The final matches of the AAC took place last Tuesday, where for two fixtures, it depended on who won in order to advance to the first round.
UCF traveled to Cincinnati where the Bearcats needed a win in order to remain in the championship qualifications. However, the match didn’t go the way they hoped and the Bearcats lost 3-2 in overtime to the Knights. The first half of the match saw zero goals scored but it was early in the second half where UCF midfielder Gianluca Arcanegli scored the first goal of the match. Cincinnati was quick to equalize as forward Creggton Charlton scored two minutes later. The Bearcats couldn’t hold the equalizer for long as UCF’s Johnathan Dean scored in the 60th minute, giving the Knights the lead once again. In the 66th minute, UCF went down to 10 players as defender Yanis Leerman was shown an instant red card. With the advantage, forward Darryn Commissiong made the score 2-2 in the 82nd minute. The match went into overtime where in the 98th minute, UCF midfielder Gino Vivi scored the golden goal.
Tulsa traveled to play against UConn where they lost 6-3. Because of Cincinnati’s defeat, the Huskies needed to win in order to qualify for the championship. UConn scored three goals in the first half: Forward Dayonn Harris in the 24th minute, forward Moussa Wade in the 27th minute and defender Robin Lapert in the 40th minute by a penalty. Wade was able to score once more in the 49th minute to secure his brace until Golden Hurricane’s Matteo Drougard scored the first goal for Tulsa. To secure the qualification spot, forward Ibrahima Diop scored in the in the 65th minute midfielder Adhan Tait in the 69th. Tulsa put up a fight until the final whistle as defender Tyler Lacourse scored in the 84th minute and midfielder Charles Noyelle in the 87th. UConn advanced to the first round where they faced USF.
USF traveled to Memphis where they won 3-1. The Bulls were the first to score as forward Adrian Billhardt put the ball in the back of the net in the 20th minute. In the second half, USF made it 2-0 as midfielder Trey Jackson scored in the 49th minute. To secure the victory, Billhardt scored in the 82nd minute as he claimed his brace. The Tigers didn’t finish the match goalless however as forward Peter Chang scored in the 86th minute.
SMU played Temple away on Tuesday where they won 2-1 in overtime. There were no goals in the first half despite the Mustangs having 11 shots compared to the Owls’ six. In the second half, SMU was the first to score in the 68th minute by midfielder Knut Ahlander. A minute later, Temple defender Pierre Cayet scored the equalizer. The remainder of the half was about even, where both goalkeepers from each team had the same amount of saves. As the match went into overtime, the golden goal wasn’t scored until the 106th minute by forward Garret McLaughlin.
On Saturday, the first round of the championship began, where two of the four teams advanced to the semifinals so far.
USF hosted UConn where they secured a 1-0 victory. The first and only goal of the match came at the 51st minute by Billhardt. While the Bulls went down to 10 men in the 79th minute due to an instant red card for forward Ignasi Lupon Flores, the Huskies weren’t able to equalize the match in the final 11 minutes. USF will host SMU today at home for the semifinal.
Temple traveled to Memphis where they managed to get a 2-1 victory. Forward Sam Ashton gave the Tigers the lead in the 25th minute until the last couple of minutes in the second half, where defender Esteban Suarez scored the equalizer. The match went into overtime, though the Owls managed to score the game-winning goal as midfielder Jalen Campbell put the ball in the back of the net in the 103rd minute. Temple will face UCF away today for the semifinal.