The opening round of the NCAA Tournament ended 32 teams’ seasons and featured a Jekyll-and-Hyde pair of matchdays.
Friday’s contests were, by and large, a bloodbath for visiting teams, with the hosts outscoring their opponents 55-5. Western Michigan’s upset of No. 2-seeded Marquette and Arkansas’s away victory over Oklahoma State were standouts on a day that featured a 9-0 pummeling, three 5-0 finishes, two hat-tricks, one four-goal performance from a freshman, 14 shutouts (out of 17 total games) and only one overtime thriller.
On Saturday, things got crazy: Four games ended in penalty kicks (with the visitors winning three of the four), three Top 25 schools were eliminated by their underdog opponents and only four of the 15 games ended with more than two goals scored.
Not surprisingly, all eight ACC teams advanced (four are top seeds in their region) as did all six SEC schools. The Pac-12 didn’t fare so well, as three of their six teams were beaten and the Big Ten lost three of their eight participants.
Here’s the breakdown of results, by region:
Region 1 (Charlottesville, Va.)
Virginia (1) 5, Saint Francis 0 – The usual suspects featured in UVa’s rout of Saint Francis, with Morgan Brian opening the scoring and sophomore Makenzy Doniak netting a hat-trick, the first of her career. Super sub Brittany Ratcliffe scored her 12th of the year to cap the scoring and the defense stymied star forward and NCAA points leader Tesa McKibben as the Red Flash senior registered only two shots all match. The win sets up a second-round showdown of two of the NCAA’s most prolific offenses as Virginia takes on Georgetown.
Georgetown 2, La Salle 0 – Hosting their first tournament round in program history, Georgetown scored a goal in each half then hung on for their 10th shutout of the season. Next Friday, Georgetown heads south to Charlottesville to take on No. 1 seed Virginia.
Wake Forest 2, Morehead State 0 – Wake has been doing just enough to win in the absence of their key offensive components and on Saturday they got a game-winner from senior Courtney Owen, the forward’s first goal of her career with the Deacs, to defeat Morehead State. Riley Ridgik contributed to the build-up on Owen’s goal, then hit one of her own less than a minute later, sending Wake through to the second round where they will face Penn State in Charlottesville.
Penn State (4) 3, Monmouth 0 – Last year’s College Cup finalists got off to a strong start on Friday with two goals from Tani Costa. Starting only her seventh game of the season, Costa scored six minutes into each half while defender Whitney Church added the third midway through the second half to ice the game away. Penn State returns to Klockner, the site of a pre-conference beatdown at the hands of UVa, to play Wake Forest on Friday.
Michigan (3) 4, Milwaukee 0 – Nkem Ezurike netted half of the Wolverines’ four goals and the Canadian forward moved within a point of tying the career points record at Ann Arbor with 115. Ezurike also established a new school record for NCAA Tournament goals at her school with four. Michigan moves on to the Round of 32 and, with No. 2 seed Marquette out of the way, the third-seeded Wolverines will host the next round against Illinois State.
Louisville 1, Illinois State 1 (Illinois State advances 4-3 on PK’s) – A battle between the Redbirds and the Cardinals went the distance with a penalty kick shootout finally deciding the outcome. Lexie Niedoba scored for Louisville 30 seconds after she took to the field as a substitute late in the first half. After taking only two shots in the first half, ISU found the leveler eight minutes into the second half and both teams traded blows for the remainder of the period, taking a combined 20 shots over 45 minutes. Playing away from home, ISU would eventually win it after goalkeeper Aryn Newsom fended off a couple of Louisville PK’s, sending the Redbirds into the second round for the first time in school history.
Notre Dame 4, Iowa 1 – Iowa made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and it looked like an upset in the making after Cloe Lacasse was taken down in the box in the first five minutes, giving the Hawkeyes a penalty kick which they converted to go up by a goal early in the game. It would be about all the offense Iowa could manage, though, as the Irish outshot the visitors 32-4. Morgan Andrews led the Irish comeback, scoring two goals in the first 45 to take the lead at the half, while defenders Elizabeth Tucker and Katie Naughton put Iowa in the rear-view mirror with a goal apiece in the second half. Notre Dame play Western Michigan at Ann Arbor in the next round.
