NCAA Preview: Title on the line as IU, Hoyas square off

Eriq Zavaleta

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Indiana University

Georgetown vs. Indiana – Sunday, December 9 – 2 pm ET – ESPNU, ESPN3.com

Semifinal Recap – Georgetown squeaked into their first national championship appearance in program history beating Maryland on penalty kicks after a stunning 4-4 game. The Hoyas conceded a 4-2 lead in the second half, but Tomas Gomez saved two straight penalty kicks to earn the historic victory.  

Indiana is back in the national championship for the first time since 2004, having frustrated Creighton to a 1-0 defeat on Friday. Freshman Femi Hollinger-Janzen’s first half goal held up and Todd Yeagley’s side is back in the promised land.

Indiana X-Factor – junior winger Nikita Kotlov

When Kotlov finds space on the right, the Hoosiers are tough to beat. The junior from Indianapolis earned second-team All-Big Ten honors bombing up and down the wings for Indiana, racking up eight goals and four assists in the process. Should the Hoyas choose to focus on Eriq Zavaleta, Kotlov is one of the players Indiana will rely on for offense.

Georgetown X-Factor – junior attacker Steve Neumann

Neumann showed everyone on Friday night why he’s thought so highly of, recording the first hat trick in the College Cup since 1993. Neumann will once again roam around the attacking midfield against Indiana looking for any little pocket of space to exploit. If he’s able to produce half of his performance against Maryland, look out.

Key Matchup – Georgetown’s Brandon Allen vs. Indiana’s Caleb Konstanski

Konstanski and the Indiana defense did a wonderful job against Creighton on Friday night, shutting down the lanes for Jose Gomez to exploit, leaving the Blue Jays with long, hopeful runs that never really worked. It will be a different battle for Konstanski against the Hoyas playing against a much more physical forward in Allen. We saw the freshman’s work rate on Friday night against Maryland, pressuring Keith Cardona into the mistake leading to Georgetown’s third goal.

Statistically speaking

Indiana is looking for their eighth national championship on Sunday, which would be the second most in NCAA history behind only Saint Louis University’s 10. On the other side, Georgetown is playing in their first College Cup in program history.

They said

“Being one of those top four seeds was something different for Georgetown soccer, but it was something we handled really well,” said Neumann. “As for not being super awed by playing for a national title, we have had enough experiences this year to prepare us for this.”

Prediction

It’s high-scoring Georgetown against defensive-minded Indiana. The teams haven’t met this year, so there’s nothing to judge between the two previously and in a championship game situation, I’m going to take the defensive-minded team. Indiana completes their #Quest48

Indiana 2 Georgetown 0