Looking Back: NCAA First Round Games

This past weekend we saw some incredible performances and dramatic finishes in the First Round of the NCAA Division 1Tournament. Pat Spencer and the Loyola Greyhounds pulled off the comeback against Syracuse, TD Ierlan made history at the faceoff X in Yale’s win against Georgetown, Penn State won their first ever playoff game, and Maryland found a way to beat Towson in Overtime.

Where do the 2019 First Round games rank against other amazing First Round moments from years past?

Before 2003, the top 4 seeded teams received a bye to the Quarterfinals. Once the NCAA Tournament was expanded and more conferences were given automatic qualifiers, First Round games became dangerous for top seeded teams as anything can happen in the playoffs. Every team’s journey to Memorial Day starts in the First Round and cannot be taken lightly.

Let’s throw it back to some of the most memorable First Round games in recent history.

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Syracuse vs Dartmouth 2003

The Powell Brothers did not actually play very many close First Round games, but in 2003 against a very good Dartmouth team Mikey Powell along with teammates Sean Lindsey, Brian Nee, and company came back from 1 goal down with less than 3 minutes left to win 13-11.

UMass vs Cornell 2006

2006 was a historic year for UMass as they would make it all the way to the National Championship as an unseeded team, but it all started with a surprise 10-9 win against #3 seed Cornell in the First Round.

Delaware vs Virginia 2007

The Blue Hens upset #2 seeded Virginia at Klockner Stadium to start their magical run to the Final Four in 2007. Freshman attackman Curtis Dickson scored 4 goals, Goalie Tommy Scherr made 18 saves, and Faceoff man Alex Smith dominated the X to lead Delaware to a 14-8 victory.

Notre Dame vs Colgate 2008

On a rainy day in South Bend the Fighting Irish faced a tough Colgate squad that had beaten the eventual National Champions Syracuse the week before. The game headed to Overtime and with the game in his hands Peter Christman took an on the run jump shot with barely any angle that stung the top left corner to send Notre Dame to the Quarterfinals with a 8-7 win.

Army vs Syracuse 2010

Fresh off of repeating as National Champions, #2 seeded Syracuse faced a talented Army squad that would battle its way to a 9-8 upset win in Overtime. Army’s Jeremy Boltus found Devin Lynch for the winning goal in one of the biggest upsets in college lacrosse history.

Virginia vs Bucknell 2011

The start of an unlikely National Championship run for the Cavaliers in 2011 almost did not happen. Without star players Rhamel and Shamel Bratton, Virginia was down by 2 goals with less than 3 minutes to play. They came back to tie it and send the game to Overtime. Matt White scored in OT to give Virginia the 13-12 win.

Duke vs Loyola 2013

Despite Loyola goalie Jack Runkel making 22 saves, Duke beat Loyola 12-11 in Overtime in a wild back and forth game. Case Matheis scored the tying goal and game winning goal both on scrambly plays. Duke would go on to win the 2013 National Championship.

Drexel vs Penn 2014

Drexel spoiled Penn’s great season that earned them the #4 for the playoffs by upsetting their Philadelphia neighbors for a 16-11 win. Drexel was sparked by a 3 goal run at the end of the 2nd Quarter in which faceoff man Nick Caputo scored twice in 10 seconds.

Albany vs Cornell 2015

Lyle Thompson dismantled the Cornell defense scoring 3 goals and adding 6 assists, but Albany goalie Blaze Riordan stole the show by sprinting down the field and ripping a shot past the Cornell goalie. Albany would win 19-10.

North Carolina vs Marquette 2016

Marquette stunned Denver in the Big East Championship to move on to the playoffs and host a First Round game in Milwaukee in only its fourth ever season. With a big crowd on hand, unseeded North Carolina was able to escape with a 10-9 win that started their journey to winning the 2016 National Championship.

Syracuse vs Yale 2017

This was an exciting game from start to finish as Yale’s Ben Reeves was almost unguardable and scored 4 goals and dished out 2 assists. Syracuse Freshman Stephen Rehfuss scored the game winning goal for the Orange with less than 3 minutes left in the game. Yale had a chance to tie, but the Cuse defense held on for the 11-10 win.

Johns Hopkins vs Georgetown 2018

Georgetown almost upset Hopkins at Homewood field, but thanks to a huge comeback led by Kyle Marr’s 5 goals the Blue Jays forced the game into Overtime. Shack Stanwick scored the game winner on a diving goal to give Hopkins the 10-9 win.

What is your favorite moment in recent NCAA First Round history? What games did we miss?

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