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Hoyas Advance In NCAA Tournament
PDL standouts score in shootout to earn Elite Eight berth

PDL Feature

Monday, November 26, 2012

Georgetown’s run in the NCAA Tournament continued on Sunday night as Reading United’s Steven Neumann and Ian Christianson, the Orange County Blue Star’s Andrew Riemer and Long Island Rough Riders’ Jimmy Nealis all converted from the penalty spot to defeat the Hoyas’ Big East rival Syracuse in a penalty shootout for a place in the Elite Eight. The quartet led the PDL alumni who kept their national championship hopes alive in Sunday’s action, putting their sides one step away from the College Cup.

The Orange had taken a first-half lead through Jordan Vale, but the Hoyas were able to get back on even terms with five minutes remaining as Brandon Allen found the back of the net. After a scoreless 20 minutes of overtime, Neumann, Christianson, Riemer and Nealis all converted from the spot, while a pair of Orange players were denied, to send the No. 3-seed Hoyas into the fourth round where they will face unseeded San Diego, which upset No. 11-seed Tulsa, 2-1.

Former Carolina Dynamo midfielder Cameron Brown scored the overtime game-winner for No. 9-seed North Carolina as it ended the Cinderella run of Fairleigh Dickinson. For the second consecutive game, the Tar Heels were unable to find the back of the net in regulation, while Dynamo goalkeeper Scott Goodwin was only forced into one save in the UNC net.

North Carolina was able to find the game-winner just two minutes into overtime, however, as Brown completed a move begun by fellow former Dynamo standout Martin Murphy. The senior played a ball down the left for another Dynamo standout, Robbie Lovejoy, who beat his defender and moved into the penalty area before centering for Brown’s finish.

The Tar Heels will face Indiana in the fourth round after the Hoosiers upset No. 1-seed Notre Dame thanks to an overtime goal by former Super-20 League standout Eriq Zavaleta. The sophomore, who starred for the Columbus Crew Juniors at the 2011 Super-20 North American Finals, scored in the 102nd minute to send his side through to its first quarterfinal appearance since 2008.

Former River City Rovers midfielder Kyle Richard gave the Fighting Irish the lead in the 54th minute, but a minute later the Hoosiers were back on even terms through Nikita Kotlov. Then early in the second overtime period, Kotlov turned provider for Zavaleta, who scored his 17th goal of the season to reverse a regular-season defeat against the Irish and end the top seed’s hopes of a championship.

No. 12-seed Creighton upset No. 5-seed Akron in a penalty shootout, with the Des Moines Menace’s Bruno Castro, Zach Barnes and Sonny Makh and the Portland Timbers U-23s’ Andrew Ribeiro all converting from the penalty spot.

Akron took a first-half lead through Reinaldo Brenes, but Ribeiro was able to give his side a lifeline as his through-ball put Timo Pitter through one-on-one with Akron and the Chicago Fire PDL’s David Meves to equalize. The Michigan Bucks’ Scott Caldwell had a chance to win the game for the Zips, only for his penalty to be saved in the opening minute of overtime, and the Bluejays took advantage in the shootout as Pitter’s goal, following his four teammates, clinched their place in the quarterfinals and a contest with No. 4-seed UConn.

No. 2 Maryland is the highest remaining seed after it produced an outstanding performance to defeat Coastal Carolina 5-1. New Orleans Jesters forward Patrick Mullins continuing his standout season with another goal, giving him 15 this season, while former Central Jersey Spartan Christiano Francois added an assist for the Terps.

The Terrapins will face No. 7-seed Louisville in the quarterfinals after the Cardinals grabbed a late 2-1 victory against Northwestern thanks to the Chicago Fire PDL’s Dylan Mares. After the two teams exchanged goals in the opening five minutes, the game appeared to be headed to overtime until Mares’ shot deflected off a Wildcats defender and into the back of the net. 

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