Marquette (2) 0, Western Michigan 1 – Friday’s biggest stunner was Western Michigan’s upset of reigning Big East champs Marquette. The Golden Eagles had nearly tripled the visiting Broncos offensive output, outshooting their opponents 17-6 and 5-2 in shots on goal, but it was Aubrey Sudomier’s shot with six minutes left in the contest that sank Marquette’s season, dropping them at home for the first time in over two years. WMU advance to the next round for the second time in program history (the first time came in 2003) and the MAC side will face three-time national champions Notre Dame.
Region 2 (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
UCLA (2) 3, San Diego State 0 – Coach Amanda Cromwell admitted in an interview that the Bruins are coming into the tournament with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. There’s not much they can do about their two-seed in the tournament, despite being ranked second in the country on Selection Monday, except roll up their sleeves and beat a path to Chapel Hill. Samantha Mewis wasted little time declaring the Bruins’ intentions, scoring 43 seconds into the match and sophomore Taylor Smith doubled the lead in the 30th minute. Kodi Lavrusky hit a bending shot early in the second half, while the defense held on through some tense moments to earn UCLA’s 14th shutout of the season. The Bruins host next weekend’s batch of games, beginning with a repeat of 2012’s second-round fixture against SEC side Kentucky.
Kentucky 3, Ohio State 1 – It looked like a win was only a matter of time for the Wildcats after they dominated the Buckeyes in the first half, but Kentucky had nothing to show after 45 minutes. Senior forward Caitlin Landis finally made an impression in the scoreline six minutes into the second half and Arin Gilliland struck three minutes later after winning a tackle in the midfield and driving straight through the defense to net the eventual game-winner. Ohio State pulled one back in the 73rd minute, but Kentucky’s Zoe Swift took a feed from Gilliland and again ran through the OSU defense to put the game out of reach. The win marks the second consecutive year the Wildcats have advanced to the Round of 32, and, for the second consecutive year, UK will head west to LA for a daunting matchup with UCLA.
Stanford 1, Cal State Fullerton 0 – Goalless in the last nine games and relegated to the substitute’s role through the last eight, Minnesota transfer Taylor Uhl came through for Stanford in her first start since the Cardinal’s early-October loss to UCLA. The forward headed a pass off the crossbar 14 minutes into the game, but was able to settle her own rebound in traffic and take another shot for the game’s only goal. The Stanford offense pressed for a more comfortable lead as the Titans never looked like giving up, but the lone goal proved to be just enough to move the Cardinal on to Westwood for the second round. The coming round looks like déjà vu all over again, as Stanford will play South Carolina for the second year in a row with a likely rematch against UCLA (for the second year in a row) awaiting the victor on Sunday.
South Carolina (3) 5, Furman 0 – Lighting up in-state foe Furman, the Gamecocks posted their highest goal tally of the season off a brace from Coryn Bajema. Like conference pals Kentucky, South Carolina will also face a familiar Pac-12 side in the second round as they travel west to face Stanford, the team that eliminated the Gamecocks from the 2012 tournament.
Texas A&M (4) 1, Utah 0 (O.T) – It took a golden goal from Allie Bailey to finally break down a resilient Utah defense after the teams played two scoreless halves. All but three of the Aggies’ starting 11 played the full 92 while star forward Annie Kunz logged 40 minutes from the bench. The Aggies’ victory sends them all the way to Chapel Hill to play their former Big 12 rivals from Lubbock, Texas Tech.
Texas Tech 3, Minnesota 0 – Jessica Fuston’s opening goal in the ninth minute put TTU up early as the senior hit the upper-90 just beyond the reach of the Minnesota keeper. Scoring leader Janine Beckie netted a brace with a pair of hard shots from the edge of the box as Texas Tech cruised past the Gophers. The Red Raiders will face Texas A&M as both Lone Star State teams advance to the second round.
Indiana 1, DePaul 0 – The Hoosiers got a goal from freshman Veronica Ellis in the 76th minute to defeat the Big East side. Indiana move on to Chapel Hill to face No. 1-seed North Carolina in the next round.
