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NCAA tournament third round recap

Here’s a recap of Sunday’s action as we move forward to the penultimate weekend of the college season.

Princeton 2-1 North Carolina

Abby Givens provided the overtime winner for the Tigers as Princeton stunned no. one North Carolina 2-1 in overtime. Despite only putting three shots on frame to the Tar Heels nine, Princeton advances to the quarterfinals.

The Tigers grabbed the lead early, when an attempted clearance by North Carolina keeper Samantha Leshnak hit off Mimi Asom went into the back of the net.

The Tar Heels would be on the front foot throughout much of the rest of the half. The home side looked to have the equalizer about 20 minutes in the match, but the referee ruled that the ball went out of bounds on a cross into the box before Alessia Russo tapped it in.

Five minutes later, the Tar Heels would put the ball into the back of the net and this time it would count. The equalizer occurred when Bridgette Andrzejewski got in behind the Princeton defense and rocketed a shot pass Natalie Grossi for the score.

North Carolina dominated large stretches of the second half, limited Princeton’s offense mainly to long-range shots that either when wide or were easily handled.

Mimi Asom, however, did put pressure on the Tar Heels early in the second half. The junior put on the jets to get around much of the Tar Heels defense and passed the ball to a teammate. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Asom put just a little too much on the pass and Leshnak was able to cover.

For the Tar Heels Andrzejewski remained the biggest threat as she forced Natalie Grossi to make two quality saves in the second half to keep the game level. Tar Heel Joanna Boyles had the last promising opportunity in regulation as the Tar Heels earned a free kick from about 35 yards out with less than three minutes remaining. The set piece specialist hit the crossbar as she was just inches away from the would-be game winner.

In the 99th minute of the match, Princeton found the game-winner against the run of play.  Outside back Natalie Larkins played a ball over the top to Abby Givens was able to get enough on it to direct towards goal despite pressure from Leshnak and Lotte Wubben-Moy. Wubben-Moy would give chase to keep it out of the net, but her efforts were in vain.

Princeton will face the winner of UCLA – Virginia in next weekend’s quarterfinals.

Duke 3-0 Texas

Imani Dorsey scored one of three Blue Devil goals in Duke’s 3-0 win over Texas.
(photo by Shane Lardinois)

Three different Blue Devils scored as Duke easily dispatched Texas 3-0 Sunday afternoon. Duke got off to a start reminiscent of its 7-0 shellacking of Oklahoma State Friday but the Texas defense kept the score from getting too lopsided. In the 3rd minute, Taylor Racioppi unlocked the defense with a well placed ball into Imani Dorsey.  Dorsey then confidently finished the ball far post for the tally.

Texas settled into the game a bit more after the first ten minutes as its ’ five person midfield was able to get make it more difficult for the Duke midfield to operate. Just after the half hour mark, the Blue Devils were able to double their lead when Kayla McCoy struck with a diving header. Ella Stevens set up the play with  a well-struck ball just over the Texas backline from outside the box.

Just before the half, Duke generated another great look as Rebecca Quinn got off a shot in the box on a feed from Dorsey but Nicole Curry was able to make the save for Texas.

In the second half, Duke maintained much of the possession in the second half but were only able to find the back of the net once in the final 45 minutes. That goal came the 65th minute when Stevens found Racioppi making a run and threaded the ball into the junior. Racioppi then put into the upper 90 for the score.  

In the end, a tired Longhorns die couldn’t muster much against the no. one seed. Texas managed just one shot on goal in the contest. Duke advances to face the winner of Baylor – Notre Dame next weekend.

South Carolina 1-0 Santa Clara

The No. 1 seed South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Santa Clara Broncos courtesy of a lone Savannah McCaskill goal early in the first half. The 1-0 scoreline was enough to advance the Gamecocks past Santa Clara and to the Elite Eight. 

McCaskill, the two-time reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year, put the Gamecocks up early, netting her eighth goal of the season in the match’s opening five minutes. Tatumn Milazzo sent in a long cross from the near flank, which sailed to Meghan Carrigan on the far side of the goal. Carrigan sent a forceful header on frame, but her shot was denied by the crossbar. However, the shot deflected right to McCaskill, who easily headed the rebound past Santa Clara keeper Melissa Lowder to give the Gamecocks the lead that they’d take with them throughout the rest of regulation.

South Carolina stayed on the front foot for much of the match, outshooting the Broncos, 9-3. The Gamecocks put three of those on frame, but Lowder made two big saves to prevent the Gamecocks from furthering their lead. In comparison, South Carolina’s Mikayla Krzeczowski only faced one shot on goal, which the sophomore keeper saved.

The Gamecocks will now host their Elite Eight match against the No. 3 seed Florida Gators.

Florida 1-0 Washington State

Deanne Rose scored the golden goal in double overtime to send the Florida Gators to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. (photo courtesy Florida Athletics)

After battling through over 100 minutes of scoreless action, a double-overtime golden goal by Deanne Rose was enough for Florida to defeat Washington State and advance to the 2017 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

Washington State had already pulled off a number of upsets this season, handing UCLA their first loss of the season before knocking No. 2 seed UCF out in the tournament’s first round. They gave Florida their toughest test of the tournament, staying neck-and-neck with the three seed throughout regulation. The two teams both took 11 shots in the match, although the Cougars put more of those on target, forcing Gator goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese to make four crucial saves to keep the Gators in the game.

On the other half of the field, Wazzu keeper Ella Dederick only faced two shots on target, one of which was in regulation that she saved. The second came in double overtime off the foot of Rose, who had previously sent the game winner inches high of the mark during the first overtime period. Rose redeemed herself and prevented the game from going to penalties when Lais Araujo sent a short diagonal ball to Rose, who beat her defender to go one-v-one with Lowder, ultimately beating the keeper with left footer.

