LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Indiana’s quest for a ninth NCAA men’s soccer championship was a powerful story, but not as powerful as the Cinderella story of Marshall.
In their first College Cup appearance, the Thundering Herd stunned the No. 2 Hoosiers with a golden goal more than seven minutes into the first overtime for a 1-0 victory for the national title Monday night in Cary, North Carolina.
IU goalkeeper Roman Celantano got his hands on a deflected shot by Marshall’s Vitor Dias. But the ball bounced toward the left post. As Celentano dove to grab it, Jamil Roberts drilled it into the net, ending the Hoosiers’ season one victory short of their goal.
"We battled but it just didn't go our way," IU forward A.J. Palazzalo said. "We created enough chances to win that game. We just weren't on the right end of it."
"That was hard because it was there for us," IU coach Todd Yeagley said. "We felt like we didn't get the breaks in the box tonight ... it's a lot of emotions going through me, being so close."
The goal ended an epic run by No. 10 Marshall, which defeated top-ranked Clemson, defending champion Georgetown and perennial power North Carolina before dispatching the Hoosiers (12-2-2). This was Indiana's record 21st appearance in the College Cup.
Marshall outshot Indiana 16-8 with the Hoosiers only managing one shot on goal, although they had several other close shots.
"Marshall is a very mature team, an older team than we are," Yeagley said. "I think that helped them a few times."
"At Indiana, we grind," Palazzalo said. "We just were a little unlucky. They got that goal. It just bounced to them. It was a bang-bang goal."
The match actually decided the 2020 NCAA title because the fall season was delayed until this spring because of the novel coronavirus.
It was played in front of 5,000 fans, the largest crowd of the season, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The start of the men’s championship game was delayed by 75 minutes because it was preceded by the women’s final, which was won by Santa Clara over Florida State on penalty kicks.
The teams battled through an even, scoreless first half with both the Hoosiers and the Thundering Herd banging one shot off the post.
Marshall forced Celantano to make four saves, including one sprawling deflection of a sizzling shot by Marshall’s Dias nearly 25 minutes into the match.
Although none of IU’s four shots were on goal, Victor Bezerra found Daniel Muni with a perfect corner kick nearly 41 minutes into match. Muni’s header sailed wide.
"We knew we played them well," Palazzalo said. "We worked our (rear ends off). We did everything we could to win that game."
"I'm confident we'll be back in this position in the near future," Yeagley said.
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