NCAA Friday: the field narrows
On Friday evening, the bracket continued its work in getting to a champion as five teams entered the Elite 8, the quarterfinal round of the NCAA post-season tournament. Cold weather and a strong wind impacted much of the play in the midwest as the matches got underway.
At Redlands (men)
Calvin continued its march through the post-season with a penalty kick round win over No. 15 Redlands, and will now face Texas-Tyler on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
The Knights stunned the Redlands crowd early on with a goal in the first 24 seconds of play. Sophomore Zach Willis broke up a pass deep in the Bulldog's half and nailed a shot for a meaningful early lead. It proved to be a key conversion as Calvin would be unable to score again.
Redlands converted on their best opportunity when senior Jamie Griffin tied the match with his successful penalty kick early on the second half. Sophomore keeper Andreas Silva made a handful of crucial saves late in the match to keep the Bulldogs alive. In a real offensive battle, Calvin lead in shots 27-18, but on goal, the margin was tighter as Redlands nailed 7 to Calvin's 12.
Redlands ends the season undefeated in SCIAC play and one of the best seasons in program history at 20-3-2.
Earlier, Randolph continued to enjoy their storybook post-season by taking a 1-0 first half lead over Texas-Tyler. Sophomore Tyler Gilcrest scored in the 37th minute for the Wildcats. After the half, senior Victor Almendariz evened the match with his goal for the Patriots, assisted by Elijah Shipman. The Patriots continued to press late in the match, but outstanding goalkeeping by Carter Smith kept Randolph in the match, including a save on a PK attempt.
It was Shipman who won the match for Tyler with his overtime goal off a rebound, as Texas-Tyler edged Randolph 2-1, moving on to face Calvin in the quarterfinals. Randolph ends their program best season with 18 wins, a national ranking, and a thrid round appearence in the NCAA post-season tournament.
At Ohio Wesleyan (men)
Hope College used a second half goal to tie, and a round of well-placed penalties to move into the Elite 8 and a date with the host Bishops on Sunday at 7:00 pm.
Luther College looked to continue its unlikely run into the sectionals against a equially tenacious Hope squad. in Hope's second round match, the Dutchmen needed a goal with 19 seconds to play in order to advance, while Luther had edged by St. Olaf 1-0. So both sides were used to a match that could slide either direction.
Luther freshman Stephen Fernandes (Wheaton Academy High School) scored for the Norsemen off a corner kick by James Slauson in the 34th minute for the first half lead. Luther had been pressing but couldn't get any of their five first half shots on the mark, but shot number six made the early difference. Hope mustered three shots but missed the mark as well.
Senior Shaun Groetsema drew the match in the 75th minute when he converted a pentaly kick for the Dutchmen. Another close race for the next step in the bracket. And as regulation ended, both sides maintained a sense of parity with 10 and 11 total shots for Hope and Luther. Overtime ended with a handful of chances for both teams, but none converted for the win. After nine rounds of penalty kicks, the Dutchmen finally broke through with a 6-5 win in the PK round with a save by Logan Neil. Neil had two saves in the PK round and three in the match.
Late in the first half, junior Cameron Johnson headed in a ball from senior Abrim Mueller to give the eighth-ranked Polar Bears a 1-0 lead at the half. 90 seconds later, and with only 12 seconds showing on the half, the Polar Bears made it 2-0 on an unassisted goal by senior Greg Stawicki off a loose ball in the box. Ohio Northern had the best of offensive play in the half, taking seven shots to the Boshops' two and taking six corners to one.
Finding themselves down two goals, the host Bishops needed a surge to keep their San Antonio hopes alive, and that surge began in the 70th minute when senior Mott Bonfini scored off a nice pass combination with Wall. Five minutes later, the Wesleyan surge continued as freshman Colton Bloecher served a ball into the box and set up sophomore Matt Shadoan for the second goal. And fittingly, the senior All-American Wall sealed the deal with his unassisted goal in the 85th minute. As part of the stunning come back, the Bishops lead 15-7 in shots with six on goal, and took four corners to two.
At Wheaton (women)
The Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks have made the most of their first appearence in the NCAA post-season tournament, playing through two opponents and into the Sweet Sixteen. But the experience came to abrupt end in a 4-1 loss to Wheaton.
|Wheaton's Kristen Clark and Carin Northuis defend against Whitewater's Emily Gerber Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3 photography.com|
That Whitewater deserved to be in the third round showed up in the opening minutes of play against Wheaton, as the Warhawks dominated, establishing an early ability to transition into the Thunder end of the field. Whitewater was quick to the ball, forcing Wheaton on their heals through the 10th minute, until the Thunder responded with offensive pressure of their own. And in the 19th minute, this pressure broke the Warhawk defense as freshman Anna Seabolt put the Thunder ahead 1-0 as she headed in a ball just past the reach of the keeper. Seniors Katelyn Kishkunas and Jaime Orewiler assisted on the goal.
While Whitewater continued the their own pressure, few of their shots made it through the defense.
In the 29th minute, Orewiler took a ball out of the air from junior Val Lelle and freshman Sarah Guidera, settled, turned, and directed a hard shot from eight yards. Minutes later, Seabolt scored again off a pass from junior Keri Shannon to make it 3-0. Senior Ali Kopelman scored just after the half when she converted on a pass from Seabolt.
Whitewater never let up and finally found success when sophomore Jessica Allemang scord off senior Emily Gerber's cross in the 57th minute. The Warhawks continued to move the ball into the Wheaton end, but even with an 11-10 advantage in shots, they could not score again.
In the second match of the evening, Washington University grabbed two second half goals to edge St. Benedict 2-1.
The quarterfinal match will be Saturday at 5:00 pm with No. 8 Wheaton facing No. 13 Wash U.