Indiana Wins Eighth National Title with 1-0 Win Over Georgetown
Dec. 9, 2012
HOOVER - Indiana got a goal from Nikita Kotlov in the 64th minute and the stifling Hoosier defense made it stick Sunday. Indiana defeated Georgetown 1-0 at Regions Park to claim its eighth national championship.
The goal came after a kick from near the corner-kick spot came in to Eriq Zavaleta. Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Gomez rushed to the right of the goal to keep Zavaleta in check. When Zavaleta's header attempt came to the center, Kotlov then had a wide-open net and didn't miss.
It was Kotlov's ninth goal of the season and one of a dozen shots the Hoosiers took in the second half.
"I think Eriq deserves a lot of credit," Kotlov said. "As you can see from the past few games, he's assisted on a cross. This was just like that. Eriq makes a great run gets to the ball, sees me there and makes it really easy for me. I just tapped it away."
Indiana is the first No. 16 seed in history to win the championship.
"You see the emotion from them. You can see it in the locker room. This is special," Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said. "It was a really hard-fought final. I couldn't be more proud of these players.
"Words are hard to explain what we shared in the locker room and what we shared on the field," Yeagley said.
One last chance for Georgetown by Tommy Muller in the game's final minute hit the post.
Georgetown's Steve Neumann was named the tournament's offensive MOP. Neumann scored three goals in the Hoyas' semifinal win against Maryland on Friday night.
Indiana goaltender Luis Soffner was named defensive MOP.
Both teams had many chances to score, as both goaltenders were forced to lay out. Soffner made four saves in the win and Tomas Gomez had six stops in a losing effort for the Hoyas. who were stopped in their first national championship appearance.
"They were deserved winners," Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese said of Indiana. "I told the players in the locker room that we have the second-place trophy, which today is one of the sourest things you can look at, but I know that given some time it's going to be something that we really treasure as a great accomplishment for the program."
In the first half, Georgetown had the best opportunities, causing Soffner to go horizontal twice to save strikes from inside the penalty-shot area. The first came off the foot of Tyler Rudy at 16:02. The second from Brandon Allen at 35:04. Melvin Snow also launched a shot from about 12 feet that sailed wide left.
Zavaleta had three shots for the Hoosiers in the opening frame while A.J. Corrado had the other.
-- Story courtesy of NCAA.com
Soffner's Superb Swan Song
In final college game, Indiana keeper wins title, MOP honors
- Mark Spoor, NCAA.com
HOOVER, Ala. -- To look at Luis Soffner, with his full beard and steely eyes, you may think he was a UFC fighter instead of a soccer goalie. To see him on the field, particularly in Sunday's national championship game, you may think he's both.
Soffner, a fifth-year senior for the Hoosiers, made a few diving saves throughout the battle with Georgetown to preserve a national championship that had eluded him for nearly his entire collegiate career.
"I'm just so excited," Soffner said, nearly coming out of his seat. "We've come close the previous three years, but this year, especially to go out like this, to end my career at Indiana here on top is the best feeling ever."
The jubiliation did not come without a battle on Sunday. The stat sheet may only show that Soffner made two saves, but the two diving stops Soffner made in the first half were far from his only action. A last-minute shot from senior defender Tommy Mueller hit the post, nearly dashing everything for the Hoosiers.
"The guys in front of me have done great to keep the ball away from me, especially in the last few games," Soffner said. "In the second half, the ball didn't come into the box often, but when it hit the crossbar, I was so happy.
"Sometimes it takes a little luck, and we deserved it at that moment."
Indiana did not allow a goal in its last three games of the season. In Friday's national semifinal, the Hoosiers defeated Creighton 1-0, a game in which Soffner did not have to make a single save. In the national quarterfinals, Soffner's bunch again won 1-0, with Soffner making three saves.
Five saves in three games was enough to earn Soffner defensive MOP honors, a feat that he says comes because of the team in front of him.
"I saw just pure fight for our team," Soffner said. "We always said that defense wins championships, and even when we're not having the best offensive game, our defense would come in, and every guy on the field came together and fought. We didn't let the ball into the net, and that was our mentality.
"We knew that we'd get a goal, as long as the defense held tough. Georgetown put good pressure on us [Sunday], but from front to back, we had good team defense, and it paid off."
Soffner has played every minute of this, his senior season, a total of more than 2,000 minutes. Sitting in front of the media Sunday, Soffner told anyone who would listen that each minute of the fight was worth it.
"I haven't stopped smiling since the Xavier game [a 4-1 win in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Nov. 18]. We've been on a roll. I'm proud of our whole team for just hanging in there and keeping the fight going."
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