Underdogs were spitting seeds out left and right in the second round of the NCAA Tournament as no less than five teams were bounced by their unseeded opponents and 11 NSCAA Top 25 teams were weeded out over the match day. ACC teams were nowhere to be found in the body count, though, as all eight of the conference’s teams to enter the tournament are still standing going into the latter half of the weekend’s fixtures.
Here’s how this week’s remaining 32 fared:
Region 1 (Charlottesville, Va.)
Virginia (No. 1) 1, Georgetown 0 – It could’ve been “Gunfight at the OK Corral” with two of the top three most prolific offenses in the country meeting in Charlottesville, but Friday’s match between Virginia and Georgetown played out as the best team from the best conference in the country against the second-best team from maybe the seventh-best conference. With a swarming, fluid attack, the Cavaliers assaulted Georgetown from every angle while the bountiful Hoya offense wilted in the shadow of UVa’s underrated back field. The Georgetown back four (plus reinforcements from the midfield) valiantly circled the wagon train around the 18-yard perimeter, limiting Virginia to only 15 chances in the game despite a grossly-lopsided split in possession, mostly contested in the Hoya defensive third. Morgan Brian registered the game’s only goal in the 33rd minute as her long pass through the Hoya defense met Alexis Shaffer running toward the right endline in the box. The freshman cut the ball back for Brian following through at the top of the box, who then one-timed her shot hard and low just inside the right post. Indicative of the night as a whole for Georgetown, Hoya scoring star Daphne Corboz logged the first shot of the night with less than five minutes to play in the game (again, third-highest scoring offense in the country), but her shot didn’t even make it more than a few feet as it caromed off a defender.
Wake Forest 1, Penn State (No. 4) 0 – Coach Tony Da Luz might be the MacGyver of college soccer. Finding himself in a Katie Stengel-less attack, the ever-resourceful Da Luz experiments week-in and week-out to piece together a tenuous offense with duct tape and dental floss, but seemingly finds just the right tools to overcome the odds. Last week, senior forward Courtney Owens’ first career goal for the Deacons proved to be the decisive score in their first round win against Morehead State, and on Friday the game-winner came off the boot of another unlikely source, freshman Sarah Teegarden who also notched her first-ever goal for Wake. The rookie hit a stunning shot in the 81st minute as she ran up on a ball headed out of the box by the PSU defense, striking a fierce shot off the clearance from 30 yards out, just off the mitts of diving Nittany Lions’ keeper Britt Eckerstrom.
– ACC-rivals Virginia and Wake Forest will play on Sunday in Charlottesville at 5:00 p.m. The Cavaliers won the two teams’ earlier contest away in Winston-Salem 2-0 and hold a 5-3-1 record over the Demon Deacons at Klockner.
Michigan (No. 3) 3, Illinois State 0 – Second round hosts Michigan immediately had the visiting Redbirds against the ropes off freshman Madisson Lewis’s header two-and-a-half minutes into the game. The Wolverines blew past Illinois State through the rest of the half, forcing goalkeeper Aryn Newsom into six saves, but were unable to double their advantage. The Maize and Blue tightened the screws in the second half, taking an astonishing 20 shots over the course of the 45 minutes. Canadian forward Nkem Ezurike scored four minutes into the second period, cementing her name in the Wolverine record books as arguably the program’s greatest offensive player, adding the title of Career Points Leader (117) to the all-time goal-scoring record (49) which she established earlier in the season. To complement the senior’s outstanding season, a pair of rookies have been leading the team on both ends of the pitch as freshman goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin has started all 21 games for the Wolverines and recorded her 11th shutout of the season on Friday (tying the single-season mark) while Lewis’s goal was her fifth game-winner, best on the team.
Notre Dame 1, Western Michigan 0 – A comprehensive rout against the Mid-American Conference Broncos might have made for a more convincing result heading into Sunday’s match against Michigan, but Cari Roccaro’s goal in the 69th minute was the only dent the Irish could make on the board despite a 24-4 shot advantage.
– Michigan hosts Notre Dame for a third-round matchup as each team advances to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year. Although the two programs haven’t met since 2008, the Irish have dominated the series overall, holding a 13-2-1 advantage heading into Sunday’s match.
