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Playoffs 2017

NCAA DI Tournament: Quarterfinals Preview

11/30/2017, 2:00pm EST

Stanford clash with Wake Forest, Michigan State faces Indiana in final eight

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Photo by Stanford Athletics

After several rounds of play, we have reached the NCAA DI Tournament Quarterfinals, as the final eight teams compete for the four spots in the NCAA College Cup in Philadelphia next weekend.

The first two matches take place on Friday night, as four seeded teams take the field in a pair of compelling matches. In the first game, it's the closest seeded contest yet in this tournament with No. 4 Louisville taking on No. 5 Akron. Neither team has faced seeded opposition yet, with Louisville taking down an upstart Colgate last round and Akron narrowly escaping Big Ten champion Wisconsin in overtime. Now, FC Tucson forward Tate Schmitt will try and lead the Cardinals into the final four as he goes head-to-head with Texas United defender Joseph Korb and the Zips defense.

In the second Friday match, it's an all-Big Ten affair as unbeaten No. 2 seed Indiana aim to continue their run against a difficult No. 7 Michigan State. Indiana has blown through their unseeded opposition, eliminating Old Dominion and New Hampshire comfortably. Michigan State has faced a more strenuous path, first dominating tough ACC foe Virginia Tech before defeating No. 10 seed Western Michigan. Now K-W United FC midfielder Ken Krolicki and Chicago FC United forward Ryan Sierakowski will try and get past Tampa Bay Rowdies U23 goalkeeper Sean Caulfield as the Spartans look to make the Hoosiers their second ranked victims.

Saturday continues the action as a pair of ACC powers try and book their places in the College Cup against wildly different opposition. In the 6 p.m. match, UNC-Chapel Hill takes on a surprising opponent in tournament Cinderella Fordham. The Tar Heels have romped to this point, defeating UNC-Wilmington to earn revenge for an early season loss before eliminating SMU in shutout fashion. Now, Charlotte Eagles goalkeeper James PyleCarolina Dynamo goalkeeper Alec SmirWilmington Hammerheads FC and MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist Cameron Lindley, fellow semifinalist and Tobacco Road FC forward Alan Winn and North Carolina FC U23 forward Alexander Rose will try and avoid becoming Fordham's third upset victims. The Rams have already proven themselves capable of taking down ranked foes, eliminating No. 11 Virginia and No. 6 Duke after moving past St. Francis in the first round.

Finally, the late match on Saturday consists of the most compelling showdown of the weekend, as tournament favorites Wake Forest face two-time defending champions Stanford. Neither team has yet faced a ranked opponent in the tournament, but Stanford has already felt some pressure, needing penalties to advance past Pacific in the second round before dispatching Coastal Carolina in the Round of 16. Wake Forest has not allowed a goal yet in their two matches, defeating Columbia and Butler via shutout to reach the quarterfinals. Michigan Bucks midfielder Brad DunwellGPS Portland Phoenix midfielder Emmanuel Twumasi and Carolina Dynamo forward and MAC Hermann semifinalist Jon Bakero will try and remove the possibility of a three-peat by taking down Burlingame Dragons midfielder Corey Baird and forward Tomas Hilliard, and MAC Hermann semifinalist and San Francisco City FC forward Foster Langsdorf.

Here's a brief look at each quarterfinal match-up.

(4) Louisville vs. (5) Akron (Friday, 7 p.m. ET - WatchESPN)

How They Got Here:

  • Louisville - First Round: Bye, Second Round: Defeated San Francisco 3-2, Round of 16: Defeated Colgate 2-0
  • Akron - First Round: Bye, Second Round: Defeated Seattle 3-0, Round of 16: Defeated Wisconsin 3-2 (OT)

PDL Players to Watch:

(2) Indiana vs. (7) Michigan State (Friday, 7 p.m. ET - BTN2Go)

How They Got Here:

  • Indiana - First Round: Bye, Second Round: Defeated Old Dominion 3-0, Round of 16: Defeated New Hampshire 2-1
  • Michigan State - First Round: Bye, Second Round: Defeated Virginia Tech 3-0, Round of 16: Defeated (10) Western Michigan 2-1

PDL Players to Watch:

(3) UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Fordham (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET - WatchESPN)

How They Got Here:

  • UNC-Chapel Hill - First Round: Bye, Second Round: Defeated UNC-Wilmington 2-1, Round of 16: Defeated SMU 2-0
  • Fordham - First Round: Defeated St. Francis (Brooklyn) 3-2 (OT), Second Round: Defeated (11) Virginia 1-0, Round of 16: Defeated (6) Duke (8)2-2(7)

PDL Players to Watch:

(1) Wake Forest vs. (9) Stanford (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET - WatchESPN)

How They Got Here:

  • Wake Forest - First Round: Bye, Second Round: Defeated Columbia 1-0, Round of 16: Defeated Butler 2-0
  • Stanford - First Round: Bye, Second Round: Defeated Pacific (4)0-0(1), Round of 16: Defeated Coastal Carolina 2-0

PDL Players to Watch:

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