Florida now advances to the NCAA quarterfinals, where they will take on SEC foe and No. 1 seed, South Carolina.

Stanford 1-0 Florida State

FSU’s Gloriana Villalobos and Stanford’s Jaye Boissiere compete in Stanford’s 1-0 win over the Seminoles. (photo courtesy FSU Athletics)

The top-ranked Stanford Cardinal punched their ticket to Elite Eight, defeating No. 4 seed Florida State, 1-0, on Sunday evening.

The match remained scoreless until late in the second half, when Tierna Davidson pushed up from her spot on the backline and blazed a trail down the near flank, ending her run just inside the box. There she slotted the ball over to Jordan DiBiasi, who settled with her left foot before blasting a shot with her right that snuck past Florida State goalkeeper Cassie Miller’s diving attempt at a save.

Although Miller conceded the goal late in the match, she nearly single-handedly kept the Seminoles in the game in one of the top performances of her life, holding the top-scoring offense to the one goal. Stanford was the dominant side throughout the full 90, taking 22 shots compared to Florida State’s 4. Eight of those were on target, but Miller tallied seven more saves to her career total.

Stanford now advances to the fourth round of the tournament, where they will face the Penn State Nittany Lions.

West Virginia 1-3 Penn State

Penn State scored three unanswered goals to take down last year’s tournament runners-up, the No. 2 seed West Virginia Mountaineers.

West Virginia scored first after a defensive battle between the two sides that took up the first half hour. However, Sh’Nia Gordon put the home side on the board in the 34th minute, sending a low shot through traffic and into the bottom right corner of the goal for the match’s opening goal.

The Mountaineers’ lead would be short-lived though, as Penn State came to life following Gordon’s strike. The Nittany Lions nearly scored off the following possession, but sophomore keeper Rylee Foster made a huge diving save to prevent the equalizer.

She wouldn’t be as lucky minutes later though, when Germany international Alina Ortega Jurado leveled the score in the 39th minute. Penn State would then take the lead in the final minutes of the opening half, with senior Elizabeth Ball scoring off a low-flying ball from distance.

Penn State all but put the game away in the 55th minute when Ball connected with Frannie Crouse for the final goal of the match. Although all three Penn State goals were scored by different players, Ball finished the night with a goal and an assist while Emily Ogle finished with two assists.

With the win, Penn State advances to the next round of the NCAA tournament, where they will take on the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal.

Baylor 3-2 Notre Dame

Senior Precious Akanyirige delivered the extra time game winner as the Baylor Bears advance to the tournament quarterfinals for the first time in program history.

Forward Lauren Piercy broke the deadlock late in the first half off of a feed from Aline De Lima. Piercy drove the ball into the back of the net from just outside the area. Piercy was extremely close to added another to the scoreboard just before the half. Normally, it’s the woodwork that keeps a razor close chance being converted, but in Piercy’s case, the referee concluded that halftime had indeed been reached before the ball crossed the line. The near-scoring chance was again set up by a beautiful pass from De Lima.

Less than two minutes into the second stanza, Baylor added another.  Irish Keeper Lexi Nicholas was able to stop a powerful shot taken by Piercy but gave up a rebound. Kennedy Brown was there to clean it up for the Bears.

In the 54th minute, Notre Dame struck back. Taylor Klawunder tallied for the first time this season. She took a shot just outside the penalty area that found its went just inside the right post for the tally.  Natalie Jacobs was credited with the assist.  Eva Hurm sent a centering pass to Jennifer Westendorf just outside the 18 yard box. Unfortunately, for the Irish, Westendorf would be injured in a challenge just five minutes and the team’s second leading scorer would be unable to continue.

The Bears’ offense definitely held the advance in the second half. By the end of regulation, Baylor would draw even with Notre Dame in the shots taken and lead in shots on goal. Baylor came close to scoring the game winner a couple of times in regulation including a shot by De Lima just over the crossbar in the 50th minute and another shot off the woodwork by the Bears in the 75th minute.

Just two minutes into extra time, the Bears nearly had the winner after a scrum in front of ND goal. The ball hit off the post and somehow the Notre Dame escaped. The Irish’s escape would be short lived as Akanyirige tapped the ball in for the winner after Notre Dame failed to clear a Piercy shot off a Caitlin Schwartz corner kick.

Baylor will now travel to Durham to face Duke in the quarterfinals.

UCLA 2-1 Virginia

For the second time on the weekend, Anika Rodriguez and Ashley Sanchez combined for the winning goal as UCLA advanced over Virginia 2-1 in Sunday’s final third round contest. Rodriguez’s goal came minutes after Cavalier Courtney Pedersen exited the game after being issued a second yellow card.

The game’s first two goals both came in a frantic sixth minute of action. The game’s first goal came after UCLA committed a foul in Virginia’s half of the field. On the ensuing free kick, a UCLA defender inadvertently headed the ball into the net.

UCLA knotted it up just 35 seconds later as Megan Reid was issued a card for a foul in the box. Jessie Fleming took the spot kick and finished just inside the right post to even the score at one.

The contest would remain deadlocked until late in the second half as the Cavalier defense managed to stymie the Bruins’ offense, which did enjoy an advantage in possession. Virginia’s hopes for a victory came unraveled in the 85th minute, however, when  Petersen received her second yellow. The booking came after Petersen tripped up Sanchez just outside the penalty area.

After going down a player, it didn’t take long for the Cavaliers to concede.  Four minutes later, Sanchez slipped a well timed ball to Rodriguez who put the ball in the for the tally.

With the win, the Bruins advance to host Princeton in next weekend’s quarterfinals.

Keep checking back as The Equalizer continues updating all of Sunday’s NCAA Tournament third round action. 

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