The NCAA unveiled its 48-team bracket for the 2015 College Cup tournament on Monday with several teams with Real Salt Lake connections still in the mix for the National Championship.
In addition to Utah Valley University reaching the tournament in the school’s second year of competition in Division I featuring RSL-Arizona Academy product Lucas Cawley, RSL’s Academy has representation on seven other teams that qualified for the tournament this year.
Here is a look at all eight schools and how their path in the tournament breaks down.
Utah Valley University (14-5-2)
UVU opens the tournament on Thursday on the road against Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Led by Head Coach Greg Maas, the Wolverines finished second in the WAC this season and took champion Seattle University to penalties in the tournament final. UVU opened the season with five straight victories and also had a four-match win streak in the middle of the year.
Cawley, a sophomore midfielder, was one of 11 players with the Wolverines to notch a goal this season after tallying four goals and two assists in his freshman campaign last year.
Maryland was seeded No. 10 and given a first-round bye, awaiting the winner of the match on Thursday between Virginia and Rider. A pair of RSL-Arizona products helped the Terrapins win the Big 10 title, finishing the season on a 3-0-1 run.
Amar Sejdic was the leader among the trio of RSL freshmen. Sejdic started in 18 of his 19 appearances in the midfield and had three goals and two assists, including two game-winning scores. Defender Diego Silva started in 10 of his 11 appearances and had one assist on the season.
The Bruins start the tournament on Thursday against Cal Poly, with the winner advancing to face 11th-seeded Seattle University. UCLA had a key late-season win over Akron that gave the perennial contenders the inside track on a postseason berth.
The Bruins were led by a freshman scoring tandem, including RSL product Jose Hernandez, who finished the season with 11 goals and four assists in 19 games. Along with the explosive midfielder, the Bruins also featured freshman defender Erik Holt, who had one assist in 14 matches this year.
The Blue Jays had another standout season and earned a first-round bye as the No. 12 seed, with Kentucky and Drake meeting in the first round for the right to face Creighton in the second round. Creighton managed 15 straight wins to start the season before dropping three of the last five to close out the year, including two losses to Georgetown.
Midfielder Evan Waldrep played in eight matches and had one goal and two assists in his freshman campaign.
The Cardinal went 14-2-2 to win the Pac-12 championship, earning a seeding as No. 8 in the tournament. Stanford will host the winner of the first-round match between CSU-Fullerton and Santa Clara.
A standout from the RSL Academy had a hand in that success too. Sophomore midfielder Corey Baird had two goals and eight assists to finish second on the team in assists. This comes on the heels of Baird earning All-Pac-12 Second Team honors with four goals and four assists as a freshman.
South Carolina (11-7-1)
The Gamecocks went 8-0-1 at home, and had a 2-1 win in an exhibition match over first-round opponent Furman back in August. The two South Carolina schools will meet on Thursday, with the winner moving on to face UC-Santa Barbara in the second round on Sunday.
South Carolina features RSL-Academy midfield product Ive Burnett has manned the defense for three seasons and the junior started all 19 matches for the Gamecocks this year. He has started every match in his three seasons in Colombia and has four goals and one assist to his credit.
The Cavaliers qualified for the NCAA tournament for the 35th straight year in part because of the contributions of RSL Academy product Riggs Lennon. The junior midfielder was limited to just eight matches this season because of injury, but had two goals and two assists to bring his three-year total to seven goals and five assists in 45 matches, 18 of them in a starting role. Virginia will meet Rider on Thursday, the winner advancing to face Maryland.
Dayton rolled to the Atlantic 10 title to earn a berth in the tournament and will host a tournament match for the first time in school history. The Flyers caught fire in the middle of the season with a seven-match unbeaten run and finished with three straight wins in the tournament to earn the postseason bid.
Senior midfielder Brian Bates started in two of his 11 appearances for the Flyers after starting 17 of 18 games in his junior season. For his career, he has 45 appearances with 29 starts.
Stay tuned to RSL.com for updates on the Academy products as the tournament progresses.