The thril of victory and the agony of defeat. The first round of play had it all. Close contests, penalty kick shootouts, inclement weather, and as always a few surprises. Sixteen teams survived and advanced and now travel to take on the top sixteen seeds on Sunday in the second round of play.
Colgate 1 – New Hampshire 0 – Colgate became the first team this year to beat New Hampshire at Wildcat Stadium. Senior forward Steven Deleo scored the lone goal of the contest in the sixty-second minute of play. Oliver Harris started the sequence when he sent a long pass to Kentaro Morrison who then crossed it into the box to Chris Depeto. Depeto then redirected the cross to DeLeo who scored at close range.
Jacob Harris recorded five saves in goal including a crucial likely game-winning stop of a penalty kick with ten minutes remaining in regulation. New Hampshire placed the Colgate defense under pressure as reflected in a thirteen to five New Hampshire advantage in shots and a seven to two advantage in corners but the Raider defense proved to be up to the challenge.
Colgate improves to 13-4-5 and advances to the second round of the NCAA Tourney where they will face number one seed Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on Sunday. New Hampshire out of the America East Conference completes a very successful season with a 12-4-2 overall record.
Akron 3 – Rider 1 – Akron is playing their best soccer of the year. The contest was tied at intermission but Akron picked up the pace and took control in the second stanza with a three goal effort that gave them the win over a very determined Rider team that had not allowed a goal in their last five contests.
Sophomore forward David Egbo again proved to be a difference maker for the Zips. Egbo jump started the Zip attack when he intercepted a pass and sent a shot into the back of the frame from the top of the box to give Akron a 1-0 advantage in the fifty-first minute of the match.
Rider responded in the seventy-eighth minute of play when Pablo DeCastro drove a header into the goal after receiving a cross from Emmanuel Kouma to knot the score at 1-1. The goal was DeCastro's ninth of the season.
Egbo then gave Akron a 2-1 lead when he converted a header out of a corner kick served in by Morgan Hackworth. Marcel Zajac added the insurance goal when he converted a penalty kick in the eight-eighth minute of play.
Akron wins their fourth straight contest to improve to 11-6-2. The Zips travel to face number sixteen seed Syracuse on Sunday. Rider out of the MAAC finishes a very productive season with a 10-10-1 overall record. Rider head coach Charlie Inverso stated, "While we are disappointed, I think we can walk out of here with our heads held high."
UC Irvine 1 – Grand Canyon 1 – UC Irvine advances six to five in a penalty kick shootout. Senior midfielder Jellah Jackson blasted a shot into the net from the top of the box in the forty-eighth minute of play with a double assist from forward Bert Wilton and midfielder Marios Andreou to give Grand Canyon a 1-0 lead.
UC Irvine tied it at 1-1 and got new life in the seventieth minute of the contest when an attempted Grand Canyon clear out of a corner kick deflected off a Grand Canyon defender into the net. The contest remained tied at the end of regulation and extra time.
UC Irvine fifth-year senior goalkeeper Greg Patenaude made two stops in the penalty kick shootout to give the Anteaters the edge they needed to survive and advance to the second round. UC Irvine advances to face number nine seed Stanford.
Grand Canyon concludes a truly banner season with a 12-8-1 overall record. Grand Canyon head coach Schellas Hyndman stated, "Today was a day where, as a coach and anybody who saw the GCU team play, you got to be proud of our boys because they gave everything they possibly could."
Oregon State 2 – SMU 1 – The temperature was cold but Oregon State was hot. The Beavers continue to roll as they advance to the second round of the NCAA Tourney for just the second time in the history of the program. A multi-dimensional Beaver attack led by senior forward Don Tchilao (7g, 9a), freshman forward Gloire Amanda (8g, 2a), midfielder Sofiane Djeffal (5g, 7a), the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and junior defender Eric Diaz (3g, 3a) continues to create problems for opposing defenses.
Djeffal gave Oregon State the early lead when he sent a header into the back of the frame with a double assist from Tchilao and Amanda in the twenty-eighth minute of the match.
SMU evened the contest at 1-1 when sophomore Nicky Hernandez scored in the sixty-eighth minute with Eddie Munjoma adding the helper. Diaz then added what proved to be the game-winning goal for Oregon State when he scored less than a minute later with Tchilao contributing his second assist of the day.
