nash concluded the 2014 season with a 10-10-3 overall record after securing the right to participate in the NCAA Tournament with another one of their trademark coming down the homestretch runs to win the Patriot League Tournament.

Penn State 2 – Hartwick 1 – It looked like this one that took place on a chilly evening at Jeffrey Field in University Park might be headed for overtime until Penn State midfielder Brett Gravatt made a picture perfect move from right to left in the box that created the space he needed to drive a bending bullet into the top left corner of the goal from sixteen yards out with sixteen minutes remaining in regulation to net what proved to be the game-winning goal.  The game-winner was Gravatt's first score of the year and it could not have come at a better time.  Penn State got the best of the run of play in the first half but neither team was able to find the back of the net and went into intermission tied 0-0.  Hartwick took the lead a mere forty-six seconds into the second half out of a free kick when Jhevaughn Beckford controlled a ball in the box and powered it into the back of the net at close range.  Jack Miller and Kit Tregear were credited with the double assist on Beckford's goal.  Penn State's senior forward Mikey Minutillo knotted the score at 1-1 when he slipped a shot into the back of the frame a little over thirteen minutes later off an assist from midfielder Drew Klingenberg.  It was a good win for a Nittany Lion team that has had a roller coaster season to date. Penn State head coach Bob Warming stated, "(Tonight), I thought we stepped it up a little better.  We just kept going, kept going at them."  He added, "I was really excited about that because it means that your team has confidence and they feel they're going to win it."  Hartwick showed a lot of mettle as a team even when hampered due to the fact that they had to play a man down for the last twenty-five minutes of the contest when sophomore midfielder Jamie O'Grady received his second yellow card.  Hartwick head coach John Scott summed it up well when he stated, "The guys can be proud of the fact that we didn't throw the towel in.  We kept going forward and we gave Penn State a good game for ninety minutes."  Hartwick concludes a season in which the Hawks returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2005 campaign.  Penn State improves to 13-5-1 and now advances to the second round of play to face a very good Syracuse team out of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Old Dominion 3 – St. Francis Brooklyn 0 – This one was all ODU.  Sidney Rivera gave the Monarchs a 1-0 advantage in the twenty-ninth minute of play when he converted a penalty kick.  ODU stretched the lead to 2-0 two minutes into the second half when Ryan Condotta placed a header into the back of the frame out of a free kick put into play by teammate Christian Schroeer.  Rivera netted his second goal of the evening to put this one on ice in the sixty-sixth minute when he deftly placed a shot into the lower left corner of the goal after receiving a short pass from Geoffrey Hill.  A red hot Rivera has now scored a total of nine goals this season with eight of them coming in ODU's last six outings.  ODU continues to gain momentum and now advances to the nation's capitol where they will face number eight seeded Georgetown on Sunday.  The St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers out of the Northeast Conference who were previously unbeaten in their last seven games conclude a very successful season with a 11-6-4 overall record.  

Xavier 2 – Monmouth 1 (OT) – The Musketeers continued to add to a banner regular season by hosting an NCAA Tournament match for the first time in the history of the program.  They added to that milestone a gutsy 2-1 first round win in overtime against an always competitive Monmouth team.  Will Walker gave Xavier the early lead when he elected to go to the near post to find the back of the net from ten yards out within the box with a double assist from Matt Vasquenza and Alex Ridsdale in the fifteenth minute of play.  Monmouth responded  with the equalizer in the thirty-ninth minute of play when Emmanuel Senyah Agyemang placed a just inside the far post out of a corner.  Derek Luke served in the corner and Matt Jeffery utilized his left heel to redirect it to Agyemang. The score remained 1-1 at the end of regulation and the first overtime period.  Junior midfielder Alex Ridsdale scored what many would consider one of the most significant goals in the history of Xavier soccer to date when he controlled a loose ball in the box and redirected it into the goal in the 103rd minute of play to seal the win for the Musketeers who now travel to Bloomington to face number five seed Indiana in what shapes up to be one of the more interesting second round contests.  Xavier head coach Andy Fleming stated, "I was very proud of our response in the second half, where I felt like we had command of it and they really didn't threaten us too much." Monmouth concludes the 2014 season with a 11-4-6 overall record. Monmouth head coach Robert McCourt stated, "These young men gave everything they had tonight and just came up short.  They are disappointed now, but when they look back, they will realize what a fantastic season we had."

