Welcome to the 2015 season of "Up Close" on CollegeSoccerNews.com, where host Adam Zundell brings you the voices of the game -- players and coaches -- straight to you, unfiltered, exclusively on CollegeSoccerNews.com.
In this episode, Zundell talks to Seattle head coach Pete Fewing. Coach Fewing talks about his approach to taking on a program like Seattle, as well as Kyle Bjornethun and Hamza Haddadi, who overcame a broken ankle midseason to score several key goals in SU's run. Coach Fewing also previews the next round against Syracuse, including the travel plans for the team heading 2,000 miles east for the Sweet 16 matchup.
The NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship quarterfinals feature four very compelling contests, including two rematches of regular season games. The eight-team field offers fans a little bit of everything — offensive powerhouses, defensive juggernauts, the defending NCAA champion, four 2014 College Cup participants and some of the best players in the nation and world.
This weekend’s winners will advance to the 2015 Women’s College Cup on Dec. 4-6. The championship will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
Here’s a closer look at the quarterfinal matchups:
Texas A&M (17-6-2) at No. 1 seed Florida State (17-2-4)
Friday, Nov. 27, 2 p.m. ET
Seminole Soccer Complex, Tallahassee, Fla.
The Seminoles and Aggies — both 2014 Women’s College Cup participants — met early in the regular season with FSU topping Texas A&M, 3-1, in Tallahassee. Only one of the pair will advance to the College Cup this year, and the Seminoles have the edge in this match-up.
Florida State has posted nine consecutive shutouts in NCAA Tournament action (an NCAA record) and the defending national champions have a good shot at becoming the first team to win back-to-back trophies since North Carolina accomplished the feat in 2008-2009. The Seminoles are playing in the NCAA quarterfinals for the 11th consecutive season — the longest active streak in the country — and are 36-1 at home in NCAA postseason action. FSU ranks in the top 10 in both scoring (2.57 goals per game) and goals against average (.544), and has outscored opponents 10-0 in its first three tournament contests.
Texas A&M, the only unseeded team remaining in the field, advanced to the College Cup for the first time ever last year and is looking to return. Instead, the upstart Aggies are looking to keep the Seminoles from making their fifth straight College Cup appearance, and start a streak of their own. The Aggies, who upended UNC in the second round and survived a penalty kick shootout with Ole Miss, are scoring 2.0 goals per game this season and have allowed just one goal in NCAA Tournament action.
No. 3 seed Duke (13-5-4) at No. 1 seed Stanford (19-2-1)
Friday, Nov. 27, 7 p.m. PT
Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, Stanford, Calif.
Last weekend, Duke pulled off an upset at No. 2 seed Florida thanks to freshman Taylor Racioppi’s fourth game-winning goal of the season. Now, the Blue Devils are playing in the NCAA quarterfinals for the sixth time in the past nine years and will travel across the country to spend Thanksgiving weekend in California.
The Blue Devils have been doing it with defense. They have allowed only three goals over the last eight matches and rank 14th in the nation with a 0.606 GAA. Duke has posted 12 shutouts on the season, including clean sheets against Florida State and North Carolina, and the Blue Devils held UF’s Savannah Jordan — one of the nation’s most productive scorers — to just one shot in last week’s victory.
But Duke’s run will likely come to an end this weekend. Stanford is almost unbeatable in the NCAA Tournament at home — 28 straight games without a loss. Stanford is playing in the NCAA quarterfinals for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. Each time, Stanford has advanced to the Women’s College Cup. The Cardinal is undefeated in their past 14 games and 16-1 in their past 17 contests. Stanford is stellar defensively, and ranks seventh in the nation with a .531 goals against average.
No. 2 seed West Virginia (19-2-1) at No. 1 seed Penn State (19-3-2)
Saturday, Nov. 28 at 4 p.m. ET
Jeffrey Field, University Park, Pa.
