When last we checked on the Sounders Academy alumni in their first year of college soccer, we learned that three would be continuing their seasons into the NCAA Tournament along with a couple moving into the postseason in lower divisions. But a week later, only one remains.
NCAA Division I
After a bit of a slide (by their standards) in the second half of the season, the defending national champion Akron Zips — featuring Sounder DeAndre Yedlin at fullback — missed out on a bye in the NCAA Tournament and instead had to face Northwestern in the first round. They pulled out a fairly comfortable 3-1 win (with Yedlin playing the whole match) and then faced 19th ranked SMU in the second round. In that one Akron pulled out to a 3-0 lead, with DeAndre getting an assist on the first goal. SMU scored two goals in the closing minutes, but the Zips held on for the 3-2 win and now move on to face 14th ranked Charlotte.
Nick Palodichuk and the Duke Blue Devils had a first round matchup with Georgia State. Duke Goalkeeper James Belshaw had a huge game in helping shut the Panthers out. Palodichuk hit the right post with a bending shot in the second half, but it was Christopher Tweed-Kent who'd tally the game's only goal and earn the 1-0 win. In the second round, Duke had a tough matchup with #1 ranked New Mexico. Palodichuk scored the game's first goal in the 52nd minute and Duke held a somewhat unlikely lead all the way until the 83rd minute when the Lobos equalized and then they scored in the first overtime to win the match and end Nick's impressive first season with Duke.
Wake Forest was probably one of the last teams to make it into the tournament, but they and forward Sean Okoli gutted out a weird game against South Carolina in which the Gamecocks dominated the middle of the field. The Demon Deacons scored the first goal — which Okoli assisted on — in the 10th minute. Then they held on to play a counterattacking game against a pressuring South Carolina attack. A penalty tied the game up at 1-1 and it would eventually go to penalties, where the Deacons would seem to win on the final kick, then have to reset a few minutes later when the referee called for a rekick for the keeper coming off the line, then celebrate again when the rekick was saved again. They weren't as fortunate in the next round where they lost 2-0 to James Madison and Sean's impressive freshman season came to an end.
Concordia was upset in the first round of the NAIA championships — losing 2-3 to Great Falls. Nate Boatright picked up 6 minutes in the match and finished the season as an occasional substitute.
Darwin Jones and Highline had their scoring streaks come to an end in the tournament semifinals as they lost 1-0 to Olympic at Starfire.