North Carolina (1) 4, Liberty 0 – Kealia Ohai scored in the 15th minute, but the Tar Heels were unable to put any of their other nine first-half shots in the back of the net. Ohai led the charge in the second half with a goal five minutes into the half while Paige Nielsen and Cameron Castleberry followed with a goal each. As the No. 1 seed, UNC will host next weekend, opening with a Friday contest against Indiana.
Region 3 (Blacksburg, Va.)
Virginia Tech (1) 2, UMBC 0 – Not the gaudiest of scorelines from Friday’s results, but the Hokies dominated UMBC, outshooting the Retrievers 20-1. Tech’s bench got the job done with a first-half goal from sub Shannon Mayrose in the 40th minute and a 61st-minute shot from Ashley Manning. Va Tech roll out the red carpet for a marquee second-round fixture against Big 12 Champion West Virginia on Friday.
West Virginia 0, Rutgers 0 (West Virginia advances on PK’s 3-0) – Inexplicably snubbed after winning the Big 12 double, West Virginia have a real mountain to climb as an unseeded team in the tournament and they started with a thrilling victory over Rutgers in front of a standing-room only home crowd in Morgantown. The goalkeepers were pivotal to keeping both sides scoreless throughout the match as the two teams combined for 43 shots on the night, but the game remained scoreless after 110 minutes. With the Scarlet Knights having played to PK’s in their previous two games, WVU had the Rutgers players well-scouted and keeper Sara Keane denied all three attempts while her Mountaineer teammates were flawless from the spot. The Mountaineers are in Blacksburg on Friday facing host team Virginia Tech for soccer’s version of the Black Diamond Trophy and the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
Boston University 1, Harvard 0 – Facing the Ivy League side for the second time in just over a month, the Terriers struck the game-winner in the 76th minute as freshman Erica Kosienski’s team-leading eighth goal of the season lifted BU over Harvard. Boston University advances for the first time in almost a decade and plays No. 4 seed Santa Clara in the second round.
Santa Clara (4) 2, Cal 1 – In a matchup more appropriate for a later round, Santa Clara prevailed in a battle of two west coast powerhouses. Aly Bergel scored the opening goal off a low free kick that just dribbled through the arms of Cal keeper Emily Kruger. The Bears leveled early in the second half off senior Emi Lawson’s header to the opposite post and nearly went ahead as Cal caromed a rocket shot off the crossbar. Mexican international Sofia Huerta would have the final say, though, hitting the game-winner in the 70th minute off a breakaway run to send Santa Clara off to Virginia for a second-round matchup against Boston University.
UCF (3) 1, St. John’s 3 – Central Florida got shocked in a big way by the Red Storm after going up 1-0 through Auburn transfer Tatiana Coleman. St. John’s came back less than two minutes later off a goal from Miranda Haraughty and pulled ahead when a UCF mistake led to an own-goal. Sophomore Rachel Daly put the game out of reach, scoring in the 66th minute for her 23rd goal of the season, tops in the NCAA. St. John’s will meet up with another underdog victor on Friday as they face Arkansas at Duke University.
Oklahoma State 1, Arkansas 2 – The Razorbacks went on the road to Stillwater and came away with an upset victory over Oklahoma State. Arkansas took a lead into the half with a goal from sophomore Lindsey Mayo, but Madison Mercado struck a hard shot in the opening minutes of the second half from outside the box to equalize. Arkansas, playing in the school’s first-ever tournament game, scored the game-winner in the 70th minute as Tyler Allen’s free kick downed the Cowgirls, moving the visitors on to the second round against Big East tournament finalists St. John’s.
Colorado College 1, Duke 1 (Duke advances on PK’s 4-3) – Duke have persevered through countless injury setbacks all season and the team rose to the challenge again, fighting off a tough Colorado College team on the road to prevail in their first-round matchup. As many as four Duke players came off the pitch with injuries in Saturday’s contest, but coach Robbie Church managed to patch a team together that would see the game through two overtime periods tied 1-1. Keeper Ali Kershner, benched and struggling to find consistency in net for much of the season, redeemed herself as Church subbed the redshirt sophomore in for the PK round. Kershner stopped two Cowgirl shots and Kelly Cobb scored the final PK, sending the battered but courageous Blue Devil side on to host a second-round match with Florida.
