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2017 NCAA Tournament: Saturday first round recap

The second day of the 2017 NCAA Tournament kicked off on Saturday, with some of the top teams in the nation looking to stay alive for another week. Runners-up West Virginia, reigning ACC Champions UNC, and SEC tournament finalists Arkansas all got Saturday’s action started. Here’s a recap of all of Saturday’s NCAA tournament first round contests.

North Carolina 3-0 High Point

Bridgette Andrzejewski fights to maintain possession in UNC’s NCAA tournament first round win. (photo by Shane Lardinois)

Three different Tar Heels recorded goals as North Carolina downed High Point 3-0. Abby Elinsky got the Tar Heels on the board early in the 6th minute. Elinsky scored off a feed from Megan Buckingham that she placed into the upper 90. Despite pinning the Panthers in their own defensive half throughout much of the half, North Carolina would only add one more goal to their tally before halftime as the majority of the Tar Heels chances were blocked or deflected by the High Point defense.

Julia Ashley added the game’s second goal in the 39th minute. Her tally came off a corner kick. The first attempt off the corner was blocked by a High Point defender but Ashley was able to knock in the rebound.

Morgan Groff scored the game’s final goal in the 69th minute when Madison Schultz played a cross into the box, Elinsky headed it and Groff was able to then tap it in. The Tar Heels advance to face the winner of Denver vs Colorado next weekend at home.

NC State 4-1 Arkansas

Tziarra King scored twice as NC State defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks 4-1. All but one of the five goals in the contest came in the second half of the game. King opened the Wolfpack’s account in the 6th minute of the game when Maxine Blackwood played a ball her on the left side of the field. The Razorback defense did not shift quickly enough and King fired a shot from the top of the penalty area for the tally.

Streaking down the right side but Jordan Harris was able to deflect Kristina Schuster’s shot out for a corner. Early in the second, King would pad the Wolfpack’s lead five minutes into the second half. With NC State on the counterattack, Hannah Keough passed the ball to King who finished in the lower right corner from the top of the box.

Keough would also assist the Wolfpack’s third goal in the 63rd minute when Paige Griffiths scored from 6 yards out.l Arkansas’ Taylor Malham recorded some of the Razorbacks’ best opportunities of the day. The best came in the 53rd minute, Malham had just the keeper to beat but Sydney Wootten was able to keep the shot from materializing.

Kia Rankin added NC State’s last goal with 12 minutes remaining in the match. Rankin received a pass from Mikhail Johnson just outside the box, juked a defender and took a shot that hit off the left post and in.

Arkansas got on the board in the 81st minute courtesy of Stefani Doyle but it was too little, too late. Doyle’s goal was a bit wonky as she took a shot near the end line and hit off the post in end. The efficient Wolfpack put nine of their 11 shots on frame in the contest. They now progress to the second round where they’ll meet Princeton.

West Virginia 3-0 Bucknell

Michaela Abam and Sh’Nia Gordon led the No. 2 seed West Virginia Mountaineers past Bucknell, 3-0, on Saturday to advance to the second round of the 2017 NCAA tournament.

Last year’s runners-up got on the board in the 16th minute when Carla Portillo’s corner kick was headed home by Abam, but Bucknell’s defense prevented the Mountaineers from extending their lead before halftime. However, they were caught a little flat-footed early in the second half, allowing Abam to strike once more in the 47th minute, heading in a textbook cross from the near side from Heather Kaleiohi.

Gordon closed out scoring on the day in the 58th minute, using her first touch to settle a lofted pass from Bianca St. Georges before moving into space, turning, and firing off a left-footer that beat Bucknell’s keeper.

West Virginia will now likely host a regional in which they’ll play the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

South Florida 3-0 Florida Gulf Coast

Evelyne Vien’s teammates celebrate her goal during USF’s 3-0 shutout of FGCU. (photo courtesy USF Athletics)

South Florida shut out Florida Gulf Coast University, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon to punch their tickets to the NCAA tournament second round.

Sophomore striker Evelyne Viens put the Bulls on the board in the 18th minute, scoring her 12th goal of the season to give USF a one-goal lead that they’d take with them into the half. A pair of second-half goals—the first from freshman Leah Ferlin and the second by Aubrey Megrath—sealed the win for the Bulls.

USF will now face the Florida Gators in the second round.

Oklahoma State 1-1 Missouri State (OSU 3, MSU 2 in PKs)

Cowgirls keeper Michela Ongaro made three saves in the penalties as Oklahoma State advances to the second round of the tournament. The Cowgirls got on the board early as Julia Lenhardt took a shot from about 10 yards from goal that deflected off the near post into the net.

Oklahoma State looked poised to advance as the clock neared full time but the Bears tied it on an own goal in with just three minutes left in the match. The game-tying play started with a thrown in that when off the keeper and a Cowgirls defender and in.

Through two overtime periods, neither team could break the deadlock. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Ongaro saved three attempts by the Bears in a row to send the Bears packing. Her diving saves came after the teams were knotted at 2-2 after two shooters a piece.  Missouri State’s Lexi Palacio made two stops on the Cowgirls. Oklahoma State will face Duke next weekend.