Oregon State 1- Denver 0 – The Beavers secured their first ever win in the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 victory over Denver.  Oregon State out of the Pac-12 now advances to Omaha where they will face number twelve seed Creighton out of the Big East Conference at Morrison Stadium.  Freshman forward Jordan Jones scored what proved to be the difference maker in the match for the Beavers in the 17th minute of play when he drove a shot into the lower left-hand corner of the goal.  The goal was set up by passes from freshman midfielder Graham Smith and senior forward Khiry Shelton who was named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year.  Oregon State coach Steve Simmons stated, "In tournament play you have to survive and advance and that's what we did tonight."  He added, "I'll give a lot of credit to Denver, I thought they were good tonight, I really did."  Denver out of the Summit League which earned  back-to-back invites to the NCAA Tourney for the first time in the history of the program concludes the 2014 season with a 11-8-1 overall record.  It was a disappointing loss for the Pioneers but the future looks bright for the program. Denver head coach Bobby Muuss stated, "This senior class helped take this program to the next level."  He added, "The guys on the field tonight were really impressive.  We had some freshmen step up, and play really well tonight too."

Saint Louis 2 – Tulsa 0 – This one was scoreless at the end of the first half.  Kingsley Bryce netted the first goal for Saint Louis in the 64th minute of the second half when he tapped a shot into the net from three yards out after receiving a pass from Robert Kristo.  Kristo added the insurance goal for the Billikens in the 88th minute of play from twenty yards out with Bryce providing the assist.  The goal was Kristo's 14th of the season.  Sascha Otte had three saves in goal for the Billikens.  Jake McGuire had four saves in goal for Tulsa.  Saint Louis improves to 14-4-2 and advances to tangle with number thirteen seeded Louisville.  Tulsa ends the 2014 campaign with a 11-6-3 overall record. Tulsa head coach Tom McIntosh stated, "I am proud of our seniors and what they've done.  They have showed courage, led the group and got the team together.  We could not have asked for a better group of senior leadership of how to do things the right way."

UMBC 0 – Wake Forest 0 (OT) – This one which was played in Winston-Salem was scoreless after 110 minutes of play. The Retrievers from UMBC prevailed 3-2 in penalty kicks and now advance to face number four seeded Maryland on Sunday.  Michael Scott converted the game winning penalty kick for UMBC.  Billy Heavner had two saves in goal for UMBC.  Alec Ferrell had three saves in goal for UMBC. This is the fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament match that has gone to penalty kicks for UMBC.  UMBC had an 11-8 advantage in shots for the evening.  The Retrievers tied Maryland 0-0 when the two teams faced each other back on September 5 at Ludwig Field.  The rematch should be a dandy with a good and lively crowd on hand in this in-state contest.  Wake Forest concludes the 2014 season with a 10-7-2 overall record.

Oakland 2 – Kentucky 0 – The Golden Grizzlies upset Kentucky in Lexington to earn the right to advance to face number three seeded Michigan State on Sunday in East Lansing.   All the scoring in this one came in the second half with Cody Archibald converting a header out of a corner kick put in play by John Deleon in the 55th minute of play and Gavin Hoy taking advantage of a turnover to place a shot into the upper-far post in the 61st minute of the game to net the insurance goal for a very determined Oakland team.  Wes Mink recorded his seventh shutout of the 2014 campaign to date with a two save evening.  Oakland head coach Eric Pogue stated, "I'm just really proud of the guys as I thought this was a great game."  He added, "Kentucky is a great team and we knew we had to come with our best effort tonight." The Oakland win sets up a rematch with a Michigan State team that the Golden Grizzlies topped 2-0 when the two teams squared off in Rochester at the OU Soccer Field on October 22, 2014.

Furman 1 – UAB 1 (OT) – Furman advances 4-3 in a penalty kick shootout after the match was knotted at 1-1 at the end of regulation and extra time.  Furman now travels cross country to face number fourteen seeded Washington in Seattle on Sunday.  Junior netminder Sven Lissek made two saves in the shootout to put the Paladins in position to prevail.  Clint Ritter, Lewis Hawke, Tony Santibanez and Kevin Pahl converted penalty kicks in the shootout for Furman.  UAB ends the 2014 season with a 11-7-2 overall record.

