Four unseeded teams remain alive after the first two rounds of the NCAA Division I Women's Tournament. Minnesota, James Madison, Rutgers and Illinois all got into the postseason as at-large teams and they moved into next weekend's round of 16.
MINNESOTA.After top-ranked Notre Dame, which they face next weekend, the Golden Gophers (22-3-0) have the most wins in the country. They blitzed Marquette (2-1) and South Dakota State (2-0) with all their goals coming in the first quarter of an hour. SDSU had knocked off No. 4 seed Colorado, 1-0, in the first round.
Molly Rouse scored in the second minute and Lindsey Schwartz added a goal and an assist against South Dakota State to lift the Golden Gophers to their first-ever appearance in the Sweet Sixteen.
"This was a huge statement for our team," said Gopher coach Mikki Denney Wright. "This group of seniors has accomplished a lot of things. They went undefeated at home this year and brought the program the furthest it has ever gone in the NCAA Tournament. It shows what the players have given to the program and how they have turned this program around in the four years they've been here."
RUTGERS.Like Minnesota, Rutgers benefited from hosting during the first two rounds but that didn't take away from the magnitude of their accomplishment. The Scarlet Knights came from one goal down to knock off Big Ten champion Penn State, 2-1, on freshman Jasmine Edwards' golden goal, and they then beat Ten 12 regular-seed champion Oklahoma State, a No. 4 seed, on penalty kicks after their game ended in a 0-0 tie.
Goalkeeper Erin Guthrie was the RU hero, making seven saves during regulation and overtime and a diving stop of Bridget Miller's shot in the shootout, which Rutgers won, 4-2.
"Our kickers are money," said Rutgers coach Glenn Crooks. "[Jenifer] Anzivino, [Kristie] Lang, [Gina] DeMaio, [Becky] Wise, they don't miss. All of them have experienced this in the post season, and I credit their composure in a high pressure situation. But the biggest thing I will take from all this is the play of Erin Guthrie."
The Knights head west to face No. 1 seed Stanford in the round of 16.
ILLINOIS.Twice in three days the Illini caged a set of Tigers. One Illini win came in overtime -- a 1-0 victory over Memphis on sophomore forwardJordan Hilbrands' golden goal -- and the other was over Big 12 champion Missouri, the No. 4 seed.
In their season opener, Illinois beat Missouri, 2-1, in overtime. This time, their game went to a shootout after they played a 1-1 tie. Illini goalkeeper Alexandra Kapicka made a stop on the final attempt of the shootout by Mallory Forst and gave Illinois a 4-3 win.
"I told Alex if we got into PKs and she could make one save," said Coach Janet Rayfield, "then we could find our way to the next round and she made that save.
Next up for Illinois is a trip to North Carolina, where Rayfield was one of the Tar Heels' first stars in the early 1980s.
JAMES MADISON. The Dukes squeaked into the NCAA Tournament after losing to Northeastern in the CAA semifinals, but they proved worthy of their bid when 1-0 wins over Georgia and Wake Forest.
Against, JMU won on an own goal. Redshirt sophomore Diane Wszalek made a career-high 11 saves -- including seven in the second half.
The game at No. 4 seed Wake was scoreless until the 82nd minute, when Teresa Rynier's corner kick was flicked on by Yolam Anderson-Golhor to Lindsay Bowers, who headed the ball into the left side of the net for the winner that sends JMU on to a third-round date at Portland.
"We worked very hard defensively all weekend long and we made the best of our chances today," said 19th-year JMU coach Dave Lombardo. "It was a different type of game than Friday. Georgia just wore you down, they were big hard and physical. Wake was a lot more technical, deliberate and purposeful. We just got numbers behind the ball and counterattacked when we could."