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NCAA Tournament second round recap

All 16 matches in the 2017 NCAA Tournament took place on Friday night, with the field being cut in half in advance of Sunday’s third round. Here’s a quick recap of all of Friday night’s win-or-go-home excitement.

Washington State 2-2 Tennessee (WSU 3-1 in PKs)

Washington State has handed out a couple of upsets so far this season, and Friday night was no different as the Cougars defeated the No. 20 Tennessee Volunteers on penalties. The score remained knotted at two through two overtime periods, but Washington State outshot the Vols 3-1 in penalties to advance to Sunday’s third round.

Tennessee was without leading scorer Khadjija “Bunny” Shaw, who exited Saturday’s first round match just minutes into the contest following a serious collision in the box. However, her replacement in that match, Danielle Marcano, started in her place Friday night and once again worked her magic, leading the Vols past a one-goal deficit and to a 2-1 lead at halftime.

The Vols were unable to hold onto their lead though, as Kelsee Crenshaw added a goal to that of Morgan Weaver’s from the first half to level the score in the 79th minute. Neither team could break the 2-2 deadlock, even with 20 minutes of overtime, and the match was sent to penalties.

Tennessee midfielder Katie Cousins converted the first penalty attempt, but the following three Vols all failed to do so while all three Cougars—Maegan O’Neill, Sofia Anker-Kofoed and Jordan Branch—put theirs past Tennessee netminder Shae Yanez to knock the Vols out of the tournament.

Washington State will now face the No. 3 seed Florida in Sunday’s third round.

Princeton 1- 1 NC State (Princeton 5-4 in PKs)

The Tigers advanced on penalties Friday afternoon after battling to a 1-1 draw with the Wolfpack. NC State missed three penalty kicks in a row after initially having a lead in the shootout. Down to its last attempt, Tomi Kennedy made her attempt for Princeton to force a sixth round of shooters. Both teams missed their sixth attempts. The seventh round proved to be decisive as Carolyne Davidson converted her penalty while Dakota Stephens did not  for N.C. State.

It was also Davidson who recorded the Tigers’ lone goal on the afternoon. In the 66th minute, she tapped a ball into net off a rebound. Vanessa Gregoire was credited with the assist. The Wolfpack battled back through their offensive star, Tziarra King tied the game with the shot went underneath a diving Natalie Grossi in the 82nd minute. The strike was the sophomore’s 17th on the season.

Princeton now advances to third round where the Tigers will face the winners of North Carolina and Colorado.

Vanderbilt 1-3 Santa Clara

Shortly after Tennessee was eliminated from the NCAA tournament, their in-state conference rivals were also eliminated, falling to Santa Clara, 3-1. After a back-and-forth exchange that sent the game into halftime with Santa Clara leading, 2-1, a lone second-half Bronco goal sealed the win and saw Santa Clara stay alive for at least a couple days more. 

Santa Clara senior defender Kat Uhl connected with sophomore striker Maddy Gonzalez to put the Broncos on the board in the 18th minute. The two teams then exchanged a pair of goals, with Vandy’s Madison Elwell putting the Commodores on the board in the 35th minute before Gonzalez completed her first-half brace by scoring the game winner a minute later. Junior forward Maria Sanchez added the go-ahead goal in the opening minutes of the second half to seal the Broncos win.

Santa Clara will now face top seed South Carolina on Sunday.

Penn State 2-0 Wake Forest

The No. 3 seed Penn State shutout the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 2-0, to advance to the tournament’s Round of 16.

After a scoreless first half, Wake Forest nearly got on the board in the 53rd minute when a Demon Deacs shot squirted between Penn State keeper Rose Chandler’s legs and nearly rolled across the goal line, but Chandler was able to recover and jump on the loose ball before the Demon Deacon on the goal line could tap it in.

Instead, it was junior Alina Ortega Jurado who struck first for the Nittany Lions in the 59th, heading in a textbook cross from the far side by Maddie Elliston. Elliston sent her service into the box, where Ortega Jurado was left unmarked, allowing her to get on the end of the cross and head it past senior goalkeeper Lindsay Preston. The goal was the German international’s second goal of the season, and she had not scored since bagging the game winner in Penn State’s season opener on August 18.

Fellow German international Laura Freigang then added an insurance goal for the Nittany Lions, blasting in a shot from the top of the 18 into the upper far corner of the goal to give Penn State a two-nil lead with less than 25 minutes left in the match.

