NCAA men's weekend review
By Ryan Harmanis, D3soccer.com
|Ben Applefield and
Tyler Savonen combined for the game winning goal for Brandeis on
Photo by Sportspix/Mike Tureski.
Upsets, blow-outs, and overtime matches make for a great weekend in DIII soccer. Here is our review on the weekend in men's NCAA second round action.
Potential Cinderella Lycoming saw its season come to an end in a 4–0 loss to No. 2 Rutgers-Camden. The Scarlet Raptors avoided the post-bye struggles of others by scoring three first half goals, capping the game with Mike Ryan’s 20th goal of the season in the second half.
Camden’s reward is a matchup with battle-tested No. 7 York (Pa.), who posted its second straight overtime victory with a 2–1 win over No. 4 Stevens. The Ducks will be left to rue an inability to close out the game, as they entered the final 15 minutes clinging to a 1–0 lead. York will (most likely) head to Rutgers riding high and boasting several top-10 wins on the season.
The bottom half of the region would feature two battle-tested teams. No. 13 Montclair State’s seniors will bring an 11–3 all-time tournament record to the Sectional after holding off No. 11 Carnegie Mellon 1–0. The Red Hawks put forth an impressive defensive effort to keep out CMU despite failing to fire a single shot in the second half. Montclair’s opponent will be No. 10 Rochester, who eliminated Oberlin with a comfortable 3–0 win.
No. 6 Loras faced a familiar foe on Sunday at the Rock Bowl, having already beaten Luther 3–0 during the regular season. Sunday’s matchup played out quite differently, with the Duhawks needing a 5–3 penalty kick victory after a 1–1 draw to keep dreams of a first national championship alive. Loras will face one of the tournament’s biggest surprises in Westminster, who made a first-half goal stand up in defeating Gustavus Adolphus 1–0. The Blue Jays could have been satisfied with a first tournament win over MIAC tournament champion Carleton, but instead continued a record-setting season by upsetting the MIAC regular season winners.
After No. 24 Wartburg took out Hope with an overtime screamer on Saturday, No. 8 Trinity (Tx.) rounded out the Midwest with a 4–0 win over Puget Sound. Trinity will enter its fourth straight Sweet 16 with sights on a first Final Four appearance since 2007.
When the brackets were released, neutrals could be forgiven for salivating over a potential section with perhaps the three most storied Division III programs in No. 1 Ohio Wesleyan, No. 3 Messiah and No. 14 Wheaton (Ill.). Alas, the NCAA tournament is a fickle friend, as Kenyon downed Wheaton and Rose-Hulman shocked the soccer world by finishing its only shot on goal in a 1–0 victory over the Battling Bishops.
Messiah was severely punished for its conference semifinal exit by being forced to go on the road in perhaps the toughest region. However, the defending champions find themselves in an enviable position after a 12-minute first half flurry propelled the Falcons past No. 9 Salisbury 3–0.
The final Sweet 16 participant in the East will be No. 19 Franklin & Marshall after the Diplomats downed No. 22 Dickinson 3–0. Franklin & Marshall followed Messiah’s lead with three goals in three minutes, including tallies only 12 seconds apart. The most impressive aspect of this victory was not the score line, but rather the fact that this was F&M’s third victory over Dickinson this season.
New England Region
Unfortunately, the New England region was relatively devoid of excitement on Sunday. No. 20 Brandeis played a tight game with Roger Williams but held the Hawks to only three shots on goal in a 1–0 victory. Western New England had an upset in mind going into halftime with a 1–0 lead over Williams, but the Ephs launched an astonishing 23 shots in the second half to run away with a 4–1 victory. The final matchup of the Sweet 16 was never in doubt, as No. 5 Amherst took out Gordon 5–0 and No. 15 St. Lawrence blew the doors off Wheaton (Mass.) 8–0. This sets up one of the best matches of the Sweet 16, as both teams have been rolling for the last three weeks.