The Mountaineers and Nittany Lions will meet for the second time this season, but this time around Penn State will host. WVU topped the Nittany Lions, 1-0, in early September, and the sequel looks to be another hard-fought battle.
Penn State waltzed into the quarterfinals by outscoring its first three opponents 15-0. The Nittany Lions’ defense is peaking at the right time — they have posted five consecutive shutouts for the first time since 2006. Penn State, which ranks 12th in the nation with a .573 goals against average, has held its opponents to one or goal less in the last 20 matches and has allowed two goals in a match only twice this season.
The Mountaineers have won a program-record 19 games, and boast both an offensive and defense that rank in the nation’s top four statistically as they play in the NCAA quarterfinals for the second time in program history. West Virginia’s defense, anchored by star defender Kadeisha Buchanan, owns a .403 goals against average this season and has allowed more than one goal just twice this season. The Mountaineer offense is on a roll with 13 goals in the past three games, including a second-half hat trick by senior forward Kailey Utley against LMU in third-round action.
No. 2 Rutgers (19-3-2) at No. 1 seed Virginia (19-1-2)
Friday, Nov. 27, 2 p.m. ET
Klockner Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
Rutgers is in the midst of a history-making season as the Scarlet Knights will play in the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time. Meanwhile, last year’s NCAA runner-up Virginia will look to return to the College Cup for the third straight season.
The Scarlet Knights enter the contest with a program-record 19 victories and are one of the top defensive squads in the nation. Rutgers leads Division I in shutout percentage (.750), total shutouts (18) and goals against average (0.33), and ranks second in save percentage (.908).
But Virginia will present quite the challenge for the Scarlet Knights. The Cavaliers will put a bit of pressure on the RU defense with the nation’s second-best scoring offense (3.32 goals per game). Senior Makenzy Doniak and junior Alexis Shaffer have each contributed a team-leading 14 goals. Plus, UVa defense is clicking this season. Virginia ranks eighth nationally in both goals against average (.531) and shutout percentage (.636).
Wake Forest 1 - Charlotte 0 - Sophomore forward Jon Bakero's header in the 83rd minute proved to be the difference in this very competitive second round match at Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem. Bakero's game-winner was set up by a very well played and timed cross from junior midfielder Ian Harkes. The goal was Bakero's eighth of the year and third game-winner. Alec Ferrell had seven saves in goal for Wake Forest in route to recording the shutout in goal. Austin Pack had three saves in goal for Charlotte. Number one seed Wake Forest under the direction of head coach Bobby Muuss improves to 16-2-2 and advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will host number sixteen seeded Indiana. Charlotte concludes the 2015 season with a 11-6-3 overall record.
Indiana 1 - Connecticut 0 - Senior forward Ben Maurey's first goal of the 2015 campaign to date was a huge one and gave the sixteenth seeded Hoosiers the edge they needed to top a game Connecticut team 1-0 to earn a spot in the Sweet Sixteen where they will tangle with number one seed Wake Forest. Maurey came off the bench to net the game-winner from six yards out in the 39th minute of the contest after receiving a cross from freshman defender Andrew Gutman. Colin Webb had a single save in goal to record the shutout for IU. Scott Levene had three saves in a losing cause for Connecticut. Indiana improves to 13-4-5 while Connecticut drops to 10-6-6.
Ohio State 1 - Dayton 1 (ot) - Ohio State advances 4-3 in a penalty kick shootout. This one was a nail bitter that could easily have gone either way. The contest was scoreless at the end of the first half. Dayton got on the scoreboard first when senior forward Maik Schoonderwoerd converted a header in the 50th minute of play with an assist from playmaking midfielder Alex Amankwaah to take a 1-0 lead. The goal was Schoonderwoerd's eleventh of the season. It looked like the Buckeyes might be destined for the same fate on the pitch as they had on the gridiron on Saturday until forward Danny Jensen found the back of the net with an assist from Abdi Mohamed in the 73rd minute to give Ohio State new life. The goal was Jensen's seventh of the season to date. The contest remained tied at the end of regulation and extra time which set up the penalty kick shootout that enabled the number nine seeded Ohio State to survive and advance to the Sweet Sixteen where they will now travel to tangle with number eight seed Stanford out of the Pac-12 Conference. The Buckeyes are 13-6-3. Dayton which advanced to the second round in NCAA Tourney play for the first time in program history concludes a successful and memorable 2015 season with a 13-5-5 record.
