The Canadian NCAA focus is once again on Simon Fraser University Clan, who have made it to the Division II West Regionals and the ‘Sweet Sixteen’, as they look to go even better than last year’s ‘Final Four’ appearance.
In Division I, the regular season and conference tournaments are all done and dusted and the brackets have been set for the NCAA national tournament.
Just two Whitecaps Residency graduates, and their teams, have made it into the final 48 – Ben McKendry’s 7th seeded New Mexico Lobos and Declan Rodriguez’s Horizon League winning Milwaukee Panthers.
NCAA II – SFU
SFU Clan may have only been seeded fourth in the West but they soon showed the selectors how farcical a decision that was.
They kicked off their 2013 postseason quest for glory on Thursday night with a 5-0 demolition of fifth seeded California Baptist. The Clan were four goals up by half time, thanks to a brace, his first goals of the season, by Whitecaps Residency graduate Alex Rowley.
Alexander Kleefeldt opened the scoring for the Clan in the 15th minute, before Rowley’s long range strike in the 36th minute. Ryan Dhillon added a third six minutes later, before Rowley ran at and through the Baptists with then second of the half remaining to make it four.
Colin Jacques grabbed his ninth of the season in the 56th minute to round off the scoring, allowing SFU to run through their roster for the remainder of the game.
That win took them to a Saturday night match up with hosts, and number one seeds, Cal State LA.
It was a closely contested first half but SFU made the vital breakthrough ten minutes into the second half when Jovan Blagojevic got on the end of a flick on from a long Colin Jacques throw to head home the opener.
Jordan Payne tied it up for LA in the 70th minute and the game headed in to sudden death extra time.
It was a nervy time but in the 106th minute, Carlo Basso stroked home a Chris Bargholz cross to send the Clan through to a third round match up with second ranked UC San Diego Tritons on Friday evening in the ‘Sweet 16’ in Denver.
You can see the whole Division 2 bracket HERE.
The NCAA Division I selection show took place today, setting up the 48 team tournament bracket.
The Conference USA tournament was full of surprises, with three Whitecaps Residency graduates taking part.
In Friday’s first semi final, Ben McKendry’s New Mexico Lobos outshot Quinton Duncan’s Tulsa Golden Hurricanes 17-14, with McKendry leading the team with five shots. That didn’t stop the Conference winning Lobos from going down to a shock 3-0 defeat. Duncan grabbed Tulsa’s first goal, his second of the season, in the 23rd minute.
Despite the defeat, New Mexico finished the season ranked 7th overall and received a first round bye in the NCAA tournament. They will now host the winner of the George Mason – William and Mary game on Sunday.
In the other semi final Callum Irving’s Kentucky Wildcats went down to a 1-0 loss to second seeded hosts Charlotte, despite forcing the 49ers’ keeper into six saves. The defeat ends Callum and Kentucky’s season, but Irving was named to the All-Conference team for his heroics.
Irving sophomore season stats saw him play 16 games, with a 1.09 goals against average, recording 46 saves, six clean sheets and conceding 18 goals.
In Sunday’s final there was heartbreak for Quinton Duncan, as his Tulsa side lost the championship 1-0 to an 88th minute penalty and failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Defender Duncan finished his freshman season with two goals and six shots from his 20 appearances and had one game winning goal.
There was drama in the Horizon League on Friday when Wesley Cain’s Wright State Raiders were reinstated to the tournament after Cleveland State had fielded an ineligible player in their 2-1 win on Tuesday night.
The game gave the Raiders a second chance and they took the number one seeded hosts UIC Flames to overtime before falling 1-0 to a 93rd minute winner. Cain played 23 minutes of the semi final, with no shots or assists, and the Raiders’ season is now done.
Sophomore midfielder Cain finished his season with two goals, one assist and 30 shots from his 19 games.
In Saturday’s other semi final Declan Rodriguez grabbed an assist on the second goal as his Milwaukee Panthers overcame Oakland Grizzlies 2-0 to clinch a place in Sunday’s Championship game.
That game, between the top two seeds was delayed for around four hours due to horrendous weather and a forced venue change. When it eventually got underway Milwaukee won the Championship 2-0, with Rodriguez grabbing the second goal when he headed home a free kick in the 67th minute (which you can see in the video below).
The win sends Milwaukee into their first NCAA tournament since 2005 and they will travel to play Wisconsin on Thursday evening.
Sean Melvin played the full game as his University of North Carolina Wilmington Seahawks bowed out of the postseason on Thursday night with a 6-3 loss to William and Mary in their CAA semi final. Melvin played in 12 games in his freshman year, starting 10 and recording 35 saves, including eight in one match against Cincinnati in September. He kept two clean sheets and had a 1.76 goals against average, winning six games.
As we mentioned last time, Brody Huitema’s Duke Blue Devils lost 1-0 in the quarter finals of the ACC tournament. It was to prove a costly loss, for despite Duke finishing the regular season unbeaten in eight, they dropped from their 42nd spot in the rankings and failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Huitema’s season may be done but he finished his freshman year leading Duke with six goals and four assists. That saw him named to the All-ACC Freshman team.
The first round NCAA tournament games get underway on Thursday. You can see the full Division 1 bracket HERE, with the match up in the first round pitting 2010 national champs Akron against last year’s national champions Indiana. Should be a cracker.
Good luck to Declan and Ben when their games get underway. They could still meet at the semi final stage!