Southern California 2-1 Eastern Washington

The Trojans came from behind to beat the visiting Eastern Washington Eagles. Erika Okuma won the contest for USC in the first minute of the second overtime period. Eastern Washington put the defending champions on their heels early as Chloe Williams knocked in a rebound off a shot by Aimie Inthoulay for the tally.The Eagles took the lead to the locker room after getting the better of the Trojans at times in the first stanza.

USC came out much better in the second half and were rewarded quickly for their efforts. Alex Anthony found the equalizer just five minutes into the half. The tally came when Anthony collected a ball in the box and took a low driven shot.

The Trojans looked much better in the second half. USC passing was crisper and the team managed to combine better and generate more opportunities. Nonetheless, USC was unable to net another in regulation. It took until the 101st for the Trojans down the Big Sky champions when Erika Okuma slotted the ball home for the tally. Notably, Eastern Washington’s defense blocked a total of 10 shots in the contest. USC survives the scare and will face Baylor in the second round.

Pepperdine 1-0 CSU Fullerton

Senior Bri Visalli scored late to the Pepperdine Waves the 1-0 victory over the visiting Titans. With the shutout, the Waves finish the season without allowing a goal on home turf. Pepperdine’s stingy defense kept Cal State Fullerton from recording a shot on goal in the contest.

Visalli’s goal came in the 87th minute of play when she took buried a shot into the upper right corner of the net. Titans keeper Morgan Bertsch had no chance to stop the perfectly placed ball. Pepperdine moves on to face the winner of Virginia – St. Francis next Friday.

California 1-2 Santa Clara

Santa Clara upset No. 19 California, 2-1, courtesy of goals by Gudrun Arnardottir and Kelsey Turnbow. Cal went down early and, despite their best efforts, couldn’t pull out the result they wanted.

In the third minute of the match, Cal senior defender Indigo Gibson was shown a red card and ejected from the game following a bad foul just outside of the area, causing the Bears to go down a player early in the game. It also caused them to go down a goal, as Icelandic international Gudrun Arnardottir scored off the resulting free kick to put the Broncos up early.

The Broncos would return the favor in the 27th minute after Heather Walleigh was taken down inside of the box for a California penalty. Miranda Nild buried the penalty to level the game, where it stayed into the second half. However, freshman forward Kelsey Turnbow goal retook the lead for the Broncos in the 65th minute, and this time, Cal was unable to come back.

With the win, Santa Clara advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament, where they will take on the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Tennessee 2-0 Murray State

Despite losing their leading goal scorer in the opening minutes of the game, the No. 20 Tennessee Volunteers shutout Murray State, 2-0, to stay alive in the NCAA tournament.

Tennessee suffered a huge loss early in the game, as leading scorer Khadija “Bunny” Shaw was injured in a collision in the box in the third minute of the match and had to be stretchered off the field. Despite the potentially serious injury, Shaw gave a thumbs up to fans and her teammates as she left the field.

Shaw was replaced on the field by Danielle Marcano, who opened up scoring for the Vols at the hour mark. The versatile junior slotted home a ball from Erin Gilroy, who then added a goal of her own in the 64th minute.

Tennessee will next take on the Washington State Cougars in next weekend’s second round.

Rutgers 3-1 LaSalle

Colby Ciarrocca, center, tallied two assists in Rutgers 3-1 win over LaSalle. (photo copyright Katie Cahalin for The Equalizer)

A trio of goals by three different players saw the Rutgers Scarlet Knights advance, defeating LaSalle, 3-1.

Although Rutgers outshot LaSalle, 9-0, they couldn’t finish any of their chances. That was largely because of a superb first half performance in net by Larissa Zambelli, who made five saves in the opening 45 minutes to keep the match scoreless at the half.

Zambelli was unable to prevent Rutgers from scoring, giving up three second-half goals. The first was scored by freshman forward Amirah Ali, who finished a ball from senior Colby Ciarrocca in the 52nd minute to finally break the deadlock. Ciarrocca tallied a second assist on the night, this time passing a Tiernny Wilshire throw in over to freshman Alexa Ferreira, who again put the ball past Zambelli.

On the other side of the field, LaSalle’s offense prevented Rutgers goalkeeper Casey Murphy from getting another clean sheet in her final season with the Scarlet Knights. Shortly after Ferreira’s goal, Kristin Haugstad slipped a ball through the Rutgers defense, and Madi Bower slotted it home to get LaSalle on the board with 25 minutes to go. However, They were unable to equalize and, instead, Rutgers got a third goal, this time by a close-range strike from Brittany LaPlant.

Rutgers now faces a tough test in the tournament’s second round, taking on last year’s runners-up and current No. 2 seed, West Virginia.

Notre Dame 5-0 IUPUI

Five different Notre Dame players scored as the Irish easily took down the IUPUI Jaguars. The contest was never really in doubt as the Irish pinned the Jaguars in their half for the vast majority of the contest. Notre Dame generated a total of 30 shots.

