We had bracket fever here in the Dynamo offices on Thursday.
No, we're not jumping the gun on the 2011 NCAA Final Four. Somebody thought it would be a good idea to have a bracket competition for the 2010 Men's College Cup, and more than half the office got on board. Which, since most of us do not spend spare time studying college soccer rankings, should be fairly entertaining.
Here's what happened in the opening round as 32 teams competed to join the 16 seeded teams in Sunday's Round 2:
Dartmouth 4, Monmouth 0
The first game of the day began on the aptly named Great Lawn in New Jersey and provided a bit of a surprise, as Dartmouth handed Monmouth just its second loss of the year. Big Green goalkeeper Lyman Missimer IV (The Woodlands) made two saves for the shutout, and New Zealand midfielder Daniel Keat had three assists. Dartmouth will play at No. 9 Notre Dame on Sunday night.
Providence 6, St. Peter's 2
The Big East tournament runner-up, Providence continued its tear with a 6-2 demolition of St. Peter's to extend the Friars' unbeaten streak to 10 games (8-0-2) and advance. St. Peter's (the Peackocks) had players from 10 different countries on its roster. Providence will play at No. 16 Ohio State on Sunday.
Michigan State 2, Oakland 0
The Spartans got two second-half goals from Domenic Barone, one on a penalty kick, to earn the win. Oakland actually outshot Michigan State 11-10, but Avery Steinlage made four saves for the Spartans. Michigan State advances to play at unbeaten No. 13 Butler on Sunday.
Georgetown 3, UNC Greensboro 0
In a game we watched on a web feed with very low resolution, Georgetown got two early goals and cruised to the win, breaking an 11-game UNC Greensboro unbeaten run. Greensboro senior midfielder Matt Strine (Klein Oak) played all 90 minutes and had one shot on goal. Georgetown will play at No. 4 North Carolina on Sunday.
Central Florida 3, South Florida 0
Everybody in the office we talked to had picked Central Florida. Every single one admitted to making the selection because the Dynamo Academy's Leo Ayala has committed to playing there next year. This one was also available to watch online, and UCF took control late in the first half before rolling to a 3-0 win. UCF's opening goal came from a line-drive long throw-in by Cameron Cooksey that was accurately flicked to the back post by Ben Hunt. UCF will now play at No. 10 Michigan on Sunday.
Sacramento State 2, Santa Clara 1
The home unbeaten streak reached an amazing 21 games for MPSF champion Sacramento State, which won three straight home games to take its conference tournament title and won another one on Thursday. Chris Bettencourt headed in a rebound in the 86th minute to give the Hornets the win. Sacramento State will play at No. 8 UCLA on Sunday.
West Virginia 4, Xavier 2
Oliver Luck's boys went down two goals in the first five minutes to Xavier, making its NCAA tournament debut, but recovered to tie the game at the half and go on to a 4-2 win. Franck Tayou, a junior forward from Cameroon, netted three of the four goals. The Mountaineers will play at No. 3 Akron on Sunday.
Brown 2, Boston College 1
Although Boston College was a popular upset choice after reaching the ACC semifinals, the Ivy League's Brown, playing at home, pulled out a 2-1 win to advance and play at No. 11 UConn on Sunday.
Duke 2, Coastal Carolina 1
With leading scorer Ryan Finley (17 goals) suspended indefinitely for teams rules violations, Dynamo Academy defender Sebastien Ibeagha (Fort Bend Hightower) and Duke trailed 1-0 with 15 minutes to play. But the Blue Devils got goals from Cole Grossman in the 77th and 83rd minutes to recover for the win. Ibeagha and Duke allowed only three shots all game. For Costal Carolina, defender Ross Kelly (Fort Bend Clements) scored the opening goal with a header, midfielder Luis Faz (Houston Westside) saw game action, and freshman Edric Martinez (Kincaid) did not appear. Duke will play at No. 7 South Carolina on Sunday.
Old Dominion 1, Virginia 0
The Monarchs upset the defending national champion - and may have busted a certain reporter's bracket - with a 1-0 win at Virginia Thursday night. Virginia outshot Old Dominion 18-8 and forced four saves from ODU goalkeeper Evan Newton. Alex Vaughan scored the game's only goal in the 62nd minute. Old Dominion will face No. 15 Penn State on Sunday.
Penn 1, Bucknell 0, OT
Christian Barreiro scored two minutes into sudden death overtime to give Penn a 1-0 win at home against an in-state foe. The reward for Penn is a trip to face No. 2 Maryland on Sunday.
UMBC 2, Princeton 1
America East champion Maryland-Baltimore County (the Retrievers, in case you didn't know) knocked off No. 10 Princeton on the road on Thursday. UMBC is now unbeaten in its last seven games, while Ivy champion Princeton saw its 12-game unbeaten run snapped. UMBC's forward tandem of Levi Houapeu and Andrew Bulls combined on both goals, overcoming a 28-12 Princeton shot advantage. UMBC will play at No. 12 William & Mary on Sunday.
College of Charleston 3, East Tennessee State 2
In front of a large crowd of 2,024, the College of Charleston held off an East Tennessee State comeback for a 3-2 win. Francis Twohig scored the goal of the match to put Charleston up 3-0, firing a 35-yard shot to the top right corner (1:25 on this clip), although ETSU rallied and hit the crossbar late. Charleston advances to play at No. 1 Louisville on Sunday.
Creighton 4, New Mexico 1
It's hard to pick against a school that produced Richard Mulrooney and Brian Mullan, and Creighton justified its pedigree with a 4-1 win over New Mexico. Ethan Finlay scored twice for the Bluejays. Creighton will play at No. 5 SMU on Sunday.
Tulsa 2, Bradley 0
Another Dynamo Academy defender's team had a good night, as Tulsa shut out Bradley despite the absence of regular starter Matt Boullt (Fort Bend Clements) due to a hip flexor. Freshman Kyle Cumings scored an early long-range goal (0:12 on this clip) and leading scorer Ashley McInnes got one late. Tulsa advances to play at No. 14 Indiana on Sunday, and Boullt is hopeful he will be able to play.
UC Santa Barbara 1, Denver 0, OT
After dominating the entire match in front of more than 3,700 fans, UCSB scored on its 31st shot of the night, the first for junior Waid Ibrahim, five minutes into the second overtime to edge Denver 1-0 and set off a field-storming celebration (watch this clip). Dynamo Academy midfielder Matt Kirby (Beaumont Monsignor Kelly) started and played 75 minutes for the Pioneers, who got 10 saves from Joe Willis while being outshot 31-4. UCSB, which will host the NCAA College Cup, will play at No. 8 Cal on Sunday.