HOOVER, Ala. – The quest for eight is complete.
Nikita Kotlov’s 63rd-minute goal and some trademark defending was enough for Todd Yeagley’s Indiana University side to claim the eighth national title in school history, shutting out a game but tired Georgetown team 1-0 in Sunday’s College Cup final at Regions Park.
The Hoosiers shutout each of their last three opponents, and won both of their College Cup games 1-0.
As expected from a championship game, both teams came out a bit tentative in the first half with neither able to grab much of a foothold.
Indiana sophomore midfielder Dylan Lax hounded Georgetown’s Steve Neumann around the pitch, preventing the star junior from repeating his success of Friday night while some last-second defending from the Hoyas kept Indiana off the board.
In goal, fifth-year senior Luis Soffner, the hero from IU’s semifinal win over Creighton, was again key in shutting out the Hoyas through the first half. Soffner made quality stops on chances from Tyler Rudy as well as Brandon Allen late in the stanza.
On the other side, sophomore goalkeeper Tomas Gomez was solid when called upon, coming quick off his line to stone Indiana’s A.J. Corrado in the Hoosiers’ best chance of the half.
Despite playing 110 minutes plus penalty kicks less than 48 hours earlier, Georgetown came out in the second half with high pressure on the Hoosiers. It backfired on them as Indiana took the lead on a counterattack 18 minutes in.
Sophomore Patrick Doody’s deep cross found target man Eriq Zavaleta at the far post. With Gomez futilely coming off his line, Zavaleta smartly headed across the box to an unmarked Kotlov, who easily tapped home as Georgetown looked for an offside flag that never came.
Soffner, the tournament’s defensive MVP, had one final mark on the championship, coming out strong to collect a dangerous Neumann free kick with just three minutes left in the match. Just after that, however, he had the woodwork to thank as a backwards header from Allen smacked the crossbar and bounced out before being cleared.
That, as it turns out, was the last gasp. The clock soon hit triple zeros and Indiana won their first national championship since 2004.
WATCH: Celebration is on for Indiana