[ELITE 8] Sam Koch will be the first to admit that he didn't plan on Massachusetts going to the Men's College Cup. The Minutemen coach went so far as to book a family trip to Disney World for Thanksgiving. Well, the trip came and went without him, and three weeks later, UMass is still playing. The Minutemen made sure of that with a 2-1 victory over UIC on Sunday at the place the Minutemen call Fort Rudd.
Goals from Stuart Amick and Mike DeSantis and a spectacular effort by goalkeeper Zack Simmons sent UMass to the Men's College Cup for the first time.
UIC had not given up a goal in the NCAA Tournament, but Koch said the scouting report on its Serbian keeper Jovan Bubonja was that he had trouble on balls driven from the corner.
Both goals came on balls Greg Cirillo drove into the area -- the first was flicked on by Mark DeSantis to Amick and the second came after a throw-in was deflected out to Cirillo, who fired a shot that Mike DeSantis kicked past Bubonja.
Simmons, who walked on the UMass spring squad in his freshman year, held off a late UIC flurry to preserve the win before a record crowd of 1,863 at Rudd Field.
"Everybody dreams about winning the national championship," Koch admitted after the game. "Did I know it could happen this year coming into preseason? I'm not going to lie to you, no."
Dec. 9 in Amherst
Massachusetts 2 UIC 1. Goals: Amick (Cirillo, Mark DeSantis) 48, Mike DeSantis (Cirillo) 80; Giffin (Trout) 59.
Massachusetts -- Simmons, Lepone, Brown, Rappaport, Amick, Cook, Mike DeSantis, Arikian, Cirillo, Mark DeSantis, Hogan. Subs: Jejna, Ofosu, Vaccaro.
UIC -- Bubonja, Giffin, Younger, McMahon, B.Husidic, Sarachan, Dundjer, A.Husidic, Zambrano, Spiess, Simek. Subs: Stoll, Bilbrey, Trout.
Referee: Ali Hacock.