Indiana and Georgetown reach College Cup Final

Indiana and Georgetown reach College Cup Final

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Indiana and Georgetown reach College Cup Final

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Gomez saved Maryland’s fifth and final penalty kick attempt to help the Hoyas win a thrilling College Cup semifinal in PKs and book Georgetown’s first trip to the NCAA Final.

The Hoyas will face Indiana in Sunday’s College Cup Final after the Hoosiers held off Creighton, 1-0, in Friday’s second semifinal.

Freshman Femi Hollinger-Janzen came off the bench and scored the game’s lone goal in the first half by pouncing on a poor Creighton clearance. Indiana dominated for much of the match, but Creighton pressed for an equalizer in the second half and nearly found one late, only to have Indiana goalkeeper Luis Soffner make a clutch diving save to preserve the victory.

The Hoyas shocked highly-favored Maryland on the strength of outstanding midfield play and the excellent finishing of junior forward Steve Neumann, who notched a hat-trick for the Hoyas.

Maryland opened the scoring on a Schillo Tshuma header, but Georgetown answered back with two Neumann goals before halftime. Brandon Allen made it 3-1 when he deflected a clearance attempt from Maryland goalkeeper Keith Cardona into the net.

The match looked like it might be over, but Maryland responded with another Tshuma goal. Neumann answered right back just two minutes later to make the score 4-2 in the 61st minute.

Maryland began to take control soon after, with Patrick Mullins heading home a rebound of a Mikey Ambrose blast off the cross bar in the 74th minute before freshman forward Christiano Francois made it 4-4 with a beautiful solo effort and curling shot.

Neither team could find a winner in overtime, and each goalkeeper recorded a save through the first four rounds of penalty kicks. Jimmy Nealis converted Georgetown’s fifth PK to put the pressure on Maryland. Gomez smothered Terps midfielder Helke Leikvang’s attempt to clinch the shootout victory.

Maryland’s defense struggled throughout the match to deal with Neumann’s movement and Georgetown’s midfield passing. The Terps began to find consistent success getting forward in the final 30 minutes of regulation, but the first half was probably one of the worst halves of soccer Maryland played all season.

Indiana’s 1-0 victory against Creighton didn’t have the fireworks of the Georgetown-Maryland match, with the Hoosiers controlling the action for much of the day. Indiana’s midfield smothered Creighton playmaker Jose Gomez and the rest of the Blue Jay attack struggled to generate chances against an Indiana defense that played an excellent match.

Hollinger-Janzen nearly made it 2-0 just before halftime, but officials ruled that his last-second goal came after the end of the first half.

The second half saw no goals and few chances, but Creighton began turning up the pressure in the final 15 minutes. Unlike their previous two NCAA Tournament matches, victories against Akron and UConn, the Blue Jays could not find a late goal.

For Indiana, Friday’s victory marked the Hoosiers first trip to the NCAA Final since 2004, and 14th overall. They will face a Georgetown side that is making its first trip to the College Cup Final.

Sunday’s final is set for 2pm on ESPNU.

What did you think of Friday’s semifinals? Impressed with Georgetown’s performance? See Indiana winning the final? Which players impressed you the most on Friday?

Share your thoughts below.

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