Region 2 (Chapel Hill, NC)
UCLA (No. 2) 3, Kentucky 0 – Last week UCLA scored under a minute into their first-round contest and on Friday they jumped out early again on visiting Kentucky as Caprice Dydasco’s left-footed strike from roughly 25 yards out in the fifth minute hardly gave the Wildcats a chance to get in the game. Sam Mewis assisted on the goal and led the Bruin attack from the midfield, taking six shots in the match with four on target. The Bruins pressed for ten shots through the first half, but the Wildcat defense held tight, keeping the home side off the board through the remainder of the half. With Stuart Pope out of the lineup due to injury, Kentucky were without their second-best point-scorer and Arin Gilliland shouldered most of the offensive burden in her absence, accounting for four out of the team’s five shots on the night. UCLA finally added to their tally as Courtney Proctor, coming on as a sub in the second half, scored in the 71st minute, receiving a quick pass from Mewis to drive through the defense then sending a shot into the left side of goal. Dydasco hit her second of the night and the season in the 80th minute to end UK’s tournament run for the second-straight year.
Stanford 1, South Carolina (No. 3) 0 (OT) – Stanford had a much harder time with their SEC opponent than their Pac-12 partners, UCLA. Although Stanford controlled much of the first half, the Cardinal were unable to put Gamecock goalie Sabrina D’Angelo under much pressure, forcing the Canadian to make only one save in the half. The second half saw the deadlock continue as each team took four shots, with D’Angelo’s crossbar saving South Carolina’s bacon as defender Natalie Griffen’s shot caromed off in the 78th minute. Stanford had a 3-1-2 record in overtime going into Friday’s match, so the Cardinal wasted little time mucking around as Taylor Uhl capitalized on a Carolina mis-clear in the box just over a minute into overtime to sink the golden goal.
– UCLA will face Stanford in the postseason for the fourth time in the last five years on Sunday with the Cardinal having taken all four of the previous contests. Earlier in the season, the Bruins defeated Stanford for the first time since 2008 and will get the opportunity to humble their bitter rivals again, this time on their home field.
Texas A&M (No. 4) 2, Texas Tech 2 (Texas A&M advance on penalties) – A renewed Big-12 rivalry took place on the neutral grounds of Fetzer Field on Friday and it took over 110 minutes to find a difference-maker between the in-state enemies. Knowing they were pitted against one of the best defenses in the country, Texas A&M advanced on the Red Raiders with wreckless abandon, taking 11 shots in the first half alone. Scoreless through the first 45, though, the contest opened up in the second half as both teams exchanged blows back-and-forth. Tech’s Briana Rohmer drew first blood just over a minute into the half as she ran through the Aggie defense and scored off a one-on-one with goalkeeper Jordan Day. A&M countered as towering forward Annie Kunz’s header, one of her eight shots off the bench, found the back of the net in the 61st minute, but Texas Tech’s star striker Janine Beckie put her side back on top almost a quarter-hour later with her team-leading 12th of the season. Shea Groom matched her Aggie strike partner’s output with eight shots of her own and finally struck gold on a header with just over six minutes left in the match as TAMU became only the second team this season to put more than a single goal past the Tech defense. At the end of regulation, A&M had put up 32 shots to the Red Raiders’ 11, but both teams were knotted at two goals each. With no golden goal forthcoming in overtime, the two sides took the tie to PK’s and Day blocked the Red Raiders’ third and fifth attempts in the shootout to send her team to their 12th Sweet 16 round.
North Carolina (No. 1) 4, Indiana 0 – Fears over Tar Heel crown jewel Crystal Dunn’s hamstring injury were allayed on Friday when the reigning MAC Hermann winner came off the bench in the 34th minute to break a scoreless deadlock against Indiana within three minutes of her arrival. As they did in the team’s victory the previous week over Liberty, UNC entered halftime leading by a single goal despite their statistical dominance, but heaped on three more after the break to notch their second consecutive 4-0 win. Amber Munerlyn, Kealia Ohai and Paige Nielsen all accounted for the scoring in the second half, while defender Satara Murray contributed to the scoring with a pair of assists.
-Sunday’s third-round contestants UNC and TAMU have a long history, playing 15 times since 1994. A&M have only been able to best the Tar Heels on two occasions, including their last matchup, a 4-3 overtime win in Durham at the Duke Nike Classic. The last time the two teams met in the postseason was a 2008 quarterfinal thriller in Chapel Hill, a double-overtime contest that saw the Tar Heels come away 2-1 winners on their way to a national championship.
Region 3 (Blacksburg, Va.)
