Sixteen Teams Advanced To The Second Round Of Play On Sunday. As Is Always The Case There Were A few Surpises.
Saint John’s 1 – Princeton 0 – As anticipated the margin for error for both teams in this one was slim.
Senior Brandon Knapp, normally a holding midfielder or center back, came through in the clutch with the big play up-top that St. John’s needed to prevail when he sent a left-footed shot into the far corner of the net from just inside the 18-yard box in the final minutes of the first half. Atila Ashrafi was credited with the assist when his pass into the box deflected off a Princeton defender to the feet of Knapp.
A stout Red Storm defense anchored in goal by Luke Garvan limited a Princeton attack powered by Kevin O’Toole to only two shots on goal in route to recording their 12th shutout and 6th 1-0 win on the season.
Princeton under head coach Jim Barlow concludes a successful season in which they won the Ivy League title with a 12-6-0 record. St. John’s survives and advances to the second round where they will face number one seed Oregon State (12-2-3) in Corvallis on Sunday.
North Carolina 0 – Loyola Maryland 0 – Defense ruled in this one. The Tar Heels advance 4-2 in a penalty kick shootout after the contest was scoreless in Chapel Hill at the conclusion of 110 minutes of play.
Graduate Student netminder Alec Smir, who has a 0.88 GAA with ten shutouts on the season, was the difference maker for the Tar Heels with two huge saves in the shootout. UNC got the best of the run of play in the first half with a 7-1 advantage in shots but Loyola Maryland got the best of the action in the second stanza with a 3-0 advantage in shots.
Graduate Student netminder Chase Vosvick, who concluded a successful tenure at Loyola Maryland with 30 career shutouts including ten during the 2021 season, was also stellar in goal for the Greyhounds.
North Carolina is 11-6-2 and travels to Miami where they will face FIU out of Conference USA. Loyola Maryland (10-6-4) concludes a very productive season during which they earned the programs first ever Patriot League Championship and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.
Santa Clara 2 – Akron 1 (ot) – Santa Clara did a good job of finishing the scoring opportunities that came their way and showed a lot of grit by coming from a goal down at halftime on the road to prevail in overtime. Akron had a commanding 17 to 3 advantage in shots including a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal but Santa Clara prevailed in the one statistic on the scoreboard that really mattered.
Junior defender Carlo Ritaccio converted a header out of a corner kick served in by defender Jonas Buechte in the 26th minute to give Akron the early advantage. The contest remained 1-0 at halftime.
Santa Clara picked up the pace in the second half and found the equalizer a little more than a minute into the second stanza when Tyrone Kirunda found the back of the net after receiving a cross from teammate Javier Ruiz Duran.
The contest remained 1-1 at the conclusion of regulation. Senior midfielder Eduardo Lopez Perez came up big for Santa Clara when he alertly sent a deflection into the back of the net to score the game-winning goal for the Broncos in the second overtime period. Santa Clara improves to 12-1-4 and will travel to Lexington to square off with Kentucky on Sunday. Akron closes out the 2021 season with a 9-6-3 overall record.
Denver 1 – Grand Canyon 0 – Denver did exactly what they needed to do on both sides of the ball to upset Grand Canyon 1-0 on the road. It was a total team win for a determined Denver team under head coach Jamie Franks.
Junior midfielder Kengo Ohira sent a rocket into the top middle shelf of the goal from just outside the 18-yard box in the 24th minute after receiving a pass from junior midfielder Aidan O’Toole to give Denver the edge they needed to prevail.
Grand Canyon pushed numbers forward in the second half seeking to secure the equalizer but a solid Pioneer defensive effort kept the Lopes off the board.
Denver improves to 10-3-5 and secures their first win in the NCAA Tournament since 2016. The Pioneers survive and advance to round two on Sunday where they will face Clemson at Historic Riggs Field.
It was a disappointing loss for a very good Grand Canyon team before a home crowd of 3,124 predominately GCU fans but nonetheless a very successful 15-4-1 season under first year head coach Leonard Griffin for a program that has a bright future ahead.
NIU 2 – Oakland 1 – NIU came out on the front foot and jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind two goals from sophomore midfielder Diego Maynez but a two goal lead is often the most precarious lead to hold on to in soccer.
The contest remained 2-0 at intermission but Oakland regrouped and pulled one back in the 70th minute when Noah Jensen converted a penalty kick to make it 2-1. Oakland had a chance to tie the contest eight minutes later when they were awarded another penalty kick. Jensen initially converted it but the referee called it back because the ball moved off the dot due to the wind. Huskie goalkeeper Martin Sanchez was able to come up with a huge game-saving stop on Jensen’s second attempt.
NIU improves to 15-2-2 and advances to the second round to face Pittsburgh on Sunday. Oakland concludes a successful season in which they won both the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles with a 12-7-2 overall record.