Florida (2) 2, Jacksonville 0 – Florida lost midfield engine Havana Solaun in the SEC Championship match to an ACL tear, but the Gator train kept rolling, pounding the Jacksonville goal with 14 shots on target. Right back Tessa Andujar’s 20-yard bomb from an acute angle outside the box put Florida up 30 minutes into the game and freshman Meggie Dougherty-Howard struck off a corner kick in the 57th minute to give Florida more than enough to advance. Florida did not bid to host the next round and will travel north to Koskinen Stadium to meet unseeded second-round host Duke
Region 4 (Tallahassee, Fl.)
Nebraska (2) 4, Southeastern Louisiana 0 – Jaycie Johnson scored all four goals for Nebraska, becoming only the fifth player and the only freshman in tournament history to score four in a game. Nebraska’s next match comes at home on Friday against Boston College.
Boston College 2, Northeastern 0 – McKenzie Meehan scored her 18th goal of the season in the seventh minute to net the game-winner and move the Eagles to the second round. Meehan’s score tied the BC school record for goals in a season and she’ll have a chance to set the record as the Eagles face Big Ten side Nebraska on Friday.
Washington State 0, Illinois 0 (Illinois advances on PK’s 3-1) – Cold, wet and muddy conditions set the stage for a dramatic upset in Pullman as an Illinois side that got in the tournament by the skin of their teeth defeated the Pac-12’s second-place team. The Cougars outshot the visiting Illini 29-10, but couldn’t find a way past keeper Claire Wheatley, ultimately being eliminated on PK’s for the second consecutive year. Injured for most of the season, Vanessa DiBernardo sank the decisive kick and her side will face Portland in Nebraska.
Portland (3), Seattle 0 – A scoreless first half at Merlo could’ve gone to either team as both sides had decent chances, despite the Pilots’ slight statistical advantage. The second half went more the home side’s way and Portland eventually produced a goal as Ellie Boon, mading an endline run, cut the ball back to the center of the box where Danica Evans easily side-footed the shot from close range. Center back Amanda Frisbie added to her goal tally in the 89th minute, converting a penalty kick for her eighth of the season as the Pilots pack their bags for a midwest match against Illinois.
Denver (4) 0, Colorado 1 – Denver met the in-state rival Buffs for the second time this season and lost only their second game of the year as Colorado redeemed their earlier 0-3 loss to the Pioneers. Scoreless through 84 minutes, a hard Denver tackle just outside the upper-left corner of the box set up a free kick for Colorado. Forward Anne Stuller’s shot deflected high off the top of the Pioneer wall, wrong-footing Denver keeper Cassidy Rey as the ball looped up and into the opposite corner for the game’s only goal. The Buffs face Utah neighbors BYU on the other side of the country as they meet at the FSU campus for Thursday’s second-round matchup.
BYU 4, Weber State 0 – An own goal in the eighth minute didn’t help Weber State’s cause and the Cougars piled on three more to brush away their Big Sky opponents. Niki Fernandes and Collette Jepson Smith added the second and third goals while another Wildcat defensive error late in the second half led to a sending off and a PK goal for freshman Ella Johnson. BYU’s advancement means the next round of the tournament will be a Thursday/Saturday weekend and the Cougars will meet Colorado in Tallahassee.
Ole Miss 9, Jackson State 0 – It was a banner night in Oxford as the Rebels hosted their first NCAA game in program history and advanced to the second round of the tourney for the first time in a decade with a jaw-dropping nine-goal output. Rafaelle Souza’s hat-trick led the way for Ole Miss and the senior’s three goals established a new career record of 44 at the school. The Rebs will travel to Tallahassee next, facing No. 1 seed Florida State.
Florida State (1) 5, South Alabama 0 – Midfielder Carson Pickett scored twice for the Seminoles as they dispatched South Alabama easily. Irish international Megan Campbell continues to confound defenses with her fabled slingshot throw-ins, assisting through one on center back Kassey Kallman’s header for the second goal. The left back’s most majestic long-range effort of the night, though, was a free kick for the game’s third score: A 45-yard cross into the box which sailed over the goalkeeper’s hands and into the far corner of the net. The Seminoles roll out the red carpet for Ole Miss on Friday, pitting their stingy defense against the Rebels’ potent scoring combo of Rafa Souza and Mandy McCalla.
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