Last week saw the kickoff of both NCAA Division I soccer tournaments, after they had been rescheduled from the fall. With both also being held entirely in the state of North Carolina, both the men’s and women’s UNC teams had a bit of a home turf advantage when they both played their first games over the weekend.
Well, one game in for both, and the women and men are headed to the Sweet 16 in their respective tournaments.
The UNC women came in as the #2 overall seed and got a bye in the first round. Denver won the right to play the Tar Heels, but the Pioneers were no match for Carolina, who opened their NCAA Tournament run with a 2-0 win.
After most of the first half went by scoreless, the Tar Heels got on the board late in the first half when Abby Allen headed one home to give Carolina the lead right before the break.
In the second half, UNC kept the pressure up and eventually doubled their lead when Rachael Dorwart, who assisted on the first goal, controlled a loose ball and then put it in the net. Carolina wouldn’t add to their score, but they were mostly in control for the whole game. They outshot Denver 17-6, while shots on goal were 5-2.
The Tar Heel defense, led by goalkeeper Claudia Dickey, still haven’t allowed a goal in a regular season game since the resumption of the spring season.
Next up for Carolina will be a Wednesday meeting with Washington Wednesday at 3 PM ET. The Huskies got by #15 overall seed St. Louis on penalties after a scoreless 110 minutes. They had earlier won their opening round game 3-0 over Liberty. UNC will come in as favorite considering their high seeding. Washington’s only win over an NCAA Tournament team was a February victory over a Colorado squad that lost their NCAAT opener.
The men didn’t have as great a year, leading to them missing out on being one of the eight seeded teams and having to face off against a decent Charlotte team in their tournament opener, in a rematch of the 2011 national championship game. That 49ers team proved a challenge and it took 110 minutes and then penalties to separate the teams, but the Tar Heels eventually advanced to the next round.
The teams were scoreless throughout the first half and much of the second before the Tar Heels opened the scoring. Akiem Clarke scored in the 74th minute putting Carolina seemingly on the verge of advancing. However, Charlotte answered back 11 minute later to send the game to extra time.
UNC outshot Charlotte in extra time, but the 49ers had a flurry right towards the end that the Heels managed to keep out. That sent the game to penalties. Where as UNC made all four attempts they took, goalkeeper Alec Smir saved two of Charlotte’s allowed the Heels to advance to the next round.
Awaiting the Heels will be the #4 overall seed Stanford. The Cardinal beat Omaha 1-0 in their opener. Despite the seeding, it took Stanford quite awhile to put away Omaha. The Mavericks took the game to overtime, despite being outshot 25-2. Stanford scored and ended the game in the first minute of extra time, but they were seemingly quite wayward until then.
That game is scheduled to be played on Thursday at a time still to be announced.
For both teams, the next round is the Sweet 16, so both are just two wins away from adding to their impressive College Cup appearance lists.