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Indiana is back on top
by Paul Kennedy, December 10th, 2012 12:47AM
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[INDIANA-GEORGETOWN] It took Todd Yeagley's father, Jerry, 20 years at Indiana -- the first 10 as the coach of the school's club program -- before he led Indiana to a national championship. It was all of three years before Todd had the Hoosiers back on top. So much for the pressure of living up to his dad's legacy.

The Hoosiers won their eighth national championship -- but first since 2004 -- with its 1-0 win over Georgetown Sunday in Hoover, Ala.

Indiana was still a club sport when Todd was born, but he grew up to watch his father lead the Hoosiers to six national championships before he retired in 2003. IU won a seventh the next year under Jerry Yeagley's replacement, Mike Freitag, but the IU administration was not so kind to Freitag, whom it ousted five years later.

A 12-10-1 season -- with the toughest schedule in the country and two wins in the NCAA Tournament -- wasn't good enough, and Freitag was replaced by Todd Yeagley, who had just finished his first year as the head coach at Wisconsin.

Recruiting isn't as easy for the Hoosiers' staff as it was the days of Jerry Yeagley, who could pretty much sign whomever he wanted. Caleb Porter, a former IU star and assistant coach, took care of that, pretty much cornering the market on the best Midwest talent at Akron. The only player in Todd Yeagley's starting lineup who would considered a top 10 recruit is Eriq Zavaleta.

But the growth of Indiana youth soccer -- thanks to the work Jerry Yeagley had done crossing the state to promote the sport in communities who didn't know what soccer was -- means that there is plenty of local talent to keep the Hoosiers competitive. Zavaleta, a former U.S. U-17 national team defender, was one of seven starters against Georgetown who hail from Indiana.

"I think [I felt] more responsibility than pressure," Todd Yeagley said after the win. "The players, the staff, everyone understands that it's a rich tradition. You accept that. When you coach here, you accept that."

Nikita Kotlov scored his eighth NCAA Tournament for the game's only goal in the 64th minute. Indiana midfielder Patrick Doody raced down the left wing and lofted a ball over Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Gomez to the right of the goal, where IU star Eriq Zavaleta was standing. Zavaleta headed the ball back to the middle, but Gomez was unable to grab hold of the ball, and Kotlov scored into the empty net.

''The ball kind of drifted in the air for quite a while,'' Zavaleta said of Kotlov's pass. ''The keeper was pretty hesitant and kind of got in no man's land. I saw Nikita running into the box, and I just wanted to get the ball down to let him make a play.''

Indiana goalkeeper Luis Soffner, who made key saves on Tyler Rudy and freshman star Brandon Allen in the first half, was named College Cup's Defensive Most Outstanding Player as he led the Hoosiers to their third straight shutout win in the NCAA Tournament.

Georgetown, which didn't have the legs to match Indiana after its epic win over Maryland in the semifinals, had its best chance in the 89th minute when Tommy Muller hit the woodwork.

"They were deserved winners," Georgetown coach Brian Wiese said of Indiana. "I told the players in the locker room that we have the second-place trophy, which today is one of the sourest things you can look at, but I know that given some time it's going to be something that we really treasure as a great accomplishment for the program."

Dec. 9 in Hoover, Ala.
Indiana 1 Georgetown. Goal: Kotlov (Zavaleta, Doody) 64.
Indiana -- Soffner, McKain, Konstanski, Doody, Bradford, Petts, Kotlov, Corrado, Bushue, Lax, Zavaleta. Subs: Hollinger-Janzen, Ballard, Hadley Oliver, Sparks.
Georgetown -- Gomez, Muller, Seiler, Nealis, Dillon, Christianson, Rosenberry, Riemer, Rudy, Allen, Neumann. Subs: Martz, Skelly, Snoh.
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IU's NCAA trophy makes a stop at Dreamland BBQ


2 comments
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: December 10, 2012 at 12:40 p.m.
    GU keeper gaff was as elementary as they come...this final lacked technical skills...long balls and athleticism, somewhat bland.
  1. Miguel Dedo
    commented on: December 10, 2012 at 4:17 p.m.
    Congratulations to Indiana -- and to Georgetown – and to Maryland and Creighton. The NCAA might ask itself if a "Final Four” format is right for soccer. The final was less skillfully played than the two semi-finals – soccer takes too much out of players for them to play at top form with only one day’s rest. All the season to get to the final, then have to play it on tired legs! Georgetown – Maryland, if played in the DC area, would have filled a soccer stadium and given all the students a chance to support their teams. Their playing in a 2/3 empty baseball stadium – 900 miles from home for both − was sad. Play the semis on campus, the final, a week later, also on campus.

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