Penn State advances to the NCAA tournament third round, where they will face off against regional hosts and No. 2 seed West Virginia.

Baylor 1-1 USC (Baylor 3-0 in PKs)

Defending champs USC fell to Baylor in penalties. (photo courtesy Baylor Soccer)

There will be a no repeat champion this year as the Bears advance over USC Trojans. Baylor tied the game with just 18 seconds remaining the contest and then dominated the penalty shootout to advance to Sunday’s third round.

USC’s Leah Pruitt in the 72nd minute on a header from the top of the six yard box service from 30 yards out from Erika Okuma. Pruitt’s header nearly stood as the game winner but the Bears were able to convert a last ditch-effort to force overtime. With just seconds remaining, a Baylor took a long distance that careened off the crossbar. The loose ball fell favorably for the Bears and Sarah King was able to blast the ball into the net.

After 20 minutes of overtime could not decide a winner, the teams went to penalties. The Trojans failed to convert a single one of their four attempts. The Bears, meanwhile, made three of their four to advance to the next round where they will face the winner of Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

Texas 1-1 Clemson (Texas 6-5 on PKs)

The Longhorns emerged victorious over the Tigers after a seven round penalty shootout. The match started off long with much of the first half being played primarily in the midfield with few clear scoring chances for either side. In fact, neither side recorded a shot in the first 25 minutes of the match.

Cyera Hintzen, who scored the game-winner in the Longhorns first round match, looked to have the winner in this one as well when opened scoring in the 61st minute.  Hintzen got in behind the Clemson backline and chipped  Sandy MacIver for the tally. Hintzen caught MacIver well off her line on the play.

Play did open up more in the second half especially after Clemson push numbers forward looking for the equalizer. Clemson’s push to a three back formation did pay dividends as the Tigers tied the game with less than four minutes remaining. The tally came when Mariana Speckmaier played a ball into the box for Patrice DiPasquale. DiPasquale leaped and volley the ball into the net.

Although Clemson on the front foot especially in the second overtime, neither side was able to break the deadlock without penalties. Nicole Curry and the Longhorn defense did get lucky as the Tigers hit the woodwork a few times before the complete 110 was played.

Through the standard five person shootout, nothing separated the two sides as each converted four, with the one that missed hitting off the post. It took until the seventh round of penalties for a winner to be determined.  Clemson’s Sam Stabb, who known for her powerful left foot, took a weak shot with her right that was easily saved by Nicole Curry.

Texas will now face the winner of tonight’s match between Duke and Oklahoma State.

Florida 1-0 South Florida

Florida was knocking on the door from the opening minutes with Deanne Rose nearly giving the hosts Florida the lead in the 12th minute, only to see her slow roller cleared off the line by USF’s defense. The ball went out for a Gator corner, and after a number of attempts that saw Mayra Pelayo’s shot headed off the line by another USF defender, it appeared as though Florida had scored, only to have the goal called back due to a hand ball.

It didn’t take long for Florida to retake possession and get another look on goal, but a couple of shots, including one by Gabby Seiler, were deflected off the woodwork before Briana Solis sent her shot inches wide of the near post around the half-hour mark. Pelayo finally got the Gators on the board in the 42nd minute, sending her shot into the upper corner from about 15 yards out.

The two teams engaged in a physical back-and-forth for the final 45 minutes, but neither team could fight their way back onto the board. Pelayo’s goal was enough to advance Florida to the Round of 16, where they will face Washington State on Sunday.

North Carolina 1 -0 Colorado

Bridgette Andrzejewski scored in UNC’s NCAA tournament second round win. (photo by Shane Lardinois)

Bridgette Andrzejewski’s 26th minute goal lifted the Tar Heels over the Buffaloes Friday evening.  The sophomore’s goal came when a shot by Sydney Spruill was saved by Colorado keeper Jalen Tompkins. The rebound fell to Andrzejewski, who easily put it away for the score.

Despite generating nearly three times as many shots on goal as the Buffaloes, North Carolina failed to extend their lead.  In the end, it wouldn’t matter as Colorado rarely challenged Tar Heel keeper Samantha Leshnak.

The Tar Heels will face Princeton in the third round Sunday.