Virginia Tech (No. 1) 1, West Virginia 0 – A rain-soaked battle of the No. 4 and No. 12 teams in the country featured a gritty, evenly-matched fight as many expected, with just a single shot on goal through the first 45. The opening quarter-hour of the second half was largely the same as neither team were able to squeeze off a shot. The Hokies pressed higher up the pitch throughout the half, though, and began to find daylight in the 59th minute as they tried their luck with a pair of shots including Danielle King’s crossbar shot. It was a series of pressure that would ultimately lead to the game’s only goal as freshman Murielle Tiernan scored a minute later from close range off a pass from Taylor Antolino. The Mountaineers threw everything they had at the Hokie goal over the closing minutes, playing two in the back as center back Kadeisha Buchanan pushed into the midfield, but even the powerful defender’s best effort couldn’t net the equalizer and the Hokies, defeating their fifth ranked opponent this season, move on to the Sweet 16 for only the third time in school history.
Santa Clara (No. 4) 2, Boston University 1 – The Terriers came into Friday’s match boasting the lowest goals-against average in the country on the strength of 16 shutouts this season, but it wouldn’t be enough to withstand Santa Clara’s explosive scoring triplets and the NCAA’s second-best offense. Mexican international Sofia Huerta got the ball rolling 97 seconds into the match as she took fellow forward Morgan Marlborough’s pass at the edge of the box. With her back to goal, Huerta whipped to the outside around the closing BU defender and quickly fired a hard, low shot to the near post from 15-yards out to claim her 15th goal of the season. Kylie Strom evened the game up for Boston U minutes before halftime and the game stayed level until Huerta and Marlborough combined again for the game-winner in the 76th minute. Huerta, again driving in from the right side of the box, struck a shot that was blocked, but Nebraska-transfer Marlborough was lurking in front of goal to collect the rebound and seal the victory for the Broncos. Marlborough’s goal was also her 15th of the year, tying Huerta for the team lead and, along with midfielder Julie Johnston’s 12, the trio have combined for a whopping 42 goals.
– Santa Clara advance to face top seed Virginia Tech on Sunday. The two Top-10 teams have only met once, back in 2005, and it didn’t end well for the Hokies as the Broncos trumped Va Tech 3-1 in Blacksburg.
St. John’s 0, Arkansas 1 – Razorback substitute Claire Kelley scored the game’s only goal near the end of a first half in which Rachel Daly and the Red Storm offense didn’t manage a single shot. The freshman’s 41st-minute strike from distance capped a half in which the Razorbacks dominated possession over their Big East opponents. Daly, the nation’s top-scorer heading into Friday’s contest with 23 goals, and her team fought back in the second half, posting nine shots as they tried to extend a dream season, but Arkansas closed the Englishwoman down, holding Daly to just two shots in the half on their way to recording only their eighth shutout of the season. Ranked just on the edge of the Top 25 earlier this season, the victory marks Arkansas’ first Sweet 16 appearance in school history.
Duke 1, Florida (No.2) 0 – Hindsight is 20/20 and Florida’s decision not to host the second round of the tournament came back to haunt them as the Blue Devils, riding the momentum of last week’s courageous penalty-kick win on the road at Colorado College, returned to Durham to upset the No. 2-seeded and No. 6-ranked Gators. Center back Natashi Anasi not only led the defense in containing freshman phenom Savannah Jordan, she scored the game-winner as well. Twenty-one minutes into the game, Duke’s superlative senior class combined for the game’s first and only goal as Mollie Pathman’s corner kick found Kim DeCesare on the far end of the box. Ever-dominant in the air, DeCesare headed the ball back toward the center of the box where Anasi shuffled back to get her left boot on it for her second goal of the season. Although Florida posted seven shots on goal, matching the home side’s overall shot total, the Blue Devil defense, anchored by goalkeeper Megan Thomas, were up to the task of preserving the lead.
– Duke haven’t played SEC-side Arkansas since the two programs’ only meeting back in 1994, a 3-1 home win for the Blue Devils. Both teams will meet on Sunday at Koskinen as Anasi and her fellow seniors hope to advance to their third consecutive quarterfinal appearance.
Region 4 (Tallahassee, Fl.)