Natalie Jacobs scored the game winner in the 18th minute. She bounced on a rebound off the crossbar.  Katie O’Connor, who took the shot preceding Jacobs’ tally was credited with the assist.

Senior Sandra Yu doubled the lead with nine minutes remaining in the half. She received a ball in the box, took a couple of touches, and sent the ball far post for the tally. Sabrina Flores’ well-weighted pass set Yu up for the opportunity.

Ginny McGowan added another to the Irish’s account early in the second half. McGowan’s strike came off a set piece taken by Shannon Hendricks. Hendricks’ kick was flicked on by Jennifer Westendorf and then McGowan tabbed it in.

With the game in hand, the Irish added two more to their total. First, in the 79th minute, Erin Ospeck scored her first of the season on a looping shot from the right side of the field. After the Jaguars were called for a foul in the box, Katie Uhler converted the penalty kick for Notre Dame’s fifth goal of the contest. The Irish advance to face Texas A&M in the next round.

Central Florida 0-1 Washington State

Washington State pulled off their second big upset of the season, defeating the No. 2 seed UCF Knights, 1-0, on Saturday night to advance to the tournament’s second round.

The win was not pretty for either side, though, as the lone goal of the match was an own goal scored by the Knights in the 5th minute. Cougar defender Maddy Haro crossed the ball, only to see it inadvertently headed into goal by the UCF defense. Although both teams had a number of opportunities to increase the goal total throughout the match, neither side was able to, and the own goal was the difference maker at the final whistle.

Next up for the Cougs is No. 20 Tennessee next weekend. 

Duke 1-0 UNC Greensboro

Imani Dorsey’s 69th-minute goal was the game winner in Duke’s 1-0 win over UNCG in the NCAA tournament first round. (photo by Shane Lardinois)

Duke advanced Saturday thanks to a 69th-minute strike by Imani Dorsey. Dorsey’s strike came when she intercepted a pass and then slotted the ball just inside the right post for the score. The goal came on the Blue Devils 26th opportunity of the night. All told, Duke recorded 31 shots in the contest but only managed to put 10 on frame.

UNC Greensboro was pinned in their own defensive half of the field throughout the match, managing just one shot in the contest. The Spartans numbers behind the ball were a chief cause of the Blue Devils inability to put the ball on target.

Duke will now host Oklahoma State in the second round of the tournament next Friday.

Virginia 2-0 St. Francis 

Veronica Latsko and Taryn Torres each tallied a goal as the Cavaliers defeated St. Francis 2-0. The Cavaliers held a decisive advance in every offensive category but weren’t clinical in front of goal Saturday thereby keeping Red Flash within striking distance. Red Flash only generated 3 shots in the contest while Virginia had 33. The Cavaliers only put a paltry amount of those opportunities on target as St. Francis’ decision to play five at the back made it difficult to break down.

Veronica Latsko scored the game winner halfway through the first half.  The senior forward’s goal occurred after a St. Francis defender attempted to block a shot but Latsko was there to clean it up for the Cavaliers.

In the 56th minute, Taryn Torres charged past the St. Francis defense and fired a low driven shot for the Cavaliers’ second goal of the contest. The freshman’s shot was perfectly placed near the left post where Julia Hernan had no chance to stop it.

Virginia moves on to face Pepperdine next Friday in the second round.

Stanford 9-1 Utah Valley

Stanford, the No. 1 scoring offense in the country, secured the biggest first round win, defeating the Utah Valley Wolverines, 9-1. The Cardinal’s nine goals, scored by seven different players, set a team record for most goals in a single game this season. Madison Haley and Sam Tran led scoring on the night with two goals apiece, while Michelle Xiao tallied three assists.

In her first start for the Cardinal, freshman Haley opened up scoring in the sixth minute, slotting a pass from Civana Kuhlmann into the back of the net for Stanford’s opening goal. Kuhlmann would get one of her own just minutes later, extending the top seed’s lead to two-nil inside of 10 minutes.

However, Utah Valley did what no other team has done this year, scoring a goal on Stanford’s home soil to pull back within one in the 17th minute. The goal came off a corner kick, which Libby Weber headed past netminder Alison Jahansouz to prevent the Cardinal shutout.

Stanford answered Utah Valley’s goal by scoring three back-to-back goals in a span of four minutes (Jaye Boissiere, Tierna Davidson and Catarina Macario), increasing their lead to 5-1 in the 32nd minute. Freshman Belle Briede then contributed a goal, her first, shortly before halftime to put Stanford up 6-1 at the break.

Although Utah Valley had a few dangerous looks in the second half, Stanford remained the dominant team, even with many of their bench players on the field. Haley scored her second goal at the start of the second half, and Sam Tran scored a second-half brace to round out scoring on the night.

With the win the No. 1 seed (and No. 1 overall) Stanford advance to host the Auburn Tigers in second round play.

Keep checking back as The Equalizer continues updating you with all of the 2017 NCAA Tournament action. 

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