West Virginia 0-0 Rutgers (WVU 4-3 on PKs)

Last year’s tournament runners-up defeated the top defense in the nation, outshooting Rutgers 4-3 in penalties following a scoreless 110 minutes.

West Virginia had the offensive advantage all match, outshooting the Scarlet Knights 19-1 during the match. Rutgers senior keeper Casey Murphy came up big in net for the visitors, tallying six saves on the night to prevent the Mountaineer attack from capitalizing on any of their opportunities on goal. Her performance in goal, along with poor finishing from a West Virginia side that pinged both posts and the crossbar with shots, kept the game locked at zero throughout regulation and two overtime periods.

As a result, the game went into a penalty kick shootout, with two of the nation’s top keepers facing off. West Virginia’s Carla Portillo converted the first penalty attempt, and fellow Mountaineer Riley Foster saved Rutgers sophomore Taylor Aylmer’s attempt to give WVU a 1-0 advantage. However, Murphy followed Foster’s save with one of her own, and her teammate Almirah Ali then scored from the spot as well.

The following five kickers—three from WVU and two from Rutgers—all made their attempts to give WVU a 4-3 advantage with only one taker, Rutgers’ Brianna Starr, left. Starr put a valiant attempt on target, only to have it denied by a huge two-handed flying save by Foster.  

With the win, West Virginia stays alive to face Penn State in the Round of 16 on Sunday.

Wisconsin 0-1 South Carolina

The Wisconsin Badgers fell to the South Carolina Gamecocks 1-0 on Friday. While the run of play favored Wisconsin in the first half, it was South Carolina’s Luciana Zullo who buried the first and only goal of the game in the 39th minute.  Senior standout Savannah McCaskill also had her share of chances, but was limited by Wisconsin’s physical coverage and keeper Caitlyn Clem, whose aggressive play off the line helped to preserve the scoreline (e.g. save at 63’).

Both teams showcased their young talent in the match. Goalscorer Zullo is a Freshman as are her Wisconsin opponents Sammy Kleedtke, Lauren Rice, Maia Cella, and Cameron Murtha. Rice, Murtha, and Sophomore Dani Rhodes looked especially strong and had several good offensive runs on the flanks.

The one-seeded South Carolina moves on in the tournament and will face Santa Clara on Sunday.

Florida State University 2-0 Arizona

Florida State celebrates following their NCAA second round win. (photo courtesy FSU Athletics)

The Seminoles defeated Arizona 2-0 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.  The Wildcats struggled to transition out of their defensive half and were limited to scattered chances. The best chances for Arizona were off of Charlotte Brascia (69’) and Kelcey Cavarra (75’) in the second half.

Florida State saw 7 shots and both goals (44’, 79’) from Deyna Castellanos. Gloriana Villalobos and Kaycie Tillman also contributed to the offensive build of play.  Florida State will meet the winner of Stanford v. Auburn.

University of Virginia 3-0 Pepperdine

The University of Virginia dominated Pepperdine on Friday, outshooting the waves 13 to 3 with three separate players hitting the back of the net.  The pressure started early as freshman Taylor Ziemer found freshman Veronica Latsko for a quick goal (7’).  Betsy Brandon added to the score in the 69th minute by spinning out of trouble to place a ball in the upper 90. Ayan Adu finished the scoreline with a goal in the 88th minute.

Pepperdine could not seem to keep possession long enough to coherently respond. Freshman Brie Welch helped the Waves gather intermittent moments of attack, but the team could not respond to UVA’s possession an early lead.  UVA will face the winner of UCLA and Northwestern.

Duke 7-0 Oklahoma State

Duke’s Kayla McCoy recorded a goal and an assist in the Blue Devil’s 7-0 second round shutout of Oklahoma State. (photo by Shane Lardinois)

The Blue Devils were out on the front foot from the opening whistle and never relented as they routed the Cowgirls 7-0 Friday night.  Six of different Blue Devils scored in the match as the team set a new program record for goals in a NCAA Tournament match.

In the 10th minute, Kayla McCoy earned a penalty after she was taken down in the box. It was not a smart play defensively as McCoy was not facing goal when she was fouled. The junior took the penalty but the attempt didn’t have enough on it and was easily saved by Michela Ongaro. Unfortunately for the Cowgirls, Duke scored on the rebound. Taylor Racioppi was credited with the tally and McCoy and Ella Stevens earned assists.

