Men's Dl Tournament First Round Review

Men's Dl Tournament First Round Review
by Victor Olorunfemi
November 17, 2023

The first round of the men’s tournament was as entertaining as promised. Read a review of what you may have missed, from great goals to penalty kick heroics and clutch performances.

MORE: Men's Round Two Preview

Sharp as an Arrow

One player scored a hat trick in Round 1, and it was Charlie Sharp of Western Michigan whose sensational three-goal performance was all the Broncos needed to defeat Wisconsin-Green Bay 3-0. The first was a long-range free-kick, the second was a towering header following a brilliant cross from Jonathan Robinson, and the third you can watch here as the 6’5” striker showed nimble feet before blasting into the roof of the net. The Michigan native now leads the country in goals with 18 in what has been one for the ages.

Max Rogers from Downtown

Yale is tied 0-0 with Bryant with two minutes remaining in a game seemingly destined for overtime, and up steps Rogers with a perfectly executed 54-yard chip to catch every player on the field off-guard. Bryant may feel hard done by to lose in that manner after the best season in program history, but nothing is guaranteed, and the Bulldogs failed to take their chances in the lead-up to the loss.

Premack the Penalty Pro

Luis Mueller will get plenty of credit for scoring in a seventh straight game and equalizing the score at 1-1, but another California Baptist player steals the show. Nolan Premack, a senior from Canada, saved three of five penalty kicks to lead the Lancers to their first-ever D1 NCAA tournament win. It pays big to have an elite goal scorer and keeper, and both certainly stepped up for California Baptist.

Smalls Comes up Big

The score is 2-2 with 90 seconds remaining, and your team has a free kick from just outside the 18, seeking a first tournament win since 2004. How many players blast the attempt into the wall or miles over the goal? Star players step up when the moment matters most, and that is what Tyger Smalls did in converting an 89th-minute free kick to put Loyola Marymount up for good and book a second-round date with a UCLA side it defeated on October 14th.

Louisville Shootout

The highest-scoring game of the round was the seven-goal fiasco between Dayton and Louisville. With five goals coming in the first 20 minutes, this match wasted no time picking up steam. The Cardinals would win 4-3, but the best goal goes to a Flyer as Logan Brown executed a perfect flick into the back of the net.

Home Cooking

Of the 16 games in the first round, the home team won 12. That makes it two years in a row where a dozen teams have successfully defended home turf in the first round, further highlighting the importance of securing a high seed en route to the NCAA tournament.

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Several teams who turned it on late in the regular season to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament continued that form in the first round. Yale needed an Ivy League Tournament win to get in and defeated Bryant away. James Madison and Kentucky both won four in a row to boost at-large hopes at the end of the regular season, and that momentum held with road first-round wins. And Memphis, who won six of eight to end the league schedule, did what no other team has done this season by defeating SIUE 2-1.

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