If you’ve followed Reading United at all the past couple summers, there are two names you’ve heard time and again in Twitter game feeds and game recaps: Frantzdy Pierrot and Paul Marie.
The two talented seniors - both trained with the Philadelphia Union and Bethlehem Steel FC last summer - extended their college careers (and perhaps helped their SuperDraft prospects in the process) for at least one more game with standout performances in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.
Pierrot, a 6-foot-4 Haitian international, connected on a one-time volley off a lob from Martin Melchor in the 22nd minute for Coastal Carolina, providing all the offense the Chanticleers needed to beat Mercer 1-0 and set up an in-state derby with Clemson in the second round on Sunday. The goal was the 23rd of Pierrot’s college career to go along with 16 goals in two seasons for Reading.
Marie set up both goals for FIU in their 2-0 win over Omaha off of free kicks. The versatile defender/midfielder from France set up the first goal on a free kick just 56 seconds into the match when he found the head of Deshawon Nembhard. Marie delivered again with his sixth assist of the season (to go with seven goals) in the 25th minute when he found Jordan Machado in front of goal for the header.
Marie has scored 14 goals and dished four assists in 30 career league games with Reading United over the past three summers and scored a goal in a U.S. Open Cup win over New York Cosmos in May.
Another Reading United player, Philadelphia Union Academy grad Mo Conde, also featured in the game. The Philadelphia native played 16 minutes off the bench for the Panthers, which improved to 12-1-4 on the season ahead of a second round visit to Duke on Sunday night.
Some other notable first round performances for players with ties to the region include:
-Ben Lundgaard (Greenville, Del.) made seven saves and recorded a clean sheet in Virginia Tech’s 2-0 win over Air Force. It was his sixth clean sheet of the season and 23rd of his career.
-Matt Miller (Hershey, Pa.) started and played 22 minutes in Fordham’s 2-0 win over St. Francis Brooklyn.
-Former Ocean City Nor’easter Emil Cuello started and had an assist in 48 minutes for SMU in their 2-0 win over Central Arkansas. Colton Habecker (Douglasville, Pa.) came off the bench and played 32 minutes, registering two shots and one on goal.
-Philadelphia Union Academy grad Sebastian Elney started, played 96 minutes and recorded two shots on goal in Maryland’s scoreless draw with Albany. Elney missed his attempt in a penalty shootout won by Albany. The early exit for the Terps was one of the surprises of the first round. Unbeaten in their first 13 matches after an undefeated season in 2016, the Terps dropped lost five straight and were one and done after failing to secure a first round bye.
-Continental FC alum and YSC Academy grad Diallo Simon-Ponte started, played 57 minutes and had a shot for Fairfield in a 3-0 loss to New Hampshire.
-Hans Kroschwitz (Piperville, Pa.) started and recorded an assist with a cross across the face of goal that somehow found Brandon Perdue for the finish in the 13th minute of a 2-0 win for Old Dominion over NC State.