Three of the four games this weekend saw lower seeded teams triumph during the Quarterfinals that took place around the country. The 16th seeded Virginia required penalty kicks to topple #8 Georgetown. The 11th seeded Providence Friars made program history with a win over the 3rd seeded Michigan State. UMBC held Creighton scoreless for 110 minutes before beating the Blue Jays in penalty kicks. UCLA bucked the trend of higher seeded teams losing with a thrilling victory in penalty kicks over the North Carolina Tar Heels.
On Saturday afternoon, the Virginia Cavaliers secured their second consecutive appearance in the College Cup with a thrilling victory in penalty kicks over the Georgetown Hoyas. After a scoreless first half, the Hoyas struck first in the 59th minute thanks to a goal from Austin Martz, who pounced on a rebound for the opening goal. The Hoyas defended tenaciously for the next 30 minutes, but surrendered a goal in the final minute of the match when Todd Wharton headed home his third goal of the season to keep the Cavaliers alive. Both overtime periods passed without either team scoring a goal, sending the match to penalty kicks. Virginia chose to go first, and both teams were perfect through the first nine penalty takers, when Arun Basuljevic’s penalty struck the post, giving the Cavaliers the win.
The Virginia Cavaliers will now face the UMBC Retrievers in the Final Four. The Retrievers have not conceded a goal throughout the tournament, a trend that continued as they traveled to Creighton to face the 12th seeded Blue Jays. Both teams were scoreless in over 110 minutes of regular time and two overtime periods. UMBC’s keeper Billy Heavner made a save on Creighton’s first penalty kick, which helped his team cruise to a 4-3 win in penalty kicks. Kay Banjo silenced the Creighton crowd with the winning penalty when he sent Connor Sparrow the wrong way and converted in the 5th round on penalties for the win.
The Providence Friars continued their spectacular run in the NCAA Tournament with a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans scored the opening goal of the match thanks to Adam Montague less than 8 minutes into the match. The Friars responded with a goal from Daniel Neustadter in the 37th minute, before Dominik Machado added a second only five minutes later. Fabio Machado then added an insurance goal for the Friars in the 62nd minute, which turned out to be necessary when Michigan State’s Tim Kreutz scored in the 70th minute to make things interesting. However, the Spartans were unable to find an equalizer in the closing minutes of the game, giving the Friars their first spot in the Final Four of the College Cup.
The match between the UCLA Bruins and North Carolina Tar Heels proved to be one of the most thrilling of the NCAA Tournament to this point. After having Alex Olofson sent off in the 20th minute for a reckless tackle, the Tar Heels still managed to take an early lead when Omar Holness drilled a free kick in the 40th minute. The Bruins responded with three consecutive goals in quick succession, starting with Brian Iloski’s second goal of the season, which came in the 69th minute. Christian Chavez added another off of a beautiful through ball from Abu Danladi. Their barrage ended in the 74th minute when Danladi rounded the keeper on a breakaway, to give his team a 3-1 lead.
The Tar Heels would not go away though, and scored twice more to level the score at 3-3. Tyler Engel struck from close range after a goal mouth scramble and Andy Craven struck the equalizer off a beautiful through ball from Raby George. Both overtime periods expired without either team finding a goal sending the match to penalties. Eight rounds of penalty kicks were necessary to find a winner, with Early Edwards Jr. making a decisive penalty save in the 8th round to secure the Bruins a victory. The Bruins will now face the Providence Friars to see who will earn the right to play in the National Championship game.