Photo by Creighton Athletics
Creighton and Indiana went into their Sunday NCAA Round of 16 matches as considerable underdogs against higher seeds, but both teams delivered upsets that have shaken up the NCAA Tournament.
Creighton eliminated Akron in penalty kicks while Indiana rode an overtime game-winner from Eriq Zavaleta to eliminate No. 1 seed Notre Dame and book the Hoosiers a place in the Elite Eight.
Indiana will take on North Carolina, which avoided being FDU’s latest upset victim when Cameron Brown scored an overtime winner to secure a 1-0 victory and send the defending champions to the Elite Eight.
Creighton survived an onslaught from Akron’s high-powered offense, with freshman goalkeeper Jeff Gal making a plethora of outstanding saves to keep Creighton in the game. Fellow freshman Timo Pitter nailed an 83rd-minute equalizer to keep the Blue Jays alive. Akron looked like they had the game won just 30 seconds into overtime when Creighton was called for a penalty, but Gal saved Scott Caldwell’s PK attempt.
The Blue Jays won the penalty shootout by converting all five penalties, with Pitter converting the clincher.
In other NCAA Tournament Round of 16 action:
Maryland avoided the upset bug in a big way, riding a Sunny Jane brace to a 5-1 thrashing of Coastal Carolina. The Terps will next face Louisville, which reached the Elite Eight on the strength of their late 2-1 win against Northwestern. Dylan Mares set up the winner in the 85th minute when he fired a shot at goal that ricocheted off a Northwestern defender, into the net.
The biggest remaining underdog in the tournament is San Diego, which eliminated a second straight seeded opponent by knocking off No. 11 seed Tulsa, 2-1. Sophomore Connor Brandt delivered the game-winning goal for the unseeded Toreros. San Diego will now face Georgetown, which beat Syracuse in penalty kicks to reach the Final Eight.
UConn was one of several team to pull off second-half comebacks, erasing a 1-0 deficit to defeat New Mexico, 2-1, in overtime. Freshman Nicholas Zuniga scored the overtime game-winner, his first college goal, to move the Huskies into an Elite Eight showdown vs. Creighton.
Here is a rundown of the Elite Eight schedule, which will take place next weekend:
Friday– (9) North Carolina vs. (16) Indiana, 6pm
Saturday– (3) Georgetown vs. San Diego, 1pm
Saturday– (2) Maryland vs. (10) Louisville, 5pm
Sunday– (4) Connecticut vs. (12) Creighton, 1pm
What did you think of Sunday’s NCAA Tournament action? Which team impressed you the most? Which players caught your eye as quality pro prospects?
Share your thoughts below.