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Akron, Clemson, Stanford and Syracuse advance to College Cup

The final weekend of the college soccer season is set after an exciting quarterfinal round that had two games end in overtime and another go to penalties.

Kenny Lassiter
Kenny Lassiter

Syracuse got a late goal from their star forward Ben Polk to top Boston College and advance to the College Cup for the first time in program history on Saturday afternoon.

The 1-0 win for the Orange was the only quarterfinal to end in regulation.

The first quarterfinal in South Carolina on Friday night had to be decided with penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw. Philadelphia Union Academy graduate Sebastian Elney had a chance to win it with a header late in the second half, but Clemson goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell was there to make the stop and send the game to a penalty shootout, where the wheels fell off for the Terps.

Goalkeeper Cody Neidermeier made a couple of stops but Mael Corboz was the only Terp able to convert and the Tigers advanced to their first College Cup in a decade. Thales Moreno scored Clemson's goal and made the clinching penalty in the fifth round to send the crowd of 3,411 at historic Riggs Field into a frenzy.

Akron and Stanford score overtime winners to book their tickets to Kansas City

Stanford overcame a missed penalty kick in overtime, finding a winner off the head of Foster Langsdorf three minutes later to take down top-seeded Wake Forest and book their first trip to the College Cup since 2002.

USMNT forward Jordan Morris gave the Cardinal the lead in the 18th minute with his head off a cross from left back Brandon Vincent, but a 70th minute foul in the box set up Ian Harkes' equalizer from the spot that would eventually send the game to overtime.

Four minutes into overtime, Vincent broke forward again and was ruled to be fouled inside the 18. But his penalty kick attempt hit the crossbar to keep Wake Forest alive until a free kick much further away from Corey Baird set up Langsdorf's looping header over the outstretched hand of Demon Deacons goalkeeper Alec Ferrell.

The win for the eight-seeded Cardinal ended up being the only upset in the quarterfinals after Akron junior Adam Najem drilled a free kick from just outside the top of the box past a diving Connor Sparrow to send the Zips to their first College Cup since Caleb Porter led them to a national championship in 2010.

All five of the goals were scored after an hour into the contest when Victor Souto opened the scoring with a penalty kick and Creighton twice tied the game on goals assisted by star forward Fabian Herbers. New Zealand youth international Stuart Hothusen scored in the 80th minute for the Zips and Fernando Castellanos (64th minute) and Ricardo Perez (85th minute) scored the goals for the Blue Jays.

The College Cup will be played at Sporting Park in Kansas City on Friday, December 11.

Syracuse, which has former Union Academy players Kenny Lassiter, Morgan Hackworth and Chris Gomez on the roster, will face Clemson in the first game at 6 p.m. followed by Stanford and Akron at 8:30 p.m.

Clemson has won the College Cup twice, in 1987 and 1984 while Akron has the one title in 2010 and Stanford lost in the final in 1998 and 2002.