College Soccer

RPI hurt Duke men's bid for NCAA soccer spot

CorrespondentNovember 14, 2012 

If the Rating Percentage Index is any indication, Duke missed out on a berth to the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship by four teams Monday.

The Blue Devils had an RPI of 45, and the highest RPI in the 48-team field to get an at-large berth was Northwestern at 41. The “first out” teams, by that reckoning, would have been UC Davis, Villanova, Loyola (Md.) and Duke.

Duke (8-8-2) finished seventh in the tough ACC, which has produced five of the last seven NCAA champions, including North Carolina last year. Five ACC teams made this year’s field – league champion Maryland, UNC, Wake Forest, Boston College and Virginia.

All four of last year’s College Cup participants – UNC, Charlotte, UCLA and Creighton – also returned, with UCLA the best seed among them at No. 6. UNC was ninth, Creighton 12th and Charlotte unseeded.

The NCAA seeds pretty much followed the latest RPI rankings, with a couple of notable exceptions. Wake Forest, 18th in the final RPI, leapfrogged Virginia (15), Indiana (16) and Charlotte (17) to land the No. 15 seed and a first-round bye. The Deacons will get to host a second-round game against either Elon – which defeated Wake 1-0 during the regular season – or Coastal Carolina.

Despite a better RPI than Indiana and a 1-0 road win at 14th seed Virginia Commonwealth, UVa wasn’t awarded a seed. The Cavaliers will host Lafayette on Thursday in the first round and would travel to 13th-seeded New Mexico for a second-round match Sunday.

Form holds: Only one seeded team was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship, which got under way last weekend. Ohio State, a No. 4 seed, was ousted by Oakland (Mich.) 3-1 on penalty kicks after tying 1-1 through regulation and two overtimes.

Two ACC teams fell in the first round, also. Virginia Tech lost to Georgetown 3-2 in overtime to become one of nine teams to lose at home. And Miami was eliminated on penalty kicks by Central Florida 5-3 after playing to a 1-1 tie. Those teams were the eighth- and ninth-place teams in the ACC.

Three ACC teams will host second- and third-round games this weekend: No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 UNC and No. 2 Virginia.

Snubbed?: Last week’s All-ACC men’s soccer team raised a few eyebrows when UNC senior goalkeeper Scott Goodwin turned up on the second team, while Duke senior James Belshaw made the first team.

Goodwin recorded 14 shutouts, a school record, while leading the nation in goals-against average at 0.290.

Belshaw, also the first-team pick a year ago, was certainly deserving of postseason honors. He ranked second in the ACC and 11th nationally in goals-against average at 0.705.

UNC coach Carlos Somoano said he was “a little bit disappointed, but not necessarily surprised” that Goodwin didn’t get first-team All-ACC.

“James Belshaw is a talented goalkeeper and deserved recognition as well,” said Somoano, who added that he didn’t think Goodwin was bothered by the vote.

In Maryland’s 2-1 victory Sunday over the Tar Heels in the ACC championship game, the Terrapins became the first team to get two goals past Goodwin all season. He has allowed only six goals in 20 matches.

The All-ACC vote was by the nine head coaches, although they may not vote for their own players. The ACC does not release the balloting.

Looking ahead: Three area teams will be in action this week in the NCAA tournaments. On Friday, the third-seeded Duke women (13-5-2) play Miami of Ohio (20-2-1) at 4 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va. If the Blue Devils win, they would play Sunday against either Rutgers (13-7-1) or No. 2 seed Virginia (17-4-1). The Cavaliers beat the Blue Devils 1-0 during the regular season.

The second-seeded UNC women (11-5-2) will host Illinois (10-8-4) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Fetzer Field. UNC could advance to a Sunday meeting with either No. 3 seed Baylor (18-1-4) or Georgetown (16-3-3), who play at 4 p.m. Friday in Chapel Hill.

At 5 p.m. Sunday, the third-seeded UNC men (15-3-2) open NCAA play with a second-round match against either Old Dominion (11-3-2) or Maryland-Baltimore County (11-4-5), who play Thursday in Norfolk, Va.

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