Stanford 3 - Santa Clara 1 - Dylan Autran scored in the 28th minute with a double assist from Carlos Delgadilo and Alfred Edmonds to give Santa Clara a 1-0 advantage that they held going into halftime. However, Santa Clara's bid for a big upset was thwarted when number eight seeded Stanford erupted for three goals in the second half with Brandon Vincent scoring the first in the 58th minute and freshman midfielder Amir Bashti adding the game-winner in the 75th minute and the insurance goal in the 87th minute to advance to the Sweet Sixteen where they will host number nine seeded Ohio State. Stanford improves to 15-2-2 while Santa Clara ends the season with a 11-8-1 record.
North Carolina 2 - Coastal Carolina 1 - The crowd at Fetzer Field was just beginning to get settled in their seats when redshirt junior forward Tucker Hume scored in the second minute of play with an assist from David October to take a 1-0 lead over visiting Coastal Carolina. The goal was Hume's team leading eleventh for the season. Forward Zach Wright added the insurance goal in the 85th minute of play with Hume contributing the helper. Coastal Carolina forward Tobenna Uzo placed the rebound of teammate Sergion Camargo's shot back into the net in the 88th minute of play to close the gap to 2-1. Fernando Pina had five saves in goal for the Chanticleers. Tar Heel net minder James Pyle was involved in a collision and had to leave the contest with ten minutes remaining in the first half. He was replaced by Sam Euler. Pyle had two saves and Euler had two saves. Number five seeded North Carolina improves to 15-1-3 and now advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will host the number twelve seeded Creighton Bluejays. Coastal Carolina concludes the 2015 season with a 13-3-4 record.
Creighton 5 - Drake 1 - This one was all Creighton. Forward Ricky Lopez-Espin made it 1-0 Creighton in the ninth minute of play. Midfielder Ricardo Perez made it 2-0 in the 17th minute. Lopez-Espin scored again to make it 3-0 in the 65th minute. Evan Waldrep got in on the scoring when he scored to make in 4-0 in the 69th minute of the match. Drake got on the scoreboard with a Steven Enna goal off an assist from teammate Ben LeMay in the 81st minute to close the gap to 4-1. Bluejay midfielder Timo Pitter added the final goal of the day for Creighton in the 89th minute. Junior forward Fabian Herbers had a three assist evening for the number twelve seeded Bluejays who improve to 18-3-0 and advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth time in the past five seasons where they will face North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Drake concludes the 2015 season with a 13-5-3 overall record.
SMU 1 - Denver 0 (ot) - Midfielder Stanton Garcia scored the lone goal of the game in the 94th minute of play to enable SMU to upset number thirteen seed Denver. The goal came out of a throw-in from Bryce Clark that midfielder Mauro Cichero flicked to Garcia's feet who then slotted it into the back of the net from five-yards out. Michael Nelson had four saves in goal for SMU. Dan Jackson had one save in goal for the Pioneers. The loss halted Denver's 29-match home unbeaten streak as well as their seven-match shutout streak. SMU improves to 15-2-4 and advances to the Sweet Sixteen. It was a heartbreaking loss for a Denver team that closes out a banner season under first year head coach Jamie Franks with a 15-1-3 overall record.
