The pain, glory, desperation and glory of the shootout was on full display at WakeMed Soccer Park Monday night as Syracuse beat Indiana after 110 minutes of back-and-forth soccer followed by eight penalties in the national title game.
Here’s a summary of the penalty shootout:
|Wittenbrink ✅||Boselli ✅|
|Henderlong ❌||Kocevski ❌|
|Mihalic ✅||Calov ✅|
|Sarveri ✅||Singelmann ✅|
|Maher ✅||Biros ✅|
|Bezerra ✅||Rauch ✅|
|Helmer ✅||Johnson ✅|
|For Goumba ❌||Sinclair ✅|
Both goalkeepers made their presence known in good time, faced the other penalty they faced and steered them away. Several rounds of textbook penalties followed: blasted into the top corners, hit into the side netting and curled the wrong way past second-guessing goalkeepers. In the third sudden-death Kick, Syracuse guard and College Cup Defensive Player of the Year Russell Shealy stuffed Maouloune Goumballe for the decisive and championship-winning spot kick from team captain Amferny Sinclair.
🏆 CHAMPION!!!! #MCollegeCup x @CuseMSOC pic.twitter.com/PKlC8xH9Fg
— NCAA Soccer (@NCAASoccer) December 13, 2022
A fitting way for the Orange to win the program’s first national championship and a storybook conclusion to a season that began with Syracuse, which was picked to finish near the bottom of the ACC and no one even considers this team a factor in the title picture. Four months and a school-record 19 wins later, the Orange stand alone atop the men’s college soccer mountain.
Forward Nathan Opoku was a key part of the win and was once again involved in several goals in regulation in the semifinal win over Creighton. His goal was a flash of his technical brilliance. He beat two defenders with quick feet before curling one into the top corner with his left foot. He later turned another defender before taking one into the path of Curt Calov, who set up the second goal. Opoku’s two goals and two assists in the College Cup earned him the honor of best forward.
For the second time in three seasons, the Hoosiers leave Cary for second place in North Carolina. The loss was even more painful when they fought back from a one-goal deficit twice in regulation time. The missed opportunities and defensive mistakes made will replay in their minds throughout the offseason, but this team – this program – will no doubt be heard from again in the near future. The wait for the ninth star above IU’s ridge will have to wait another year.
Meanwhile, the national championship trophy is headed to a brand new home in New York State.
PARTY BEGINS 💍#Dare to dream pic.twitter.com/NxJIMukTZB
— Syracuse Men’s Soccer (@CuseMSOC) December 13, 2022