HOOVER, Ala. – Defense wins championships.
It’s an old cliché, but it’s a tried and true formula for success in the college game. And it’s exactly why the Indiana Hoosiers are celebrating their eighth national championship, and first since 2004.
“Just don’t let the ball go into the net. That’s our whole mentality,” College Cup Defensive MVP Luis Soffner, a fifth-year senior goalkeeper, told reporters after the win. “We know that eventually we’ll get one if we just keep going.”
On Sunday, Indiana became only the second team to shut out Georgetown this season, limiting the Hoyas to just two shots on goal, both coming in the first half. It was a theme throughout their tournament run as the Hoosiers allowed just two goals in five games, ending the season on a run of three-straight shutouts.
“We said it in the semifinal, to win a championship you have to be really good defensively,” said Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley. “That’s from front to back, every player doing their job.”
Perhaps no player raised their MLS stock this weekend more than Soffner who, despite making just four saves in the College Cup, was instrumental in marshalling his back four to three consecutive clean sheets. Yeagley singled out Soffner as the biggest key to their defensive success.
“In particular though, with Luis, his growth and what he’s given us is outstanding,” said Yeagley. “He gave our team so much calm, composure and confidence.”
And just like any championship team, the Hoosiers enjoyed a little bit of luck as well, with Georgetown striker Brandon Allen’s looping header, the only chance that escaped Soffner the entire weekend, bouncing harmlessly off the crossbar and away with less than a minute left on the clock.
“When it hit the crossbar, I was so happy and sometimes you need a little bit of luck and I think that we deserved it at that moment,” said Soffner. “I’m just really happy from all our guys, and if it takes a little luck, we’ll definitely accept it for sure.”