Akron 6 - Rutgers 1 - The Zips dominated this one which was in effect over when the teams went into intermission with Akron up 5-0. Victor Souto converted a penalty kick in the 5th minute of play. Stuart Holthusen scored in the 13th and 17th minutes and Ritchie Laryea scored in the 13th and 18th minutes to conclude the offensive fireworks for Akron in the first half of play. Sean Sepe then made it 6-0 Akron when he scored in the 60th minute. Sugor Al Awwad tallied the lone goal for the Scarlet Knights with an assist from Mitchell Taintor in the 81st minute to conclude the scoring. Akron improves to 16-3-2 and advances to the Round of Sixteen for the sixth time in the past eight seasons where they will host SMU. Despite a disappointing end, Rutgers concludes an otherwise very productive season with a 12-7-2 record.
Georgetown 3 - Hofstra 0 - The Hoyas got on the board in minute five of the contest when sophomore forward Arun Basuljevic threaded a shot into the right corner of the goal from inside the box. The goal was set up by passes from Alex Muyl and Bakie Goodman. The teams went into intermission with the Hoyas up 1-0. The contest remained scoreless and in doubt until the 87th minute when senior midfielder Melvin Snoh was taken down in the box and senior forward Brandon Allen converted the ensuing penalty kick to make it 2-0. The goal was Allen's 50th career goal and resulted in him becoming Georgetown's all-time leader in goals scored surpassing Ben McKnight. Alex Muyl netted the final goal when he placed a shot just under the crossbar with seconds remaining in regulation after receiving a pass from defender Joshua Yaro. No prisoners were taken in this physical contest in which tempers flared at times. For their part in the festivities Hofstra was awarded a red card in the 78th minute and had to play with ten for the remainder of the match. Number three seeded Georgetown improves to 16-2-2 and advances to the Round of Sixteen where they will host Boston College. Hofstra ends a very productive season with a 14-8-0 record.
Boston College 2 - South Florida 1 (ot) - The Eagles traveled to Tampa and left with a solid win over number fourteen seeded South Florida. Ed Kelly's team advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will tangle with numbe three seeded Georgetown. This one took on a different feel when USF had to play with only ten when Lindo Mfeka was shown a red card in the 26th minute of the contest. The contest remained scoreless until Isaac Normesinu scored in the 74th minute after receiving a cross from Atobra Ampadu to give Boston College a 1-0 advantage. It looked like that goal might be the difference maker but South Florida continued to attack and tied it at 1-1 with defender Prosper Figbe scoring in the 89th minute after receiving a pass from Kendan Anderson to send the contest into overtime. Freshman forward Simon Enstrom then came up big for the Eagles when he sent a bullet into the lower left corner of the goal in the 98th minute that was set up by a combination of passes from Zeiko Lewis and Trevor Davock to give Boston College the win. The goal was Enstrom's ninth of the season and his fifth game-winner to date. Boston College improves to 11-7-1. South Florida closes out the season with a 11-6-3 record under the direction of head coach George Kiefer who praised his team by stating, "They gave it everything they had, for the school, for the team, for each other."
Seattle 1 - UCLA 0 - Seattle senior forward Hamza Haddadi scored the lone goal of the contest in the fortieth minute of play with an assist from Nick Prasad. The goal was Haddadi's tenth of the year to date. A solid Seattle defensive effort which shutout a very high powered UCLA offense was anchored in goal by Shane Haworth who had six saves. Juan Cervantes had three saves in goal for the Bruins who close out the 2015 season with a 11-9-1 record. The number eleven seeded Seattle Redhawks under head coach Pete Fewing improve to 18-3-1 and advance to the Sweet Sixteen to face number six seeded Syracuse out of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Syracuse 2 - Dartmouth 1 - The Big Green came to play and it paid off for them when Justin Donawa placed a shot into the back of the net after receiving a through ball from teammate Matt Greer in the 30th minute of the match to go up 1-0 and put a scare into the Syracuse home crowd. Syracuse responded with a Ben Polk goal four minutes later to knot the score at 1-1. Sophomore Julien Buescher contributed the assist on Polk's tenth goal year to date. The contest was tied 1-1 at halftime with the outcome very much up in the air. The Orange tallied what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 55th minute when junior Louis Cross scored to make it 2-1 after receiving a pass from playmaker Buescher. The assist was Buescher's tenth of the season to date. Both teams continued to press the attack but the score remained 2-1. Stefan Cleveland had four saves between the pipes for Dartmouth. Hilpert Hendrik had a three save evening in goal for the Orange. Number sixth seeded Syracuse improves to 14-5-3 and advances to the Sweet Sixteen for the third time in the past four seasons under the guidance of head coach Ian McIntyre. Dartmouth out of the Ancient Eight concludes the 2015 season with a 12-6-1 record.
