A pair of Sporting KC Academy products are in to the Elite 8 of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Division I Championship. Matthew Lewis (pictured, above) and the Fordham Rams will square off against Zach Wright and the North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday with a berth in the Final Four on the line.
Fordham’s dream season continued on Saturday with a dramatic penalty kick shootout victory over No. 6 ranked Duke. The Rams will be looking to knock off a third straight ranked ACC opponent after beating No. 11 seed Virginia in the second round. Lewis started and played the full 110 minutes on the backline for Fordham and converted his penalty kick past goalkeeper Will Pulisic - cousin of U.S. MNT star Christian Pulisic.
Fordham fell behind early on Saturday as Brian White put the Blue Devils ahead in the eighth minute. The Rams tied the match in the 51st minute behind Jannik Loebe only to fall behind again 12 minutes later when Matthias Frick beat goalkeeper Rashid Nuhu. Sophomore Bart Dziedzic leveled the match in the 87th minute to send it to overtime. After 20 minutes of scoreless action and ten rounds of penalty kicks, the Rams had booked their first Elite 8 berth in school history.
Awaiting Fordham is a North Carolina side that had little trouble dispatching SMU 2-0 at WakeMed Soccer Park. Wright played 90 minutes on Saturday and tallied two shots on goal in the match. The Elite 8 berth in the eighth in 10 years for a Tar Heels program that has been as consistent as any in the country. Jack Skahan and Jelani Pieters provided the goals for North Carolina.
Lewis and Wright are the sole SKC Academy products remaining in the field as Wes White and Coastal Carolina fell 2-0 on the road at Stanford. White played three minutes in his final appearance for the Chanticleers.