Freshman Adrian Fernandez had three saves in goal for the Beavers. Junior Grant Makela had two saves in goal for SMU.
SMU out of the American Athletic Conference concluded the season with a 10-5-3 overall record. Oregon State improves to 11-5-3 and advances to face number eight seed St. Mary's on Sunday.
James Madison 3 – High Point 0 – This one was pretty much all JMU from the get-go.
Senior forward Aaron Ward-Baptiste (6g, 5a) scored what proved to be the game-winning goal for the Dukes from six yards out after receiving a cross from midfielder Yannick Franz in the nineteenth minute of play. Junior midfielder Manuel Ferriol (8g, 5a) continues to be a force on the offensive side of the ball for the Dukes scoring out of a free kick put in play by Ward-Baptiste in the thirty-first minute and again in the seventieth minute with an assist from Niclas Mohr.
James Madison improves to 13-4-3 and advances to the second round for the first time since 2011. The Dukes travel to Chapel Hill to tangle with number five seed North Carolina on Sunday.
High Point concludes a history making season with a 13-3-2 overall record during which they secured the program's first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament. Panther head coach EJ O'Keeffe stated, "They've (the seniors) taken this program from a good program to a nationally relevant program that deserved to be in this game, we just didn't come out on the right side of it tonight."
Charlotte 2 – Georgia State 2 – Charlotte advances 3-0 in a penalty kick shootout. This one which was played in Charlotte was much closer than many thought it would be and could have gone either way. Credit Georgia State with a gritty on the road performance.
Charlotte jumped out to an early lead when midfielder Dean Rutherford placed a header into the back of the net in the eighth minute after receiving a cross from teammate forward Daniel Bruce. Georgia State continued to work and tied it at 1-1 with an Aris Briggs goal from inside the box that was served in by Hannes Burmeister. The teams went into the halftime break tied at 1-1.
Bruce made a nice move to create the space and angle he needed and utilized his left foot to make it 2-1 Charlotte in the seventy-first minute of play after receiving a lofted pass from back Delasi Batse.
Bruce was awarded his second yellow card in the seventy-second minute of the match and played a man down from that point forward. Georgia State pressed the attack and was rewarded with an Alex Summerfield goal in the eighty-sixth minute which knotted the contest at 2-2. Max Hemmings contributed the helper on Summerfield's goal.
Callum Montgomery, Maclean Holbrook and Tommy Madden converted their penalty kicks in the shootout to send the 49ers to the second round of play where they will square off with number twelve seed Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
Georgia State out of the Sun Belt Conference closes out the 2018 season with a 11-6-3 overall record. Panther head coach Brett Surrency accurately summed things up when he stated, "We expected a full battle from Charlotte and we got that, but I feel like we gave that as well. I'm disappointed to not advance, but in the same breath I'm incredibly proud of our boys."
West Virginia 4 – LIU Brooklyn 2 – This one took place under chilly conditions with a mixture of sleet and snow which created a slippery field.
LIU Brooklyn started out on fire with Rasmus Hansen scoring in the fourth and ninth minutes of play out of counter attacks to jump out to a 2-0 advantage. However West Virginia responded with a Logan Lucas header out of a corner served in by junior defender Albert Andres-Liop in the fifteen minute and a Takada Tsubasa header off a deflection in the thirty-fifth minute to secure new life and head into intermission with the score tied 2-2.
Senior midfielder Jorge Quintanilla scored what proved to be the game-winning goal for West Virginia in the seventy-second minute and senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc put the game on ice when he scored out of a free kick from twenty-one yards out in the eighty-first minute of play.
Steven Tekesky had a four save evening between the pipes for the Mountaineers as did Blackbird goalkeeper Sam Ilin.
West Virginia improves to 14-6-0 and advances to the second round where they will square off with number thirteen seed Georgetown out of the Big East Conference on Sunday in the nation's capital.
LIU Brooklyn out of the Northeast Conference ends the 2018 campaign with a 13-6-1 record. Blackbird head coach TJ Kostecky stated, "It's been a remarkable season." He added, "Often times we talk about family, how teams are families. Some are dysfunctional families, and some are healthy families; well this was the healthiest family I've ever coached in twenty years."