Hofstra 4 – Lipscomb 2 – Hofstra continues to take care of business with a three-goal second half blitz that enabled the Pride to top a game Lipscomb team that had a 2-1 lead at halftime. Forwards Hayes Wood and Bakary Bagayoko scored the goals for Lipscomb. Defender Pierce Infuso contributed Hofstra’s lone goal in the first half.
The Pride came out on the front foot in the second half with forward Hendrik Hebbeker scoring the equalizer, forward Ryan Carmichael contributing what proved to be the game-winner, and Matthew Vowinkel adding an insurance goal to secure the win, improve to 17-1-2, and advance to the second round where Hofstra will face #12 seed Penn State out of the Big Ten.
Lipscomb concludes their season with a 12-5-2 overall record.
Wake Forest 2 – Mercer 1 – As they have done all year, Mercer midfielder Dylan Gaither and Wake Forest forward Kyle Holcomb factored into the outcome of the game for their respective teams.
Gaither scored from just outside the 18-yard box to give Mercer an early 1-0 advantage. Holcomb netted the equalizer for the Demon Deacons in the 18th minute with a double assist from midfielder Jake Swallen and sophomore back Hosei Kijima. The contest remained deadlocked at 1-1 with the outcome very much in doubt at intermission. Holcomb scored the game-winning goal for the Demon Deacons in the 66th minute of the match. The game-winner was set up by a nice combination of passes from sophomore defender Prince Amponsah and junior midfielder Oscar Sears.
Trace Alphin had six saves in goal for Wake Forest. Trevor McMullin had five saves between the pipes for Mercer.
Wake Forest improves to 12-6-1 and takes to the road to Miami to face FIU out of Conference USA. Mercer, who won the Southern Conference Tournament, concludes their season with a 10-8-1 record.
Villanova 1 – Vermont 0 – A determined Villanova team utilized solid play on the defensive side of the ball and took advantage of the one really good opportunity to score that came their way to secure the program’s first ever win in the NCAA Tournament.
This one could have gone either way but Villanova got the goal they needed to secure the win when junior forward Lyam MacKinnon (8g, 6a) who has been the Wildcats go-to guy on the offensive side of the ball all year converted a penalty kick in the 28th minute of the match. The penalty kick was awarded when Villanova senior forward Seidu Shamsudeen was taken down in the box.
A tenacious Villanova defense anchored by netminder Carson Williams and center backs Viktor Benediktsson and Jack Bonas combined with Villanova’s ability to apply pressure on Vermont through several counter attacks kept a Vermont team that had an overwhelming 30 to 9 advantage in shots on goal off the board.
Villanova improves to 12-7-1 and marches forward to the second round where they will take on Notre Dame in South Bend on Sunday. Vermont closes out the 2021 season with a 13-5-2 overall record.
Georgia State 1 – Charlotte 0 – This one could easily have gone either way. It went Georgia State’s way because they were able to come up with the big play they needed while Charlotte was not.
Senior back George Proctor made the run he needed to make and found the seam he needed to slot what proved to be the lone goal of the evening in the 26th minute of the match with an assist from midfielder Ross Finnie.
Daniel Kuzemka had two saves in goal for Charlotte while Gunther Rankenburg had a four save evening in goal for Georgia State.
Charlotte had several good opportunities early on to score but they were unable to capitalize on them and it cost them. The momentum shifted Georgia State’s way when Charlotte went down a goal, was forced to chase the game, and never fully got into a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball.
Georgia State improves to 13-6-0 and travels to Washington where they will face #3 seed Georgetown on Sunday.
The 49ers close out their season with a 10-6-1 overall record.
Providence 2 – Marist 0 – Midfielder Christopher Roman converted a header from six yards out with a double assist after receiving a well played cross from midfielder Armann Wilson to go up 1-0 in the 40th minute of play. Forward Gil Santos was also credited with an assist on the goal. The score remained 1-0 at halftime.
Wilson added the second goal when he sent a picture perfect rocket into the back of the net from outside the box for the Friars in the 67th minute after receiving a pass from Gevork Diarbian.
Providence had an eight to one advantage in shots on goal for the evening. Sam Ilin had six saves in goal for Marist while Lukas Burns had one save in goal for Providence.
Providence advances to the second round where they will face defending national champion Marshall in what shapes up to be one of the more interesting matches of the second round. Marist closes out their season with a 12-7-3 overall record.
Virginia Tech 2 – Campbell 1 – This one was all about whether or not Virginia Tech could contain Campbell’s high octane attack and generate a little offensive of their own. The Hokies did both things well enough to secure a solid win over a very competitive Campbell team. Virginia Tech got on the board first compliments of a goal from defender Kyle McDowell with assists from Pol Monells and senior Kahill Dover.
Campbell made things interesting when senior forward David Hernandez scored in the 56th minute to pull the Camels even at 1-1.
