The American Athletic Conference playoffs are upon us, and after the first round on Tuesday, Nov. 6, there are just four teams still alive.
No. 6 Memphis upset No. 3 USF 3-1 at USF to secure their spot in the semifinals. The Bulls struck first, with Alex Zis sneaking one in the bottom right corner in the 33rd minute. However, it didn’t take long for the Tigers to answer right back, tying the game up on a penalty kick by David Zalzman in the 38th minute. The game went into the half tied up at one, and it stayed that way until the final ten minutes of the game, when Chris Mikus hit a one-timer into the back of the net. Gurman Sangha would go on to ice the game about six minutes later in the 87th minute, clanking a low shot off the left post and in.
They now go on to face the No. 2 SMU Mustangs, who finished the season 9-4-2 (5-1-1 The American). SMU and Memphis faced off once already this season, with SMU coming out on top by a score of 3-0.
The No. 4 UConn Huskies also picked up a win on Tuesday, defeating the No. 5 Temple Owls 3-1. Much like the Memphis-USF game, Temple scored first. They did so in the 25th minute, with Belal Mohamed notching his second goal of the season. UConn tied it up shortly before the half, as a Temple defender who was sliding to clear the ball away from the net inadvertently hit it into his own net. UConn took the lead in the 69th minute on a Dayonn Harris goal and then Cole Venner put the game out of reach with a goal of his own in the 74th minute. Both Harris’ and Venner’s goals were assisted by star player Abdou Mbacke Thiam.
The Huskies have a tough task ahead of them as they now move on to play No. 1 UCF in the semifinals. The Knights finished the season 12-2-2 (7-1-2 The American) and are ranked No. 7 in the United Soccer Coaches poll and No. 13 in the Men’s Soccer RPI rankings. In one previous meeting this season, UConn and UCF tied 0-0.
Both semifinal games will take place Thursday, Nov. 8, with the winners facing off for the championship on Saturday, Nov. 10.
Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.