Michigan State 2 – UIC 0 – This contest was played in the snow which impacted the traction on the field.
Senior forward Ryan Sierakowski got the Spartan attack in gear in the sixth minute of the match when he sent a chip shot into the back of the frame that was set up by passes from DeJuan Jones and Hunter Barone. Barone then extended the lead to two goals when he scored in the nineteenth minute with Jones making a nice move off the dribble before sending a pass to Barone.
Both teams continued to press but that concluded the scoring for the evening. Jimmy Hague had four saves in goal for Michigan State. Sawyer Jackman had three saves between the pipes for UIC.
Michigan State improves to 11-4-4 and advances to face number four seed Louisville on Sunday. UIC out of the Horizon League closes out the season with a 12-6-2 record. UIC head coach Sean Phillips stated, "This team, led by this group of seniors whose accomplishments speak for themselves, has been a joy to work with since the start of the season and even going back to January. The staff is going to miss these seniors greatly."
Portland 1 – UCLA 0 – Junior forward Benji Michel was a difference maker for the Pilots once again. His goal in the thirty-first minute of the match gave Portland the edge they needed to prevail. Michel scored his eleventh goal of the season and seventh game-winner after receiving a through ball from teammate freshman Alejandro Pereira.
Portland goalkeeper Kienan Weekes played a key role in the win with a solid six save evening. UCLA had an eighteen shot evening while Portland had fifteen. Both teams had opportunities to score that they were unable to finish.
Portland improves to 12-3-3 and advances to face number three seed Kentucky on Sunday.
UCLA ends their season with a 10-9-0 record. Bruin head coach Jorge Salcedo stated, "Tonight was a tough way to end our season. It was a snapshot of so many of our matches this year." Salcedo added, "We have created so many chances that have not been converted into goals over and over this season. Once again we hit the woodwork and have several clear chances, but could not finish. Credit Portland for scoring and bending but not breaking tonight."
Lipscomb 0 – Washington 0 – Lipscomb advances 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout. – This was without a doubt the biggest surprise of the first round. Credit Lipscomb with a gutsy performance on the road. Washington had a fourteen to five advantage in shots and a thirteen to four advantage in corner kicks but they were unable to finish.
Goalkeeper Chris Zappia had a banner evening for Lipscomb making eight saves to repeatedly thwart the Washington attack. Luke Wilson took over in goal during the shootout for Lipscomb making two stops to give the Bisons the edge they needed to prevail in the shootout and advance to the second round.
Lipscomb improves to 9-9-1 and travels to Orlando to face UCF on Sunday. Washington ends their season with a 12-7-1 record.
North Carolina State 4 – Campbell 1 – Campbell kept it close until the later part of the second half when the Wolfpack took control.
David Norris decisively sent a header into the net after receiving a cross from Ivy Brima to give NC State a 1-0 advantage with three minutes remaining in the first half. Campbell tied it at 1-1 fifteen minutes into the second stanza with a nice chip shot into the back of the frame by sophomore Alemu Mercer-Miko with a double assist from Matt Lock and JJ Donnelly.
Sophomore midfielder Brad Sweeney converted a penalty kick for the Wolfpack in the sixty-ninth minute to break the deadlock. Junior midfielder Gabriel Machado then contributed goals in the seventy-second and seventy-fourth minutes to seal the deal for N.C. State.
NC State secures a ten win season for the first time since 2012 and advances to face number eleven seed Maryland on Sunday in College Park. Campbell out of the Big South Conference closes out the season with a 9-9-3 record. Campbell head coach Dustin Fonder stated, "This group of seniors have done a great job of inheriting a program and making it better than how they found it."
Pacific 1 – UC Riverside 0 – Pacific was supposed to host the contest but the quality of the air in Stockton caused the game to be moved to Ramirez Field on the campus of Fresno Pacific University.
Forward Anthony Orendain scored the lone goal of the match for Pacific in the twenty-fourth minute with an assist from forward Alfredo Alcala. UC Riverside pressed the attack but was unable to penetrate a tough Pacific defense. Ethan Bandre had four saves in goal for Pacific and Edwyn Gutierrez had four saves between the pipes for UC Riverside.