Virginia Tech then got the goal they needed to prevail from Dover who made a nice run and finish from the right side of the box after receiving a cross from McDowell. Monells was also credited with an assist on the game-winning goal. oss
Campbell playing without the services of Big South Offensive Player of the Year Tyler Young due to injury had a 12 to 11 advantage in shots but Virginia Tech held a 6 to 3 advantage in shots on goal. Campbell also had a 10-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Edu Rodriguez had four saves in goal for Campbell while Ben Martino had a two save evening between the pipes for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech advances to face West Virginia in Morganton. Campbell closes out another very successful season with a 15-4-2 overall record.
Creighton 1 – Missouri State 0 – Down goes a Missouri State team that entered the contest with a 17-1-0 overall record. This one went back and forth with several momentum changes but at the end of the day a beautiful goal from Creighton senior forward Diego Gutierrez in the 78th minute of the match and a stout Creighton defense anchored in goal by Paul Krause and a solid Bluejay backline gave Creighton the edge they needed to prevail.
Krause had a six save evening in goal for Creighton while Michael Creek had three saves in goal for Missouri State.
It was a big win for the Bluejays under head coach Johnny Torres who improve to 9-7-2 and advance to the second round for a rematch against a Tulsa team on Sunday that edged Creighton 2-1 in their opening game of the 2021 season.
It was a heartbreaking loss for a very good Missouri State team in head coach Jon Leamy’s last game as the Bears head coach after a 30 year tenure.
UCLA 2 – UC Santa Barbara 1 (ot) – This one was scoreless at halftime. Rameses Martinez scored the first goal of the match to give UC Santa Barbara a 1-0 advantage in the 54th minute of the contest. UCLA got the best of possession from that point forward but the Gauchos maintained a one goal lead until the 86th minute of play when Jose Contell scored for UCLA to tie the match at 1-1 and send it into extra time.
Senior forward Kevin Diaz netted the game-winner for the Bruins in the 103rd minute of play when he sent a deflection into the back of the frame. It was an exhilarating come from behind win for a UCLA team that looked to be on the ropes with five minutes left in regulation and a tough loss for a UC Santa Barbara team that has fought hard all season.
UCLA improves to 11-6-1 and advances to the second round with a cross-country road trip to face Duke in Durham. UC Santa Barbara, the Big West Conference Champions, concludes the season with a 12-5-4 record.
Long Island University 1 – Maryland 0 – In one of the unexpected outcomes of the first round of play LIU shocked Maryland 1-0 in College Park behind a blast from sophomore forward Assane Ben Fall. Fall made a nice move down the left side of the pitch off the dribble to create the space he needed to loft a beautiful shot into the back of the frame from long range with a little over a minute remaining in regulation.
Maryland got the best of the run of play in the first half and in portions of the second stanza but they were never able to come up with the big finish they needed to turn the tide their way.
LIU picked up their pace in the second half which enabled the Sharks to do a better job in terms of applying pressure to the Terps.
Demetri Skoumbakis had five saves in goal including several huge stops for LIU. Niklas Neumann had one save in goal for Maryland.
LIU improves to 12-4-4 and advances to the second round where they will seek to keep the magic alive against a very good Saint Louis team. Soccer can be a game of inches. It was a tough loss for a Maryland team that created several very dangerous scoring opportunities that they were unable to finish.
The Terps close out the year with a 12-4-2 record.
Bowling Green 1 – Louisville 0 – Bowling Green has had a very productive season but they looked to be a long shot on the road against Louisville after back-to-back losses to West Virginia 2-0 and Northern Illinois 5-2. However, the Falcons pulled things back together and did what they needed to generate a little offense of their own and contain a very productive Louisville offense that was averaging 2.35 goals per game.
Senior midfielder Kale Nichols came up big for Bowling Green when he drove a one-timer into the net after receiving a cross from Nathan Masters that glanced off the inside of the post and into the net to score what proved to be the game-winning goal for the Falcons in the 30th minute of the match.
Nichols’ goal and determined play on the defensive side of the ball gave the Falcons under the guidance of head coach Eric Nichols the edge they needed to secure their first win in the NCAA Tournament since 1997.
Bowling Green improves to 11-5-3 and advances to the second round to take on Indiana in Bloomington. Louisville closes out the 2021 season with a 10-7-1 record.
Portland 3 – Seattle 2 – This one took place on a rainy night in Portland.
Seattle jumped out to a 1-0 lead behind a goal from Noe Meza in the 24th minute but Portland responded immediately with goals from senior forward Alejandro Pereira in the 27th and 30th minute to go into intermission with a 2-1 advantage.
Midfielder Wesley Frankel found the back of the net in the 63rd minute for Portland to make it 3-1. Levonte Johnson scored for Seattle in the 81st minute to conclude the scoring in what was one of the few high scoring contests during the first round of play.
Portland did a good job of finishing the opportunities that came their way. The Pilots improve to 11-6-1 and advances to the second round where they will face a Washington team that they lost to 2-0 back on September 24. Seattle closes out their season with a 13-8-1 record.
Picture from Saint John’s Athletics