Duke then put four into the back of the net in a 11-minute span to put the game out of reach for Oklahoma State with another entire half to play. On the second goal, Rebecca Quinn sent a lower, driven ball into the box and McCoy redirected into the back of the net. Quinn would add on of her own in the 29th minute when her well-struck shot when off the far post and in.

Karlie Paschall then added her first of two on the night on a feed from Kat McDonald in the 35th minute. Less than thirty seconds after Paschall, Imani Dorsey provided a one-time finish for the Blue Devils’ fifth tally on the night.

In the second half, head coach Robbie Church gave his reserves a run out in preparation for a quick turnaround on Sunday but the team was still able to add another two goals to the scoresheet. Paschall netted another for Blue Devils in the 66th minute with a shot from the left side of the box. Anna Munro recorded the game’s final score in the 73rd minute. Friday’s goals were the first in Munro and Paschall’s careers at Duke.

The Blue Devils now advance to the third round of the tournament for the three consecutive year. Duke will face Texas at home Sunday.

Notre Dame 2, Texas A&M 2 (Notre Dame 3-1 on PKs)

Keeper Lexi Nicholas came up big for Notre Dame as the Irish advance on penalties kicks after an evenly contested match against the Aggies. Nicholas saved two of the three attempts by Texas A&M to eliminate the Aggies from the tournament.

Texas A&M’s Mikaela Harvey opened scoring in the 37th minute with long distance shot. Emily Piper was credited with the assist. Notre Dame muscled their way back in quick order as Sabrina Flores won a challenge inside the box and played the ball back to Eva Hurm. Hurm calmly placed the ball into the center of the net from the equalizer.

Notre Dame looked to have the game winner as Texas A&M was called for a foul in the box. Natalie Jacobs lined up to take the ensuing spot kick and finished just inside the left post for the tally.

Texas A&M put Notre Dame under pressure in the waning minutes as the Aggies earned two back-to-back corners. Texas A&M failed to capitalize on the opportunities as the attack ended when Cienna Arrieta sent a shot wide of net. With under three minutes remaining,  Emily Bates knotted the game at 2-2 with a shot from seven yards out that went into the left side netting.

Stanford 2-0 Auburn

The #1 seed in the tourney kept rolling despite a staunch performance from the Auburn defense and goalkeeper Sarah Le Beau, who notched 11 saves in a performance that allowed for perhaps a more flattering scoreline than the play on the field implied. The match started with Stanford dominant on the ball, pushing for an early goal against Auburn’s best efforts. However, after the initial push from the home team, Auburn worked their way into the first half nicely, looking comfortable staving off the Stanford attack, if perhaps less so pushing into their opponents attacking third. The half would end scoreless despite Stanford outshooting Auburn 17-2 in the first 45 minutes.

After the half the game began to open up a bit, and Stanford was finally able to break the deadlock in the 58th minute when Alana Cook sent a ball over the top of the Auburn defense that Kyra Carusa was finally able to slip past Le Beau. Though Auburn never lost their composure, the Cardinal would double their lead in the 67th minute when Catarina Macario slotted the ball far post off a nice assist from Sam Tran. This would be Stanford’s 81st goal of the year, surpassing their previous record of 80 set in 2009.

After the two goals Stanford took their foot off the pedal a little bit, and cruised to the end of the match with a stat sheet that flattered the hosts: outshooting Auburn 31-3, and winning corners 10-1. They’ll be taking on FSU on Sunday at 1pm PST.

UCLA 1-0 Northwestern

Speaking of staunch defense and flattering score-lines, UCLA escaped a full period of overtime against Northwestern late on Friday evening, winning 1-0 on a golden goal from Anika Rodriguez just 3 minutes into extra time, after the Bruins peppered the Northwestern goal to no avail for a full 90 minutes.

UCLA looked as good as they ever have, with fluid passing lanes and impressive play from their young stars, Jessie Fleming and Ashley Sanchez, but they squandered some chances in the early going while the Northwestern defense held firm. Northwestern keeper Lauren Clem had a fantastic game, especially against some rockets from distance.

And despite UCLA’s attempts to wear them down, the Northwestern defense held its shape admirable until the 93rd minute, when Sanchez was able to find space in between the NU center-backs, slotting the ball through the defense to Rodriguez to end the whole affair. UCLA will take on the University of Virginia in the round of 16 on Sunday at 6pm PST.

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