Pacific improves to 12-4-2 and advances to faces number six Duke in Durham, North Carolina. UC Riverside closes out the season with a 7-10-3 record.
Michigan 1 – Princeton 1 – Michigan advances eleven to ten in a penalty kick shootout. Clearly this one which was played on a field blanketed in snow could have gone either way. The contest featured a total of forty-six fouls and eight cards.
Princeton drew first blood when senior Benjamin Martin scored out of a counter attack set up by passes from Moulay Hamza Kanzi Belghiti and Jerry Colvin. Michigan Senior Noah Kleedtke tied it at 1-1 when he scored in the seventy-fifth minute with Peter Brown and Umar Farouk Osman contributing the helpers.
The contest remained 1-1 at the end of regulation and overtime. Princeton junior goalkeeper Jacob Schachner made two stops during the penalty kick shootout. Michigan goalkeeper Henry Mashburn made four saves in the penalty kick shootout that extended to fourteen rounds to give Michigan the edge they needed to prevail.
Michigan now travels to face number seven seed Notre Dame on Sunday. The Irish topped Michigan 2-1 when the two teams met in Ann Arbor back on October 16. Princeton out of the Ivy League concludes a successful season with a 10-5-2 record.
Furman 0 – UNCW 0 – Furman advances five to three in a penalty kick shootout. Defense ruled in this one. Emery May, Josiah Baker, Ben Hale, Laurence Wyke and Cole McLagan converted their penalty kicks in the shootout for Furman. Hale had a four save evening in goal for Furman and made one stop during the shootout.
Furman advances to face Virginia in Charlottesville on Sunday in the second round. UNCW out of the Colonial Athletic Association closes out the year with a 13-6-2 record.
Air Force 4 – Central Arkansas 0 – Neither team was able to fully get into their rhythm on the offensive side of the ball in the first stanza which was scoreless.
Air Force opened the contest up in the second half with senior midfielder Danny Hall getting things started in the fifty-sixth minute when he sent a one-timer into the back of the net after receiving a pass from Austin Deving. Senior defender Klint Parker, senior midfielder Tucker Bone and senior defender James Sims added goals to give Air Force a decisive 4-0 win.
Andrea Seazzu had three saves in goal for Air Force. Marc Olsen had six saves in goal for Central Arkansas.
Air Force halts a two game losing streak to improve to 16-4-0 and moves forward to face Denver on the road in the second round. Central Arkansas out of the Missouri Valley Conference closes out the 2018 campaign with an 8-6-4 record.
Connecticut 4 – Rhode Island 3 (OT) – Connecticut came from two goals down with fifteen minutes remaining in regulation to secure the win in overtime. Senior forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam sent a header into the net out of a corner kick served in by Dayonn Harris in the thirty-fourth minute to give Connecticut the early lead. Rhode Island responded in the thirty-seventh minute when defender Tyler Dickson sent a header into the net out of a corner kick that was put in play by Peder Kristiansen to knot the score at 1-1. Dickson scored again just two minutes later out of a corner kick served in by Dominik Richter to give Rhode Island a 2-1 advantage.
The teams went into intermission with Rhode Island up by a goal. Forward Chae Bergman gave the Rams a 3-1 lead in the fifty-third minute of play when he sent a one-timer into the back of the frame that was set up by a nice move and pass from midfielder Stavros Zarkostas. It appeared at the time that Rhode Island was in control of the contest but that was not to be the case. The old adage that a two goal lead is the most precarious lead in soccer proved to be true.
Connecticut forward Ibrahima Diop scored in the seventy-sixth minute after receiving a cross from Cole Venner to narrow the gap to 3-2. Diop knotted the score at 3-3 four minutes later when he scored out of a breakaway with Felix Metzler providing the assist. The contest went into overtime with Connecticut having the momentum and Rhode Island wondering how they let it slip away from them. Diop then netted the game-winning goal for the Huskies in the ninety-ninth minute of play.
Rhode Island concluded a successful season with a 15-5-0 overall record. UConn improves to 12-5-2 and advances to the second round of play to face number two seed Indiana in Bloomington on Sunday.