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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. 

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