Dartmouth 2 – Fordham 1 – All the scoring in this one came in the second stanza.  Dartmouth's Robin Alnas got the scoring started when he scored from ten yards out in the 61st minute of play with Alex Adelabu and Matt Danilack combining to set up the goal.  Fordham's Christopher Bazzini netted the equalizer on a header out of a free kick in the 79th minute of the match.  Adelabu placed an exclamation mark on the contest for the Big Green when he blasted a shot into the right corner of the goal with 4:18 remaining in regulation to give Dartmouth the edge they needed to prevail.  Danilack and Colin Heffron assisted on Adelabu's game-winning tenth goal of the season.  The Big Green now advance to face number eleven seeded Providence on Sunday.  Dartmouth head coach Chad Riley stated, "Obviously we are thrilled to be able to play together and compete together for another day." The Big Green out of the Ivy League improve to 12-4-2 overall.  Fordham concludes the 2014 season with a 8-9-4 record.  The Rams returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1996 season after upsetting VCU, Saint Louis and Rhode Island in the A-10 Tournament.

UC Irvine 3 – UNLV 0 – Cameron Iwasa got things rolling for the Anteaters when he scored in just the seventh minute of play with an assist from Mats Bjurman.  Iwasa made it 2-0 when he scored in the 36th minute after receiving a pass from Bjurman.  Dennis Martinez's header from six yards out of a corner kick put in play by Gor Kirakosyan in the 76th minute of play concluded the scoring for the evening.  Michael Breslin recorded his ninth shutout of the 2014 campaign in goal for UC Irvine with a four save evening between the pipes.  The Anteaters out of the Big West Conference improve to 15-5-3 overall and move forward to tangle with number six seed Stanford out of the Pac-12 on Sunday.  UNLV concludes a breakout season with a 14-5-3 overall record.  It was UNLV's first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 1988 campaign.

Coastal Carolina 1 – Florida Gulf Coast University 0 – This one looked destined to go into overtime until Coastal Carolina's Martin Melchor decided otherwise when he drove a diving header into the back of the frame in the 86th minute of play after receiving a well played and timed cross from freshman Elis Bjornsson.  Coastal Carolina finished the match with an 18-10 advantage in shots.  The Chanticleers advance to face in-state foe and seventh seeded Clemson at Historic Riggs Field on Sunday in what looks to be a classic college soccer matchup.  Clemson topped Coastal Carolina 2-1 when the two played on October 14 at Riggs Field.  Florida Gulf Coast out of the Atlantic Sun Conference ends the 2014 season with an 8-7-5 overall record.

North Carolina 6 – James Madison 0 – It was a good day to be a Tar Heel with the Heels rolling past James Madison 6-0 on the pitch at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill and UNC taking it to rival Duke 45-20 on the gridiron in a Thursday evening contest in Durham.  Andy Craven scored three times for UNC.  Rob Lovejoy, Alan Winn, and Glen Long contributed the other three goals.  North Carolina had a demanding 24-2 advantage in shots for the contest.  The Tar Heels advance but must travel to face tenth seeded Charlotte on Sunday at Transamerica Field in what shapes up to be one of the better second round contests.  James Madison concludes the 2014 season with a 10-8-4 overall record. It was the last contest of the Tom Martin era who concludes a very solid twenty-nine year tenure as the head coach at James Madison with a 359-164-58 record.

SIUE 1 – Northwestern 0 – Junior midfielder Paul Scheipeter controlled a rebound from teammate Jason Hackett's shot and decisively redirected it into the back of the net in the 81st minute of play to give the Cougars the edge they needed to top Northwestern 1-0.  Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo, who was called on to step in for injured senior Kent Kobernus, had eight saves in goal for SIUE in his first career start.  The Cougars now advance to face number fifteen seed California on Sunday.  Northwestern ends the 2014 season with a 9-4-6 overall record.

San Diego 2 – Cal State Fullerton 1 (OT) – Cal State Fullerton got on the board in the thirteenth minute of the match when senior midfielder Ian Ramos drove a header into the back of the net after receiving a cross from Gabriel Quintero.  The contest remained 1-0 at halftime.  The game took a turn against Cal State Fullerton when they were booked for a handball in the box in the 89th minute of play.  Keegan Smith converted the pk for San Deigo to knot the score at 1-1.  The game went into extra time but neither team scored in the first overtime period.  The game was decided in the second overtime period when the Cal State Fullerton defense was whistled for a tackle in their own box.  San Diego's Dave Musambi calmly converted the ensuing penalty kick to give San Diego the win.  San Diego survives and advances to face number two seeded UCLA on Sunday.  Cal State Fullerton ends the 2014 with a productive 10-8-6 overall record.







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