The 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship kicked off with 48 teams hoping to reach the Men’s College Cup at Sporting Park. Following Thursday’s first round, 32 schools still have dreams of ending the season with a national championship in Kansas City.
Three Sporting Kansas City Academy products featured in the tournament on Thursday. Drake University duo Nic Jaimes and Mason Leonard helped the Bulldogs to a 2-1 victory over Kentucky (12-5-2), one of just two road wins in the opening round. Leonard provided the game-winning assist as Drake (13-4-3) earned its first NCAA Championship win since 2009.
Elsewhere, defender Austin Wilcox started for Cal Poly (11-5-5) in a 2-0 defeat at UCLA (10-8-1). Wilcox played his first two college seasons at UMKC before transferring to Cal Poly for his junior campaign this fall.
The entire second round is slated for Sunday, with 16 seeded teams who had a first-round bye hosting the 16 winners from Thursday. As many as 11 Sporting Kansas City Academy alums could see action, including five in the Drake-Creighton matchup at Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. Jaimes, Leonard and Andrew Blalock will meet Creighton’s Eric DeJulio and Bryce Gibson in the rematch of an Oct. 6 regular season tilt that the Blue Jays (17-3-0) came from behind to win 2-1.
An in-state battle beckons in Ohio as defender Andrew Lightner and Dayton University (14-5-3) travel to face defender Jack Freeman and ninth-seeded Ohio State (13-6-2). In nearby South Bend, Indiana, goalkeeper Ryan Krutz and seventh-seeded Notre Dame (11-4-5) play host to Tulsa (7-6-6), whose seven wins are the fewest of any team in the NCAA Championship.
Forward Cole Stevenson has helped the University of Denver become the last remaining unbeaten team in the tournament. The 13th-seeded Pioneers will look to improve on a 15-0-3 record with a home match against SMU (14-2-4). Further west, midfielder Seo-In Kim and 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara (13-6-2) will host South Carolina (12-7-1). On the opposite side of the country, North Carolina forward Zach Wright leads the fifth-seeded Tarheels (14-1-3) into a home game against Coastal Carolina (13-2-4).
|SKC Academy Products||School||Second Round Opponent
(all games Sunday CT)
|D Andrew Lightner (Sr.)||Dayton||at Ohio State - noon|
|D Jack Freeman (Fr.)||Ohio State||vs. Dayton - noon|
|M/F Nic Jaimes (Fr.)
D Mason Leonard (So.)
GK Andrew Blalock (Fr.)
|Drake||at Creighton - 1 p.m.|
|D Eric DeJulio (Sr.)
F Bryce Gibson (Fr.)
|Creighton||vs. Drake - 1 p.m.|
|GK Ryan Krutz (Fr.)||Notre Dame||vs. Tulsa - 1 p.m.|
|F Zach Wright (So.)||North Carolina||vs. Coastal Carolina - 5 p.m.|
|F Cole Stevenson (So.)||Denver||vs. SMU - 6 p.m.|
|M Seo In-Kim (Jr.)||UC Santa Barbara||vs. South Carolina - 8 p.m.|