Notre Dame 1 - Tulsa 1 (ot) - Notre Dame prevails 3-0 in penalty kicks. In another nail bitter the Irish and Golden Hurricane had to go to a penalty kick shootout to determine who advanced. Forward Jeffrey Farina scored from six yards out after receiving a cross from defender Max Lachowecki to give the Irish a 1-0 in the 24th minute of play. It appeared that the goal might unleash the Irish attack but that was not to be the case as Tulsa tightened up on the defensive side of the ball and netted a goal of their own in the 62nd minute to knot the score at 1-1 when forward Juan Sanchez was at the right place at the right time to place the rebound of teammate Geoffrey Dee's shot into the back of the net from close range. Junior Jake McGuire had six saves in goal for Tulsa. Chris Hubbard had three saves between the pipes for Notre Dame. Patrick Hoden, Jon Gallagher and Lachowecki converted their penalty kick attempts in the shootout to give the Irish the edge in a very closely contested contest. The number seven seeded Irish under the guidance of Bobby Clak continue to find a way to prevail in the close contests and advance to the Sweet Sixteen where they will face Maryland. Tulsa concludes the 2015 campaign with an 8-6-7 record.
Maryland 1 - Virginia 0 - This one had the feel of a game that might be decided by a single goal and it was. Forward Eryk Williamson netted the lone goal of the contest for the Terps in the 38th minute of play out of a free kick with an assist from midfielder Mael Corboz. Cody Niedermeier had two saves in goal for Maryland. Jeff Caldwell had five saves in goal for Virginia. Number ten seeded Maryland improves to 11-5-5 and advances to the Round of Sixteen where they will face number seven seed Notre Dame in what will no doubt be a very competitive and exciting college soccer contest. Last year's National Champion Virginia ends the 2015 season with a 10-5-3 record.
UC Santa Barbara 1 - South Carolina 0 (ot) - This one which was played at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara was scoreless at the end of regulation. Junior Ismaila Jome's blast into the back of the net from twenty yards out in overtime proved to be the difference maker in a very competitive college soccer match. William Pyle had seven saves in goal for South Carolina. Sophomore Brandon Berke had a two save evening in goal for UC Santa Barbara. The number fifteen Gauchos improve to 14-6-2 and survive and advance to the Sweet Sixteen where they will now travel cross country to face number two seed Clemson. South Carolina concludes a very productive season with an 11-8-2 record.
Clemson 5 - Elon 2 - This one featured more than the average amount of scoring. Clemson lead 2-0 at halftime behind goals from senior forward T.J. Casner who continues to make good things happen for the Tigers and junior forward Thales Moreno. Casner added a second goal three minutes into the second stanza to give Clemson a 3-0 advantage. Jaiden Fortune scored for Elon less than a minute later to close the gap to 3-1. Saul Chinchilla made it 4-1 Clemson in the 73rd minute followed by a Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler goal for Elon in the 78th minute to make it 4-2. Iman Mafi converted a penalty kick for Clemson to make it 5-2 in the 81st minute that concluded the scoring. Clemson improves to 16-2-2 and advances to the Sweet Sixteen where they will host number eleven seeded Seattle who advanced by defeating UCLA 1-0. Elon ends their season with a 14-6-1 record.