2013 NCAA College Cup Sweet 16: #8 Virginia vs #9 Marquette

Six Golden Eagles have scored in Marquette's last five matches, including Coco Navarro's heroics last week against Akron. - Maggie Bean/MarquetteImages.com

A 48 team tournament and a first round bye means that MU's win over Akron has them in the final 16 teams for the first time in program history. Will the ride end against the Cavaliers?

When: Sunday, December 1, 2013, at noon Central
Where: Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia
Audio/Visual: Because UVa is a real school, they'll be providing us with LIVE FREE VIDEO. Live stats will be over here.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

This is where I'd usually go on some kind of tangent about Marquette's season so far. However, with the Big East regular season and tournament title in hand to go along with one NCAA tournament victory already, this is the most successful season in program history, so let's just watch the MUTV recap of the Akron match again and marvel at both Paul Dillon's cross and Coco Navarro's finish.


Ok, I'll mention one thing. For an eight match stretch in the middle of the season - the first seven Big East games and a non-conference match with Wisconsin - Marquette scored just 7 goals, and four of them came from sophomore striker C. Nortey. In their last five matches, the Golden Eagles have scored eight goals, with only two of them coming from Nortey and with five other players combining for the other six. They may have struggled with some offensive diversity earlier in the season, but as of late, goals are coming from all over the pitch. That's a perfect recipe for advancing in a knockout format like the College Cup.

Here's how deep the ACC is. When the ACC conference tournament started, Virginia was ranked #12 in the country, but because they had a 4-3-4 record in league play, they had to go on the road in the quarterfinals as the #6 seed. The host for that match? The #3 seed Wake Forest Demon Deacons with an ACC record of 6-1-4... who were ranked #13 in the country at the time.

Yeah.

The Cavaliers advanced as far as the ACC championship match, knocking off Wake Forest and then getting past #2 seed and #1 in the country Notre Dame in penalty kicks. UVa fell to #1 seed Maryland in the title game, but only because a Terrapin shot took a bad ricochet off of the leg of senior defender Kevin McBride and into the net for an own goal in the 88th minute.

Their #8 seed status gave Virginia a bye to the second round, just like Marquette did with their #9 seed. The Cavaliers faced St. John's in their first College Cup match in a rematch of a regular season contest and came away with a 2-0 win on goals from juniors Ryan Zinkhan and Eric Bird. Bird also had an assist on Zinkhan's goal, and his team leading 18 points are what put him on the All-ACC Second Team. Bird was joined there by Darius Madison (5G, 2A), and Jordan Allen (2G, 5A) was named to the All-ACC freshman team.

Virginia's keeper situation is a bit of a knot to try to figure out. Jeff Gal, a transfer from Creighton played over 1500 minutes in net this season. Yet, for some reason, on Senior Night, head coach George Gelnovatch inserted Calle Brown into the lineup. The redshirt junior was honored before the match as one of the fourth year players with the Cavaliers and he had made his collegiate debut (!) just seven matches earlier in the season. UVa won 1-0 in overtime that night, and they're 3-1-1 with Brown in net, including all four postseason matches. I don't know why Gelnovatch made the switch, but it's worked out for the Cavaliers and I'd expect to see Brown in net for them again.

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