Nebraska (No. 2) 1, Boston College 4 – The Eagles simply bowled the home side over on Friday, making another strong case for ACC dominance as the conference’s sixth-best team demolished the best the Big Ten could offer. Nebraska’s Double-J attack of Jaycie Johnson and Jordan Jackson were no match for BC’s thoroughbreds as McKenzie Meehan and Stephanie McCaffrey combined for 15 shots on the day, three more than the entire ‘Husker team. Ironically, three of Boston College’s four goals would come from beyond the Eagles’ prolific tandem, with substitute Hayley Dowd opening the scoring in the 25th minute off a shot from an acute angle from the right side into the opposite corner of the net. The game would stay close despite a constant barrage from the BC offense until the 74th when Meehan would hit her 19th goal of the season and Gibby Wagner would tack on another less than ten minutes later, making Mayme Conroy’s lone Nebraska goal in the 85th minute essentially meaningless. Lauren Bernard capped the scoring with less than three minutes left as the Eagles tied their highest output in an NCAA tournament with four goals.
Portland (No.3) 3, Illinois 4 (OT) – If you cringe every time an announcer espouses the dangers of the infamously-unstable 2-0 lead, turn away from this one, folks. On a snowy stage in Lincoln, the Pilots proved the cliche true, riding a two-goal advantage into halftime before folding like a house of cards in the second 45. Following first-half goals from Micaela Capelle and Danica Evans, UP seemed to be cruising to their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2009, but, with one of the nation’s leading scorers in Janelle Flaws and national team midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo on the other side of the ball, there’s simply too much firepower to count the Illini out. Portland were already the victim of a two-goal collapse earlier in the season when they suffered a deflating September loss at the hands of Wake Forest. Illinois weren’t in unfamiliar territory themselves, having staged a similarly improbable comeback earlier this season in a bizarre 5-4 overtime win on the road against Louisville in late August. On Friday, Illini fortunes began to turn early in the second half as midfield scoring talisman Vanessa DiBernardo hit one of her trademark cannon-shots from distance eight minutes into the half. The Pilots moved the yardstick a little further as Parkes Kendrick scored her first of the season to regain the two-goal lead, but the Orange Crush simply couldn’t be contained. Illinois overwhelmed the Pilot back line throughout the half, registering 15 of their 24 shots in the second period, and defensive mistakes would ultimately undo the seventh-ranked Pilots as Flaws and DiBernardo each converted a pair of penalty kicks in the 69th and 84th minutes to draw level. Tied at three-all in overtime, Flaws would strike again as senior Megan Pawloski nipped the ball off the Pilots in the midfield and drove toward goal, before dishing off to Flaws who coolly slotted the game-winner in for her 23rd goal of the season.
– Having each posted impressive four-goal results on Friday, Illinois and Boston College will square off for the first time in Sunday’s third-round draw at Nebraska’s campus.
Colorado 2, BYU 1 – After knocking off 15th-ranked Denver last weekend, the unranked Buffs took care of No. 19 BYU on Thursday, scoring two goals just over half-an-hour into the game, then hanging on to secure the victory as the Cougars desperately pressed to catch up. BYU looked to overrun their opponents early, taking four shots in the first ten minutes before Colorado could get a handle on the game. The Buffaloes withstood the opening pressure, though, and scored just over 20 minutes in as Emily Paxton netted only her second of the season off a corner kick service that fell to the sophomore inside the box. BYU regained possession for an extended spell, but couldn’t put any of their shots away, rueing their lack of finishing as the Pac-12 side scored again in the 34th minute. A blazer from Carly Bolyard from the top of the perimeter proved too hot for Cougar keeper Erica Owens to handle as the ball went through her hands for her first goal of the season and, ultimately, the game-winner.
Florida State (No. 1) 3, Ole Miss 1 – FSU’s mighty defense smothered a high-octane Rebel attack, rendering the dynamic duo of Rafa Souza and Mandy McCalla shotless through the game’s entirety. The Seminoles went up by two goals in the first half with an opening score in the 27th minute from Dagny Brynjarsdottir while defender Isabella Schmid and midfielder Jamia Fields combined on a quick-strike counter off an Ole Miss corner to notch the follow-up goal four minutes before the end of the half. Ole Miss pulled one back with 20 minutes left in the contest as Rebs’ defender Gretchen Harknett unleashed a rocket past keeper Kelsey Wys. Eight minutes later Brynjarsdottir struck again, scoring her team-leading 12th of the season with a header off defender Megan Campbell’s soaring cross from the left flank. The assist for Campbell was the Irish international’s tenth of the season, also tops on the Seminoles.
– Florida State will play Colorado at noon on Saturday in Tallahassee in the two programs’ first meeting.
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